“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that 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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
–From The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
When the founders of this nation wrote the document explaining the departure of the North American colonies from under the Crown’s rule, they prefaced it with a brief explanation of the Rights of Man, and the responsibility of a Government to those rights. They asserted, correctly, that a government which failed to recognize the consent of the governed, and to facilitate the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, such a government had forfeited its own right to rule. It is clear that, not only did these individuals believe this to be the standard of what was to become the United States of America, but indeed the standard of Just Government the world over.
The first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence set the precedent for the Constitution when it was drafted — and the responsibilities of the government that document established. Put simply, the responsibility of the government is to facilitate (or, “secure”) the Divine Rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.
On both a national and state level, this consists of the establishment of laws for the general order and welfare. The common sense nature of this sort of law is such that the legislation of them is not so much to inform, but rather to provide precedent for reprisal should such common sense be ignored. The average person knows on perhaps a primal level that it is wrong to murder, to steal, to cause harm. Because not all men are honest, or good, however, we have laws on the books such that when bad men act badly, we me seek recompense and retribution. Thus, on the local level, police forces are established “to serve and protect.”
Nationally, the securing of these inalienable rights is manifest in the form of border security and national security. Federal Border enforcement, a strong and well-maintained standing army, foreign intelligence agencies and a National Guard are all vital to this security and are indeed the chief responsibility of a National (Federal) government. Administrations seeking to diminish or altar the roles of these agencies have been rightly criticized for acting against their Constitutional charter.
Much has been made in the recent past of the money spent by this nation on our military. As will be discussed in the near future, those who would suggest a budget cut on this level are not only hopelessly naive about our safety and security, but woefully ignorant of the job of the Federal Government. Indeed, any Administration which cuts military spending, or closes domestic military bases in favor of domestic entitlement programs is guilty of negligence in the highest degree.
A large part of domestic defense is the security of our sovereign borders. The security of these borders is necessary not only for the defense of life, but indeed of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ours is indeed a nation of immigrants. We have a rich history of immigration and assimilation. But such immigration must be tempered by just regulation as to who enters this country, and why. Such regulation must not be based on race, color, creed or sex — such discrimination on a government level flies in the face of liberty — but on independence, ambition and prudent, rigorous examinations as to national security.
In other words, immigrants must always be welcome to this free nation, but such individuals must be both willing and able to provide for themselves and their families legally and independently of government aid — boon to society, in other words, rather than a burden. And, they must be seen to pose no threat to our national security after reasonable investigation into their backgrounds.
Finally, the founders of this nation, in drafting the constition, provided for the penultimate source of personal and national security among Americans — the citizens themselves. Referred to in the United States Constitution, under Article I, Section 8, as well as Article II, Section 2, this was clarified in the Second Amendment: “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.”
The Second Amendment to the Constitution has nothing whatever to do with hunting, or with skeet shooting, or with hobbyists of any flavor. The Second Amendment is about the right of the individual to keep and have the tools necessary to defend his home, his family, his community and his country from foreign and domestic threats to life, liberty or property. Vital to a free and sovereign nation is an armed citizenry, well-trained in the use of their weaponry and prepared to answer the call to defend themselves and their nation.
In fact, the right to defend one’s self is key to the Inalienable Rights referred to by the Declaration of Independence.
The responsibility to defend is the logical extension of a government for, by and of the people. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is secured by the free individual, and by the government formed and maintained by his consent.