The only legitimate government must be self-government. For if none of us is naturally subordinate or superior to anyone else, no one has the right to rule us without first obtaining our approval.
"Political power", Locke had written, stems “only from compact and agreement, and the mutual consent of those who make up the community.’’
The Declaration of Independence emphasized the point. Not only are all persons endowed by nature with the unalienable rights of equality and freedom, it avowed, but “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’’
No lawful government without consent and self-rule: It was an extraordinary doctrine in a time of despots and lawful (nay, God APPROVED) monarchs.
July 4 marks more than American independence. It commemorates the great political ideals, rooted in faith and philosophy, that vindicated that independence – and that thereby transformed the world.
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835