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Editor’s note: This column forms the basis for a new WND petition. Sign the petition: “Declaration of the Prinicples of Liberty.”
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
– Thomas Paine, Dec. 23, 1776
A powerful voice for socialism has arisen in our nation. The government is here to provide for your every need.
We cannot effectively oppose this voice with a muted response. We cannot win with an alternative form of “socialism light.”
America must decide whether it wants to pursue the path of freedom or the path of socialism. Let us be clear. These are two separate paths and, in the long run, no nation can be free if it pursues the path of socialism.
But where is the voice for freedom? No political leader has yet clearly rallied the millions of Americans who still believe in liberty.
Then let the voice arise from the people themselves.
The undersigned Citizens of the United States of America hereby declare that we will stand firmly upon the principles of liberty. We will pursue policies and will support candidates not on the basis of party or personality, but on the basis of faithful adherence to these principles of Liberty, Self-Government and Virtue.
A NATION THAT IS FREE AND GOOD MUST EMBRACE LIBERTY, SELF-GOVERNMENT & VIRTUE
The Right to Life
- “God created man in His own image.”1
“All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”2
- We embrace the truth that we are created by God. We believe this literally. This is the reason that we are entitled to unalienable rights.
- We embrace the right to life, from conception until natural death, as the foremost of our inalienable rights. We reject the claims of a legal right to terminate the life of the unborn, the disabled, the ill, or the aged. We also reject the use of cloning or the use of human beings (which includes human embryos) for medical research that is designed to result in their death.
- We embrace equal standing before the law for all. We reject racism in any form.
Freedom of Religion and Conscience
- “Every man must give an account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in that way that he can best reconcile it to his conscience. If Government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.”3
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”4
- We embrace freedom of conscience for all.5 We reject the coercion that comes from using governmental power to require Americans to teach or believe a single viewpoint on the origins of life or other central matters. We also reject the coercion that comes from politically correct speech codes on governmental campuses or in legislative enactments of so-called “hate speech” laws. We reject the notion that the promotion of homosexual rights is a legitimate justification for infringing upon the liberties of Americans in violation of their consciences. We reject government efforts to coerce conscience by requiring that medical professionals and institutions perform abortions or other reproductive services contrary to the convictions of those persons or institutions.
- We embrace the view that the First Amendment protects more than belief; it protects the free exercise of religion, no matter how unpopular the religion may be. Except in cases of clear public necessity, government should not interfere with the exercise of religion.
- We embrace the view that our liberties and rights are a gift from God. So is moral truth that guides our consciences as we exercise those rights. If rights and morality come from men, then men may violate human rights according to the mood of the moment. Only by understanding that human rights come from our Creator God can we secure a sure foundation for the concept that the rights of all men are inalienable.
- We embrace the historical practice of the public acknowledgement of God by governments at various levels. Like the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights” and the national motto which declares that “In God We Trust,” such proclamations are consistent with religious liberty because no individual is coerced thereby. They remind us that rights given by God may not be rightfully trampled by men.
The Right to Bear Arms
- “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”6
- We embrace the importance of the fundamental and individual right of owning, possessing and using weapons as central to the preservation of peace and liberty. We reject the notion that the Second Amendment confers only a collective right.
The Consent of the Governed
- “To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”7
- We embrace the principle of the absolute necessity of the consent of the governed for a morally legitimate government. Accordingly, we reject judicial law-making in the guise of constitutional or legislative interpretation. We reject the use of bureaucratic law-making that enacts regulations to bind private people or private property. We also reject any form of world government, whether legislative or judicial, as an egregious violation of the principle of self-government.
- We embrace retaining the sovereignty of the United States as utterly essential for maintaining our precious right of self-government. We reject the use of international law for any domestic purpose whether by treaty or by judicial imposition.
- We embrace the system of checks and balances within our national government, and the principle of federalism that divides power between the national and state governments. We reject the misuse of the Commerce Clause, the General Welfare Clause and other theories that have expanded the power of Congress and the national government far beyond the enumerated powers granted by the founders who wrote and ratified the Constitution.
The Necessity of Public Virtue
- “The diminution of public virtue is usually attended with that of public happiness, and the public liberty will not long survive the total extinction of morals.”8
- We embrace the principle that the law may promote the common good by encouraging moral virtue and punishing serious breaches of public morality. We reject the view that laws may only be justified by the showing of harm to some individual. Thus, we reject the view that laws against drug use, prostitution, pornography and the like are outside the proper scope of government. Finally, we reject the view that law may not impact or regulate moral choices, since all laws impose some moral choice.
- We embrace the view that liberty and virtue are inextricably intertwined. We reject the view that moral anarchy (every man doing what is right in his own eyes) is the equivalent of liberty.
