In the time of the Founding Fathers, the colonists suffered under tyrannical rule and understood the consequences of being subjects to government.  As a result, America was originally structured around the Articles of Confederation – a document one step to the left of anarchy on the political spectrum.  Recognizing the document’s lack of sustainability, the Founders realized while drafting the Constitution that government had to have limited power.

And yet, in the past century, the United States has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of federal government power. Whether it’s the creation of the Federal Reserve, the establishment of Social Security and other entitlement programs, or the implementation of No Child Left Behind, the federal government has found ways to infiltrate every aspect of our personal lives, robbing us of our liberty in the process.

It is important to note that liberty is not a commodity given by any government or any document; the Founders recognized liberty comes from a higher power. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”

The United States of America was founded as an experiment. Those brave men who rebelled against King George did so for a better life for generations to come.  Men like George Washington and James Madison lived under the tyrannical rule of a monarch.  Instead of accepting the notion that their rights stemmed from the throne, our Founding Fathers said that we derive our power from the Almighty.  No person, no government, no law has the power to take away our God-given rights; our rights are inalienable.

Whether it’s the PATRIOT Act or ObamaCare, TARP or Dodd-Frank, Democrats and Republicans alike are to blame for the destruction of liberty.  Government expansion is a bi-partisan concept in our nation’s capital, no matter the political rhetoric of the day.  The sad truth is that both political parties have become plagued with corruption and greed, increasing governmental control of our lives to further their own selfish ends, thereby poisoning the very foundations of American society in the process.

Even governmental programs who have admirable stated goals have grown wildly out of control. As Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute points out,

“Social Security taxes have been raised some 40 times since the program began. The initial Social Security tax was 2 percent (split between the employer and employee), capped at $3,000 of earnings.  That made for a maximum tax of $60. Today, the tax is 12.4 percent, capped at $106,800, for a maximum tax of $13,234. Even adjusting for inflation, that represents more than an 800 percent increase.”

As outlandish as it may seem, government in the United States has not always been leviathan.  However, Americans today willingly give away their liberty.  Whether we give it away because we support tyrannical government under the guise of “crucial legislation” that expands government power or because we choose to remain silent, Americans have forgotten the beginnings of this nation.  We have forgotten that government is not our master; our rights do not stem from Washington, D.C.  Until we realize that government is not the answer to every problem, we will continue to lose our liberty.

Some may even question the importance of liberty.  Some may argue that wealth redistribution or free education or outrageous environmental regulations are more important than personal liberty.  Again, Thomas Jefferson puts everything in perspective: “My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy.” Do not allow your armor to be stripped in exchange for the tattered rags of tyranny.

If bigger government isn’t the answer to our problems, what is?   The Founding Fathers knew the answer, which is why they placed it at the beginning of the U.S. Constitution: “we the people.”  You see, more government will always result in more constriction of our liberty.  If we are to actually save ourselves from the destructive path we are currently on, we must return the United States of America to a limited republic, just as the Founders intended.

We have to choose.  Will we finally see that the people are the answer, bigger government only creates more problems, and the necessity to take the reins in order to secure America for centuries to come?  We need to have the courage to do what is right, no matter the personal cost.  We owe it to those 56 brave men who put their lives on the line for an idea greater than themselves to choose liberty over tyranny.  We must find the courage within ourselves to be the people our Founders were– selfless individuals united together for the common cause of freedom and who put God, family, and country above all else.

Joseph O. Turner :: Mary Washington College :: Fredericksburg, Virginia :: @OdieTurner