July 4 Weekend Reading

If you live in the United States you live in the greatest country on earth, not because Americans are better than anyone else but because our government was based on the political philosophy of individualism and designed to protect our unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So to celebrate that, here are some relevant links.

If you haven’t read it in a while, this would be a good weekend to read our most important founding document, the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is ignored by modern intellectuals and politicians because it is very, very inconvenient. It establishes that we have certain, unalienable rights and that governments are instituted among men to protect these rights. Read that slowly. Governments exist to protect rights, not to provide retirement savings or medical care, not to own auto companies or bail out banks, but to protect our unalienable rights. The Declaration establishes a limited Federal Government, not the unlimited one, which we have now. If you don’t think our government’s power is unlimited, try to think of some part of your life that the President, Congress or the Courts believe is off limits from their control. If you can think of something it’s probably just because they haven’t gotten to that yet.

A much better explanation of this than I could give is here: Textbook of Americanism by Ayn Rand.

You may also be interested in this article from the American Thinker blog on what the Declaration is NOT.

I should, of course, add the Constitution to your reading list. Note, in particular, that the branches of government are considered co-equal. The Supreme Court is not the top dog, contrary to modern opinion. And notice also that Congress has a very limited number of powers and responsibilities. Try enforcing that idea today and you’ll be considered a nut case.Anti-Federalist Papers

Fedaralist Papers

Here are two, very important historical documents that debated the idea of federalism and a federal system. The first is the Federalist Papers which were published in the Colonies to defend the idea of federalism.

The second is the Anti-Federalist Papers which argued the opposite view. Sometimes I think the wrong side won.

Both books might be a little heavy for  one weekend. So for something a little more digestable, get a copy of Frederick Bastiat’s The Law. You can get it here as a pdf file, or here as an audio mp3 and also here from the Mises Institute, or as a good, old-fashioned book from the Foundation for Economic Education or from Amazon.com here.

Have a happy and wonderful Fourth of July, Independence Day, and have a hot dog for me. And remember, it wasn’t a revolution. It was a War for Indpendence.

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