Commentary at jeromehuyler.com
The Limit of the Law
The Founders' Philosophy in Pictures
Pictures by Bill Boillot at Founders Keep
So what does all this mean and what does it say about the role of government in our lives?
In Other Words
Every man possesses the same basic needs and capacities. To survive, to succeed at living, to pursue happiness, men must use their faculties in order to satisfy their needs .
Sharing this common nexus, men must be left free to discover their needs and achieve their values, which means free to think and free to act accordingly. But no one is free to do so at anothers'expense.
Men may freely trade with one another by mutual agreement for mutual benefit, That's all.
There are objective truths that reason, beginning with ordinary experience and using logic to reach reasonable conclusions can discover. We figure out that being equal (in the sense stated above), we all need to follow a simple rule: LIVE AND LET LIVE. .
Locke needed a concept to translate this abiding truth into daily social practice. He found it in the idea of men's natural and "unallienable" (Jefferson's word) RIGHTS.
Where fully applied, these rights leave all men free to pursue their self-interests. But, being equal and independent, no individual may claim or come by a right to take away or give away what belongs to another. That is the definition of a wrong.
This is crucial. Since government gets its power from the people and from no other source, it may not and cannot claim a power that the people, themselves, did not originally possess.
Sadly, Jefferson's Declaration of Independence did not make that pivotal point sufficiently clear. Fortunately,
John Locke's Second Treatise of Government did:
What is the LIMIT OF THE LAW
in the FREE society our FOUNDERS hoped to forge?
Considering that when Congress confers special benefits on SOME, it denies "equal protection under law" to ALL. Congress is strictly barred from, as they say, "picking winners and losers."
Government was designed to be a PROTECTOR, protecting all in the enjoyment of what is theirs. It was not meant to be a PROVIDER, benefiting some at others' expense . . .
Not if one bothers to take the nation's founding principles seriously