As Terrence Moore points out in this essay, the Republican Pledge to America is more of a temporary than a permanent document. It describes those things that Republicans can attempt to do right now, before the newly elected Congressmen and Senators are seated in Jan 2011. But what Conservatives need to do, as they take over control of the Republican Party from the big government Republicans who are dominant in the legislature now, is institute a long-term party platform and plan that is based on the same first principles as animated the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and, in fact, the American Revolution of 1776. To these ends, Moore starts with these paragraphs.
Read the whole thing.
Human beings are individuals. They are born not into a class or a race or a special interest but into the human community. The American ideal has always been to treat individuals not as belonging to preferred classes or groups but as individuals. Attempts to categorize and hyphenate individuals, particularly for political purposes, are far from being American.
Human beings are endowed with considerable capacities. They have the capacity to think, to work, to provide for themselves, and to pursue their own happiness. Therefore, they have the ability and the responsibility to govern themselves, both in the individual and the collective sense. Policies that treat human beings as wards of the state rather than as human beings capable of taking care of and governing themselves are not American.
Human beings are endowed with inalienable rights. These rights include life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the protection of private property. These rights come from God, not from government.
The chief end of government is to protect individual, inalienable rights. Rights are not to be confused with entitlements. A person’s rights are derived from being human, from the individual’s effort and talents, and from the self-evident principle that a person might use or save or give away his property as he sees fit. Entitlements are alleged benefits that government transfers from one class of people to another under the guise of “welfare” or “care” or “security” but usually for political gain. Government possesses neither life nor liberty nor happiness nor health and therefore cannot grant rights, only protect them. For the first century and a half of the American experiment, the government mostly protected citizens’ rights. For almost the last century, there has been a deliberate conflation of and confusion between rights and entitlements. The restoration of sound government in our time means a return of government to protecting rights rather than providing entitlements.
The protection of private property is particularly important in America. The American Revolution resulted in large part from a distant government’s cavalier attitude to property rights. James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, described the purpose of the government in protecting property as follows:
The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to an uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties, is the first object of government.
In light of Madison’s ideas of constitutional government, contemporary attacks upon “the rich” used to pass progressive (i.e. unequal and often confiscatory) tax and fiscal policies are particularly insidious. The “diversity in the faculties of men” will unavoidably result in some amassing considerable wealth. The laws of political economy tell us that a rising tide, however, lifts all boats. The more opportunity “the rich” have in investing capital in productive enterprise, the higher those boats will rise.