4th of July

Celebrate Limited Government on the Fourth of July

Remember that the Declaration of Independence stands for inalienable rights.


Happy Fourth of July!

We have reason to celebrate.

The Fourth honors the founding of America. It's the anniversary of the day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved.

The Declaration was important.

It didn't say that America would be the best country because it would have the biggest military, toughest leaders, most government giveaways, or tightest borders.

The great innovation that day in Philadelphia was the declaration that the United States would have a limited government, rooted in the idea that every individual has inalienable rights.

In other words, we do not get our rights from government. They already exist. The government's job is to protect our rights.

It's a good thing to say out loud while watching the fireworks with your family.

The world took notice when American colonists told their king: "Bug off. We will trade with you and respect your borders, but no longer will we allow you to rule us." Revolutions in France and elsewhere took their cues from America.

It was America's emphasis on limited government—wanting to make sure no one in government would ever again wield power like that of the British king—that made our revolution the greatest and most lasting success of recent centuries.

Other countries replaced kings and aristocrats with new forms of bureaucracy and tyranny.

France created revolutionary committees that murdered dissenters. Russia replaced its czar with a communist police state that confiscated farms, killing millions.

The U.S. government, by comparison at least, remained humble. It mostly allowed citizens to forge their own destinies and choose where to live, what professions to pursue, and what to say and publish, gradually expanding those freedoms to more Americans, not just the white men who were in that room in Philadelphia in 1776.

That freedom to innovate and live as one chooses made us the most prosperous nation on earth.

Let's celebrate that.

The founders had a joyful optimism: Let individuals be free to trade and travel, and they'll take from the best of the world and make something even better.

The optimism was rewarded. We outlasted European fascism and communism and now have better, healthier, and more interesting lives than anyone anywhere ever.

Yet there is a pessimistic, ugly streak in current politics, both left and right.

Many Americans now want to create a nation built on very different principles than the ones that made us a success.

The crowd at the Democratic presidential debates cheered socialist promises—government-run health care, free college, etc. They are eager to replace individualism and markets with government central planning.

Many sound as if they think the American experiment is an embarrassment.

Some Republicans, meanwhile, act as if nationalist pride is an end unto itself.

President Donald Trump talks as if the key to our success is not spreading the idea of liberty but keeping the rest of the world away from the U.S.

Today's nationalists and populists don't want to leave Americans free to engage in trade with whomever we choose. They do not want people to immigrate and emigrate freely. Some even want government to police speech.

This Fourth, instead of toasting the Declaration of Independence and individual liberty, some Americans will push for socialism—and others will demand Trump throw out all immigrants.

Those ideas rely upon force—getting everyone to go along with one big plan.

No matter how great that plan sounds, though, if it is imposed by government, it inevitably overrides the 330 million individual plans that Americans make for themselves, and it overrides them with taxes, regulations, fines, guns, and arrests.

But it wasn't force that made America great. It was freedom.

America happened—and continues to happen—spontaneously, when its leaders are smart enough to just stay out of our way.

America will do best if we remember that the Declaration of Independence talks about limited government and reminds us that every individual has inalienable rights.


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  1. It’s those damned kids doing all this.

  2. Force isn’t the problem, initiating force is the problem. Apply the NAP to the government and all our problems would be solved.

    1. Meh. Controlling government has always been a problem, so its not that simple.

      its why the Founders sought to limit government as much as possible and have a functioning government for common defense and the courts.

      Americans just need to pay attention more and reign in government workers and politicians.

      1. People in this country are way too comfortable to bother paying attention. The parasitic class has pretty much mastered the art of extracting as much as possible without annoying the host enough for it to care.

        1. Boil the frog nice and slow.

      2. It’s very simple all we need is an amendment, “Government shall not initiate force.” Done.

      3. *rein

  3. I will celebrate “limited government” when I find it. Still searching!

    1. Let’s celebrate the idea of limited government then.

  4. President Donald Trump talks as if the key to our success is not spreading the idea of liberty but keeping the rest of the world people that don’t respect law or celebrate freedom away from the U.S.

    FIFY, stosh.

    1. Many of those people do celebrate freedom.

      Also, do you respect every single law? Even the ones you think are bad, insignificant or downright evil? Have you never broken a law in your life? Never used an illegal drug? Never ignored a city/county ordinance? Never exceeded the speed limit while driving or coasted through a stop sign? Everyone breaks laws every day.

      1. So are you equating crossing the border and taking up residence in the US with driving 56 in a 55 or with burning some trash in your yard?

      2. Illegal border crossing is more akin to breaking and entering or home invasion than those misdemeanors you cited since they involve disrespecting and disregarding others’ dominions.

    2. people that don’t respect law or celebrate freedom

      I don’t know, there’s a lot of politicians here.

  5. “rooted in the idea that every individual has inalienable rights.”

    But the root has withered due to a lack of watering with the blood of tyrants, and now only the aliens have rights – – – –

    1. Absolutely, our founder would have had an armed rebellion long ago. One day the people will understand you can vote your way into socialism but must shoot your way out.

    2. What rights do the aliens have that citizens don’t have?

      1. Flying saucers don’t have to pass state inspection.


  7. It’s too bad those unalienable rights didn’t make it into the Constitution. An unalienable right to peaceably and voluntarily assemble, interact, trade and converse would be a great thing to have.

    1. There should be an amendment about that to the effect that Congress shall pass no law, or something.

  8. “Celebrate Limited Government on the Fourth of July”
    I’d like to, but fireworks not allowed in my state

  9. “Independence day?”

    More like Dependence day.
    Thanks Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Nixon and a host of other Big Government ass wipes.

  10. *applause*

  11. The 4th of July is a racist holiday. The Declaration of Independence was signed by a bunch of slave owners and is therefore racist and must not be celebrated, taught in school or discussed in polite society

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    click here ======►► http://www.Geosalary.com

  13. […] start with the former. John Stossel’s column for Reason explains what Americans should be […]

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