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Right Opinion

Maybe the United States Isn't for Everybody

Guest Commentary · Dec. 5, 2019

By Larry Craig

Our national anthem calls our country “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Every country has brave people in it, but to say that this is the home of the brave is saying something different, something more. It means that bravery is an essential part of what it means to be an American. And why would that be?

Because America fought its first war against its own government, and the Founders thought they might have to do it again. Which is why we have the Second Amendment.

The Declaration of Independence says that God gave unalienable rights to human beings, and governments exist to secure those rights. And when they don’t, the people have the right to change it or make a new one. That’s exactly what the Founders did.

America is built on the idea of personal freedom. The average person today probably couldn’t tell you what “freedom” means because we haven’t taught that in our public schools for decades, nor have we taught it to the millions of people who have moved here.

Why not?

Freedom has to do with people having unalienable rights. Unalienable rights come from God. A secular nation cannot give you unalienable rights. They require a higher power. In a secular nation, there is no higher power than the government.

And not just any higher power. Islam, for example, does not believe in unalienable rights. Neither does Hinduism.

It was the Christian God who the Founders saw gave them unalienable rights. It was the Bible and Christianity that informed them of that.

But all that talk about God was deemed to be religious, and religion was deemed to be something not fitting in public discussion, let alone public schools.

But since unalienable rights come from God, and God was banned from public life and schools, rights are no longer seen as unalienable but government-given, which changed the whole idea of rights.

While unalienable rights are things you can do without the government’s permission, regulation, or intrusion, government-given rights are things the government is required to give you. Why? Because you have a right to them. So essentially, government-given rights require other people to do things for you — often at enormous expense. Which is the exact opposite of freedom.

Somebody argued recently online that abortion is a constitutional right. I wrote back and said it actually is not. Constitutional rights are things you can do without government intrusion. Abortion is something that requires somebody to do something for you. If nobody is willing to give you an abortion, the government would then have to compel somebody to do it, which is the very definition of slavery.

This is the short answer why our government is now $23 trillion in debt. With every election cycle, the list of new rights keeps growing. The government cannot take in enough money to pay for all the things that it wants to give people.

People don’t need to be brave anymore. The government is there to protect you, even if people say unpleasant things about you.

The most common ideas of America today is that America is a nation of immigrants; that the Founders wanted to create a nation that is defined by ideas, not culture, race, or ethnicity; and that they wanted a nation where everyone can come here and create a rich potpourri of diverse cultures.

Except that our Founders did not go to war with their own government over its immigration policies. The fact that our country is a nation of immigrants is not because our Founders thought the diversity of the world would create the society they desired but because the kind of nation they created was a kind of nation that many people wanted.

Much is being made today of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

People yearning to breathe free were invited to come here, but it doesn’t say what will happen to them when they get here. They weren’t invited here so we could take care of them. They were invited here so they could make what they could out of their lives.

There was no SNAP, TANF, or CHIP. What we had was the freedom to pursue your happiness with the minimum of government interference. When people were in need, there were thousands of churches and charitable organizations, usually affiliated with churches, that were there to help. It wasn’t done at public expense through taxpayer dollars. It was volunteers who worked with money that was voluntarily contributed. What we call welfare today used to be called charity.

What’s the difference?

Charity is voluntary. When the government does it, it’s mandatory. The government has no money but what it takes from the people. When the government makes its people do things for other people, that’s the definition of slavery.

When a government has an expansive system of financial assistance, you don’t need to be brave to come here.

I have a 1949 textbook on our government. Back then, there were 11 requirements for immigrants to be admitted to our country. Now the only requirement is to show up.

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