by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
July 4, 2013
Do you have more personal liberty today than on the Fourth of July 2012?
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he used language that has become iconic.
He wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Not only did he write those words, but the first Congress adopted them unanimously, and they are still the law of the land today.
By acknowledging that our rights are inalienable, Jefferson’s words and the first federal statute recognize that our rights come from our humanity — from within us — and not from the government.
The government the Framers gave us was not one that had the power and ability to decide how much freedom each of us should have, but rather one in which we individually and then collectively decided how much power the government should have. That, of course, is also recognized in the Declaration, wherein Jefferson wrote that the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed.