America’s founding document tells us that our rights are endowed to us from the Creator. If we believe these words, then we must conclude that the Emancipation Proclamation gifted freedom to no one. Furthermore, our freedom of speech was not granted by the First Amendment and no law grants us the right to not be murdered.
Our existing liberties may have been captured in the Bill of Rights. But they existed before the North American Continent was ever visited by modern humans. And if any of the first four constitutional amendments were to be repealed by majority vote, the right would yet exist. The Constitution, laws, and the courts are essential to realizing our liberties, but not in granting them.
When law enforcement or the court gets it wrong, our rights have not diminished. Rather, the officer or the judge is for that moment out of alignment with the Creator’s intent for the people. This is what the Declaration describes as “a design to reduce them under absolute despotism.”
There are many areas of life where we voluntarily surrender some liberty in exchange for something greater. We exchange our time for a paycheck, frankness for relationships, and licentiousness for religious beliefs. But lately, I have been observing the odd behavior of masses of free people willing to exchange precious liberties for the gratification of another man’s supremacy.
Of course, we think of slavery as the ultimate despotism. Over 600,000 people died in the struggle to realign the nation with the Creator’s intent for the liberty of enslaved Africans. It is one of our nation’s greatest shames that the majority of black Americans continues to surrender their freedoms to the masters of a ruling leftist government. I ascribe to the theory that generations of slavery weakened the role of fathers in the black community. And the Democratic Party ruthlessly takes advantage of these Americans who deserve every dignity and respect.
Obamacare is the contemporary example of free people gleefully surrendering their freedoms for the indulgence of an ambitious ruler. Everything about this law is deplorable, from the technological embarrassment to the destruction of the health insurance industry to the diminished quality of care– all built on a foundation of monumental political deception. The only, and I mean only, reason to persist in implementing the evocatively named Affordable Care Act is to please Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and their benefactors. Every other American will be hurt by it.
But perhaps the most intricate symbiotic dependency is teachers unions. In several states next week, boards of education will be elected to represent their communities. The issues, as usual, include education funding, priorities for spending, curricula, and parental choice.
One would think that teachers would generally value individual recognition and compensation. And one would be wrong. The culture of public education has a well-established system of relying on public funding while rebuffing public involvement.
Here is how it works: The union promotes their own slate of candidates for election to the school board. The union negotiates collective bargaining contracts with its newly elected friends on the school board. The board hires district leadership that cooperates with the union’s liberal education agenda. The district collects union dues from the teachers to fund both the union and the next board of education election.
Thomas Jefferson declared the high purpose of public education in A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge while serving as a United States Senator in 1779: "The most effectual means of preventing [the perversion of power into tyranny] are to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts which history exhibits, that ... they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes."
But rather than warning students about the dangers of surrendering liberty for the comfort of a master, teachers generally consider union membership as a warm blanket. There are many laudable exceptions, of course. But free-market minded educators are usually made to fear the royal order of labor. And the consequence of shunning by their peers is a very real threat.
So the cycle is a difficult one to break by the paying customer. Citizens who are looking for innovation in preparing their students to thrive in capitalism are not finding much empathy from the foreign culture that operates in the neighborhood cinder block building. Our teachers work hard and they generally provide the best education that their 1940’s model can produce. But any attempt by a community to interfere in their terrarium will be met with a very effective use of free-market media.