“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
— The Declaration of Independence
Many Americans, regardless of their political leanings, profess their unwavering belief in the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence. However, the gap between merely vocalizing our nation’s creed and truly living out these principles in our deeds is often substantial.
Christian conservatives in particular, recognizing the existential void left by our rapidly secularizing society, place considerable emphasis on the phrase, "endowed by their Creator." To them, this phrase is not merely part of the natural rights doctrine, but a dire warning: a society without the fear of God is likely to descend into chaos, with the blind leading the blind to worship at the altars of government and other false idols.
The great irony is that so often conservative politicians themselves seem to lack this divine fear, leading them to abuse the political freedoms bestowed by the Creator. These leaders frequently find themselves bowing at the very altar of government tyranny they claim to resist, protecting the privileges and power of the political status quo. “Yes, we may idolize the government, but at least we’re not as fervent as our political adversaries,” they often argue. “Have you seen the Democrats? They pray to power like Romans with their eyes on fire!”
This is not entirely untrue. Yesterday’s progressive revolutionaries can often morph into today’s staunch defenders of the established system. Having achieved their initial political goals, these former radicals erect barriers of power and privilege to safeguard their hard-earned “rights.” Emphasizing the phrase “all men are created equal,” secular progressives fit this bill as they largely aim to conserve the progressive victories of past generations.
Yet even on the progressive frontlines, woke culture warriors — despite their vehement push to normalize “alternative” lifestyles and subcultures — succumb to the ancient instinct to use coercive authority and hierarchy. Their efforts to advance equity often involve shaming, ostracization, and control, showing they are just as ready as their conservative counterparts (if not more enthusiastic!) to mold the population to their whims by any means necessary.
The lust to dominate, the libido dominandi, does not discriminate between left or right, Christian conservative or secular progressive. It infiltrates all.
From America’s inception, the people have never fully realized the libertarian ideals of the Declaration. Revolutionary ideals aimed at protecting the natural rights of man from governmental fear and force have been distorted into hollow rhetoric, serving the ambitions of a small, entrenched elite. The old order and its attendant tyrannies are constantly reestablished!
Having indulged in the sweet fruits of power, new interest groups fear there's not enough to go around. Power’s lusts twist them into ruthless, self-centered creatures until they dismiss the rights of others while asserting their own privileges as rights. They then erect barriers against the free flow of liberty and justice, seeking to cement their gains through manipulation and coercion.
Whenever any individual or group uses the government to sap the natural rights of others to safeguard their own power and privilege, they have fallen prey to the tantalizing promises of power; they have surrendered to their desire to dominate others and betrayed their own proclaimed ideals for the seductive comfort of power. They cannot be counted as friends of liberty.
To be a true friend of liberty is to resist the libido dominandi.
To be a true friend of liberty is to recognize the ancient script of liberty, divinely and equally imprinted on the hearts of all.
To be a true friend of liberty means not hoarding the spoils of power for oneself but sharing the fruits of freedom with all, regardless of one’s social standing or birthright.
To be a true friend of liberty is to embody the words of the Declaration, not betray them in deed while professing them to be our creed.
Joey Clark is a native Alabamian and is currently the host of the radio program News and Views on News Talk 93.1 FM WACV out of Montgomery, AL M-F 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. His column appears every Tuesday in 1819 News. To contact Joey for media or speaking appearances as well as any feedback, please email email@example.com.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com.
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