The Declaration of Independence defines our personal liberties as inalienable aspects of our humanity, and the Constitution prohibits the government from interfering with those liberties—like thought, speech, press, association, worship, self-defense, travel, privacy, due process, use of money, and private property, to name a few. The teaching of these founding documents is that our liberties are natural—their source is not the government—and they are personal, not collective. We don't need a government permission slip to exercise them; we don't need to belong to a group to enjoy them; they cannot be taken away by a congressional vote or a presidential signature.
Yet even though everyone who works for the government takes an oath to uphold the Declaration and the Constitution, very few are consistent with what they have sworn to do, laments Andrew Napolitano. We know that because on the transcendental issues of our day—life, liberty, war, and debt—the leadership of both political parties and the behavior of all modern presidents have revealed a steadfast willingness to write any law and regulate any behavior or permit any evil, whether authorized by the Constitution or not.
Start your day with Reason. Get a daily brief of the most important stories and trends every weekday morning when you subscribe to Reason Roundup.