From its beginning to today, American history is filled with debate over “RIGHTS” and the SIZE and ROLE of government.

“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be TRUSTED with the government of HIMSELF. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of OTHERS?”  – Thomas Jefferson


1)The Founding Fathers were wise in their concepts of individual “natural rights” and “self government” that protected and challenged the “tyranny” of state,  government and group conformity that dominated individuals throughout history.

The American Revolution was/is radical and “revolutionary”.  Power corrupts. People need to be protected from other people’s or the state’s tendency to violate their “rights”.  The Founders were wise to establish “limited” government, one with enough “limited” power to govern for the people, not over them.

“It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers … the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.  Says what the states can’t do to you. … but doesn’t say what the federal … or state government MUST DO on your behalf. … It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers.”  – Barack Obama

2)Citizen Obama was correct in criticizing the “limiting” and “negative” aspect of the Constitution, which did not define the “positive” role government could play “on behalf” of citizens, helping them achieve “happiness”.

”There is great danger that our people will LOSE OUR INDEPENDENCE  of thought and action which is the CAUSE of much of OUR GREATNESS, …” Mark Twain;  “Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread. – Thomas Jefferson

3)Government needs to PROTECT an INDIVIDUAL’s right to “PURSUE” happiness, NOT PROVIDE happiness. “Happiness” is an INDIVIDUAL’s responsibility.

Our government should provide “OPPORTUNITY”, NOT guarantee “OUTCOMES”  of success.  We all should START the same, but where people FINISH is based on individual merit.  There is a reason the Founders did not explain the “positive” role of government. Individuals would produce their own “happiness”, not an incompetent and potentially “tyrannical” state.

FREEDOM that allows “EXCEPTIONALITY” is what made America “GREAT”.

“Children who know how to think for themselves SPOIL the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent.” –  John Dewey, educator and father of American “Kindergarten”;  “Our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in America’s story” -former V.P. Al Gore;  “You have a DEBT to all those who helped you get to where you are today, …. you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.” Barack Obama“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” – JFK

___ 4)”Collective salvation” and group “EQUALITY” should take precedence over individual FREEDOM.  “Selfish” and “greedy” individuals “owe” a debt to society and are a hindrance to “collective salvation”. Government is needed to help “small” individuals reach their “potential” and make our society “great”. Ultimately, we have to save each other. Individuals “owe” society.

EQUALITY  that produces the GREATEST GOOD for greatest AMOUNT of people ensures “PROGRESS”.  IN-equalites are the BIGGEST THREAT to our society, which require “LEVEL-ing” to “fix” the fix the social evils of exploitation and  oppression of the “have nots” versus the “haves”.

“The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits” ; “Government big enough to GIVE people EVERYTHING they want can also TAKE AWAY ANYTHING they have.”; “I predict happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Jefferson “In this current crisis, GOVERNMENT is the PROBLEM, NOT the SOLUTION”. – Ronald Reagan

___5)Government needs to be “NEUTRAL” regarding individual “pursuit of happiness”. America is about SELF-GOVERNMENTovernment and INDEPENDENCE, not “dependence” on others or the state.

Government with no “checks” and “unlimited” power and control invites a tyrannical “nanny state” that “plays God”.

“Compassion” and “justice” are used by government to increase its own POWER and then “bait and switch”, pretending to bring “progress” but delivering more problems, not “solutions”, at the price of individual freedom.

“If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement… I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. Barack Obama
Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand. “ – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson (1913-21)

___ 6) ”Civil Rights” do not go far enough. They should include such things as health care and “quality of life” for its citizens . The state should have the power to actively provide social and economic welfare in the name of “social justice”.

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%. – Thomas Jefferson;  “The mania for giving the Government power to meddle with the private affairs of cities or citizens is likely to cause endless trouble, through the rivalry of schools and creeds that are anxious to obtain official recognition” – Mark Twain

___7)TAKING money from one citizen and GIVING it to another in the form of  government “welfare” is wrong.


“Sharing” becomes “stealing”.   (e.g Should one citizen pay for a public health clinic that provides condoms and abortions for others?)  Forced Government “redistribution of wealth” in the name of “social justice” is robbery, pitting “haves” vs. “have-nots”, majority vs. minority. Democratic “mob-ocracy” violates an individual’s inalienable, natural rights and freedoms held by each citizen in a constitutional “republic”.

“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”  – Thomas Jefferson
___8)Health care and other social welfare promised by the state, paid for by other taxpayers, are not “sacred” and/or guaranteed “civil rights”.


Government is designed to “PROTECT” individual rights, NOT PROVIDE all the people’s collective needs for the “greatest good”.

A “NANNY STATE” that “plays favorites” is a MOCKERY and GROSS VIOLATION of “civil rights”.


WRITING PROMPT: Write 50 word response to any of the above statements. EXPLAIN WHY you agree or disagree.