- “Marriage, while from its very nature a sacred obligation, is nevertheless, in most civilized nations, a civil contract, and usually regulated by law. Upon it society may be said to be built, and out of its fruits spring social relations and social obligations and duties, with which government is necessarily required to deal. In fact, according as … marriages are allowed, do we find the principles on which the government of the people, to a greater or less extent, rests.”9
- We embrace the sacred union of one man and one woman as the sole form of legitimate marriage. We reject any attempt to create other legitimate unions, whether called same-sex marriage, civil unions, or polygamy.
- We embrace the importance of honoring the sacred bonds of marriage as a true commitment. We reject the perversion of the sexual relationship whether in the form of adultery, homosexuality, prostitution, or through pornography and related industries.
- We embrace marriage as the best foundation for a healthy family and the well-being and development of children.
- “The law’s concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life’s difficult decisions. More important, historically it has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.”
“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”10
- We embrace the view that the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right. We reject the notion that the government may substitute its view of the best interest of the child for that of the parents’, absent proper proof of harm to the child.
- We embrace parental choice in all matters concerning education. We reject the notion that parents who choose to have their children educated in the public school should lose any meaningful control over the direction of their child.
- “The moral foundations of a society do not extend only to its political system; they must extend to its economic system as well. America’s commitment to capitalism is unquestionably the best example of this principle. Capitalism is not … an [intrinsically] amoral system based on selfishness, greed and exploitation. It is a moral system based on a biblical ethic. There is no other comparable system that has raised the standard of living of millions of people, created vast new wealth and resources, or inspired so many beneficial innovations and technologies. The wonderful thing about capitalism is that it does not discriminate against the poor, as so often has been charged; indeed, it is the only economic system that raises the poor out of poverty.”11
- We embrace the principles of freedom with respect to economic matters. Therefore, we reject any form of socialism or communism. We specifically reject any socialistic intervention in the economy to promote business as well as any form of redistribution of wealth.
- Just as we reject the idea that other freedoms are absolute, we reject the notion that economic freedom has no limits; but we also reject the notion that economic freedom is anything less than a fundamental right.
- We embrace the view that property rights should be recognized and protected as fundamental to our liberty. We reject the view that private property may be taken by the government, only to be transferred to other private owners in the name of economic development.
- “Man is not free unless government is limited.”
“The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”12
- We embrace limited government. We reject the idea that low tax rates are the end-goal; rather, low tax rates are the mechanism to ensure that we pursue only those functions of government that are both constitutionally sanctioned and actually necessary.
- We embrace faithful adherence to the original meaning of the Constitution as the single most important principle to ensure that government stays within its proper bounds.
National Defense and Foreign Policy
- “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”13
“If a nation takes up arms when she has received no injury, nor is threatened with any, she undertakes an unjust war. Those alone, to whom an injury is done or intended, have a right to make war.”14
- We affirm the right of the United States to defend itself against all threats without the necessity of consent from any other nation or any group of nations.
- We affirm the right of the United States to use its power, in a proportionate manner, to counteract the actions or policies of other nations or groups when there is clear and convincing evidence that such intervention is necessary for the defense of our people or our liberties.
- We reject the use of American tax dollars for the support of nations or institutions hostile to the ideals of free and virtuous government.
- We reject the use of military force for the purpose of planting a democracy in a nation which poses no direct threat to the United States. Freedom and self-government cannot be exported by the exercise of might.
- We affirm the duty to fulfill our treaty obligations for mutual defense for those who have been faithful to their obligations to us. We also affirm America’s participation in the defense of innocent nations invaded by aggressors in extraordinary situations such as in World War II in Europe. Our participation in such matters should be as limited as possible given the exigencies of the situation and never undertaken without the request of our treaty partner or the legitimate representatives of an invaded nation.
A Call to All Americans
We hope and believe that all Americans of good faith can embrace these ideals. We invite all to examine the history of this great nation and test these ideas with a long-range view. We believe that the facts reveal that the goals of freedom and justice that we all seek have been best served whenever our nation adheres to these ideals.
At the same time, we note that the Founders’ belief in freedom of speech and the right of political participation for all people has been fundamental to the success of this nation. We remain steadfastly committed to the full protection of the constitutional rights for all who differ with our views in whole or in part.
2The Declaration of Independence
5Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Barnette
6The Second Amendment
7The Declaration of Independence
9Supreme Court in Reynolds v. United States
10Supreme Court, Pierce v. Society of Sisters; Parham v. J.R.
13Samuel Adams (1722-1803), Father of the American Revolution, in an article he wrote to the Boston Gazette, Oct. 14, 1771
14Vattel, “The Law of Nations,” 1758