Lady Liberty is Dead. We The People Are To Blame.

Authored By: Mike Sonneveldt

Lady Liberty is Dead. We The People Are To Blame.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.” Declaration of Independence


Differing Views 

Some of us hold a general understanding of the Declaration of Independence. This group views the preamble as proof we have some rights, such as Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. While this first group may come to a consensus that rights are good and we should all have them, they miss more important meanings from the passage. 

 Others believe that rights such as Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness are provided to us by God. Therefore, the government cannot take those rights from us. If only God can give us rights, then surely, He is the only one who can take them. 

 This group certainly stands on truth. If you get them talking long enough, they will most likely point out that governments may not give us rights, but their job is to protect those rights for us. We the people allow ourselves to be governed because of our belief that governments are justly created to secure our rights. 

 However, this second group has a blind spot. 


The Deeper View

It is true. Governments were instituted among men to secure our rights, which include Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. These rights are not exhaustive but certainly create the foundation of rights that have been granted to humans by God. Our founders named these specific rights to give a clear understanding of what the government could NOT touch in our lives. After all, protecting something means ensuring its health and well-being. 

 Unfortunately, the government of today seems to have forgotten its primary role in the American experiment. It was not to regulate every step of our lives, make us safe through the use of bubble wrap, or take our money to spend on their pet projects. 

 Our government truly lost its way and must return to its original calling. 

 Even though we as a people may claim this from the rooftops, we must bear our portion of the responsibility. We missed our own presence in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. 


Our Role. Our Failure. 

We tend to believe a few lies regarding the government, our rights, and our responsibilities. We believe that our responsibility is to vote for our politicians, and they must then do the work of staving off all matters of evil from their tyrannical opponents. We believe that the government’s role is to protect our rights so that we may passively go about our days. 

Our hearts tell us that we are slipping down the pathway into an oppressive, destructive tyranny.
And we may be. But we must help shoulder the blame.

Our government failed and continues to fail. But did we not permit it to do so? While we may trumpet the truth of the rights we have from God, we so often fail to use our consent to be governed as the acknowledgment that the government MUST lead a restrained life. That restraint requires knowledgeable people who understand that government is a tool of defense, NOT a means to fulfill every desire and support every opinion.  

 We turned our government from a bodyguard into our hitman. 


It’s Our Fault. 

For some reason, even the most ardent supporters of individual rights and the “leave me alone” culture seem to have bought into the idea that government must control people on all levels. Especially if those people do not do what we like. We clamor for the government to rezone an area to keep business out. We vote for candidates based on how they vote for new housing projects or apartment buildings. They know they can get our support as long as they promise the new community program or school project. 

When our neighbor’s grass gets too long, we seek out the HOA or the city council to do our dirty work and fine the person. We do not wrestle with what might happen to our neighbors if they refuse to pay the fines or go along with the regulations. 

We created mayhem by deciding that government bodies must compel our neighbors to follow our desires, and yet somehow attempt to stay consistent with our cries of “Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness!” 


It Starts with Individual Rights 

That simple list of three foundational rights has become known around the world. We say them over and over to each other while losing their true grasp and meaning. We fail to recognize our own limitations in upholding those rights, instead viewing them through our own lens and our own reception of such rights. 

Thomas Jefferson said, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” 

When we use the law, regulation, or codes, we run a powerful risk of producing the exact opposite effect of our supposed attachment to liberty. While that Declaration clearly rebuked the crown for all of how the government had oppressed people’s rights, we failed to keep ourselves accountable. 

If we truly honored and respected individual rights, we would be careful to restrain ourselves when reaching that dividing line between our “sphere” and our neighbor’s. Even though we have a right to voice our opinion on the matters of what our neighbor does, we should hold such terrible power of coercive law and tax with a somber and sacred honor. Their rights to their person, their life, their property, and their sphere should only be infringed upon when the due process of law determines they forfeited those rights through their own instances of infringing on other’s rights. 

A righteous law provides consequences for those who infringe on the rights of their neighbors. An unjust or wicked law restricts the liberties of the individual. We must take an account of our own view of government. Have we decided government is our personal attack dog in the local sphere? Do we “hire” the government to provide protection from inconvenience? Or worse yet, do we hire the government to steal funds from our neighbor to support our own pet project? Is our government the action arm of our own ideas of what constitutes an “enjoyable” community?  


The Truth 

We bungled the job. We the people scream in frustration with a tyrannical government crushing us through legislation, tyranny, and obscene theft of our own hard-earned money. But we are to blame. We practiced the same thing in our local communities and came to believe that the bigger circles of government must act accordingly. 

The HOA’s, county commissions, city councils, and school boards all became a massive popularity contest with our neighbors. People looking to get elected realized they could thread the needle between no new taxes and shiny new programs. They gave us what we wanted instead of saying “No,” like the responsible representatives they should have been. 

But I do not blame them. We made it clear to them: give us what we want, or we will not vote for you next time. So, like any sensible human being, they changed their tactics. And the ones who just wanted power were all too happy to oblige us. 

On the other hand, we suffered the immoral and wicked politicians who only chased positions to climb the ladder into the federal government. They never felt the wrath of the people for stomping on our rights. Instead, we shrugged our shoulders and patted ourselves on the back, saying “At least it wasn’t the other guy.” They walked away with the election victories because we bought into the game of Democrats vs. Republicans. 

We watched the eroding of individual rights because we were the culprits. We promised ourselves all kinds of shiny new laws, regulations, programs, and projects...through our representatives. They told us they would protect us, and we cheered. 


In Reality 

In reality, we were greedy and undisciplined. Plenty of people did not know, but too many of us did not care. Our personal desires were too important. The new park, the new school, the new regulation, or the new street development all glittered before us. We never thought about the theft of funds from our neighbors. We only thought about whether our wallet could handle the increase or whether our lifestyle could avoid the law. 

After all, who would vote for a law that crushes them? Who would vote for a tax that left them destitute? We compromised in degrees, but it burned us in the end. 

Now, the train is running full steam down the tracks, and we are frantically fumbling for the brakes.  


What Now? 

We at Self-Evident do what we do because we have hope. A new generation is rising rapidly, and we believe that they and those who follow them can begin to undo the damage. It will not happen overnight, but instilling the foundations in them WILL reap rewards for our grandchildren. 

More importantly, our faith determines whether the current state (and future state) of this world affects us or not. When fully submitted to Christ, we can find hope, faith, and love in any situation. We can carry the peace of God with us everywhere we go. We can overcome any brutality this world throws at us and know that His kingdom is not of this world. This is living a true life of liberty. When we are free in Christ, we are free indeed. 

 Not just that, but we can love our neighbor as ourselves and can protect their liberty...just as much as our own. 

Imagine that: Loving God with our whole heart, mind, body, and strength opens us up to liberty of conscience. Loving our neighbor as ourselves means protecting our neighbor’s liberty. 


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Self-Evident Ministries


Tuesday, April 23, 2024 11:09:31 AM

Brilliant Mike.  You have really hit the nail on the head.  I am truly more concerned about my neighbors than the govt because they helped make the govt what it is and continue to steal my liberty in the process.