Locke, Jefferson, and the Justices: Foundations and Failures of the Us Government

Locke, Jefferson, and the Justices: Foundations and Failures of the Us Government

Locke, Jefferson, and the Justices: Foundations and Failures of the Us Government

Locke, Jefferson, and the Justices: Foundations and Failures of the Us Government

Excerpt

Our Founders had the sound idea that government exists to protect property and preserve liberty, giving citizens the freedom to advance themselves through private contracts — but we lost confidence in that view just as the world began to emulate us. This book traces the process of winning and losing rights, explores the possibilities for restoration, and concludes that few reforms are likely to be adopted through politics.

We cannot govern ourselves nor secure our rights unless we understand our government's purpose, but many Americans do not. They tend to define the purpose variously as: to solve society's problems; to maintain order; to help the needy; or to spread wealth. It is none of these; instead, there is the unequivocal statement in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence that our government's function is to secure “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for its citizens. We tend to gloss over these words thinking, perhaps, that it is nice that the Founders wanted us to be happy. The words are not sentimental; they grant specific rights in . . .

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