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Government Set Up by the People- Does this Make Sense?

Imagine that a group of us all lived centuries ago in a rural, agrarian setting, working in our fields and sleeping in our thatched huts nearby. Suppose that there came a problem. One of our neighbors was sneaking into our huts while we were working in the fields and stealing our valuable “corn-squeezings” (our liquor)! We would get together and make an arrangement to protect our property. We’d offer to give some of our harvest to the big bruiser Olaf if he would patrol the village with his spear and catch any thieves and throw them in the secured cave. Moreover, Olaf could keep guard and alert us to any attacking tribes that are trying to enslave us. If he will be blow the cow horn, we’ll come run grab our spears to drive away the invaders. Do you see what we have done? In order to protect our property and our lives we have made a deal with one another, setting up a government and agreeing to give it some of our harvest(taxes) in order to support it. We have even been willing to submit to being “drafted” into military duty in order to prevent losing all of our liberty. That is what John Locke and Jacques Rousseau meant by the idea of the “Social Contract.”

Suppose also that one day we discovered that big Olaf was abusing his power by helping himself to our valuables. Clearly we would see that he has been “corrupted” by his power. As Acton said, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely,” therefore, we need “checks and Balances” to prevent that from happening. But if it were bad enough, we would be justified to kick Olaf out and to replace him. That was referred to as the “right to rebel” taught by Locke and used by the Thirteen Colonies 80 years later.

Read these words from the Declaration of Independence, looking for those concepts: “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and whenever any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.” The Ideas of John Locke were placed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence “lock, stock and barrel!”

The thinking expressed in the Declaration, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers promoting the ratification are based on the best insights of the ages and should not be lightly changed for political popularity.

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