I was driving with my daughter tonight and had Jason Lewis on the radio. Jason was discussing individual liberty, as he often does, and my 11 year old asked me what he was talking about.
Last night I made the kids listen to the reading of The Declaration of Independence recited before the Super Bowl. So I used that as a segue into the fact that the concept that individual human rights flowed directly from God, to the citizen and THEN to the government was a revolutionary concept that no one had ever thought of in the history of all mankind.
Never, not ever, before had it occurred to anyone to write down the words:
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.
The whole concept changed the world.
She looked at me and said that she didn’t understand. How could government abuse people.
So I entered into an explanation that well intentioned people, working to benefit folks who might be less fortunate or in need, will desire to create programs that will alleviate, to such a degree as possible, the suffering conditions faced by those people. And when they do that, they begin to realize that an easier way to convince people to contribute to their cause is to pass a law requiring it.
That is tyranny.
She paused some and looked back at me from the rear-view mirror, “Dad, I know that people who are poor, that have less than us, need help. But I don’t think that just giving them money is the right thing to do.”
“Why not?”, I asked. “Because,” she answered, “how do we know that they’ll know how to use it to make their life better?”
My job here is done!