Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Right Government Declaration
Certain Unalienable Rights
We believe this nation is uniquely dedicated to the universal principles of human liberty: that all are fundamentally equal and equally endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Americans are necessarily equal and self-governing citizens, and the U.S. government is established to secure those fundamental rights. With a government of limited ends, we have the liberty and opportunity to live our lives, control our fates, and pursue our own happiness.
We believe in the right to the rewards of our own labor—the promise that we Americans can keep what we earn and that what we save and acquire is our personal property. Private property allows a dynamic society in which every member can work hard, pursue opportunity, and advance in life based on individual talent and ability. In this America, earned success corresponds to merit and industriousness rather than to aristocratic privilege and inheritance.
We believe that the primary obligations of the federal government in regard to the economy are to secure equally the rights of the individual, destroy barriers to opportunity, and uphold the rule of law. Because economic reward will be available to all, there exists great incentive to earn more, save more, and invest in more opportunities for the future. This means more enterprise and more economic activity. Rather than acting as the guarantor of economic outcomes, government should be the sturdy framework for opportunity, economic growth, and human flourishing. It should remove unfair obstacles to economic markets, break down the artificial government structures that prevent competition, and otherwise keep tax rates low, reduce government spending, and prevent the over-regulation of private enterprise.
We believe it is the constitutional duty of the federal government to secure the country’s international borders, preserve and protect its territorial integrity, and strengthen and preserve its constitutional government. This promotes the long-term prosperity and well-being of the American people. This means that the United States must be able, willing, and prepared at all times to defend itself, its people, and its institutions from conventional and unconventional threats to its vital interests, both at home and abroad. But liberty does not belong only to this country. The United States must also continue to recognize its special responsibility to support the cause of liberty in the world.
We understand and support the unique and important role of religious freedom as the cornerstone of our constitutional freedoms. The ability to freely worship and to act in accordance with a particular faith without fear of government reprisal is essential to civil society. Religious freedom protects our ability to live according to our deepest beliefs. It means we don’t have to hide who we are and what we stand for. It’s a freedom recognized as essential by the Founding Fathers and defended by policymakers, citizens, and religious leaders alike.
However, over-reaching government dictates and a growing disregard for the role of faith in public life have led to increasing erosions of religious liberty. Together we stand in defiance of any edict that compels our institutions to participate in any act that impedes our ability to freely worship or to act in accordance with a particular faith without fear of government reprisal.
We emphatically reject today’s welfare and regulatory state. “We the people” demand less of our federal government rather than more. We commit ourselves as a nation to the principles and policies of a limited federal government and to the recovery of our Founders’ vision of a government that secures our rights. We insist that for government to play its proper role, it must be properly limited in its role.
Although government must perform its proper responsibilities effectively and energetically through the three distinct branches of federal government and through all 50 states and thousands of counties and local municipalities, we demand that the government recognize the clear constitutional limits to its powers.
This declaration is published online by The Heritage Foundation. To sign this declaration, click here.