Almost 250 years ago, Americans declared their independence from colonial power Great Britain and their determination to create a nation dedicated to freedom. This United States is actually one of the longest-existing democracies, longer even than the nation whose control they sought to sever. We have a model for many nations since that day, including for many countries far older than our own. What was so compelling about the ideas articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? At its core was the notion of the primacy of the individual. We are all foremost individuals, and none of us have a desire to be controlled by other individuals, whether acting personally or in some official capacity. We want to be able to make decisions about our economic, political, social and personal lives, unimpeded by arbitrary rules set by others. That was the essence of the Declaration of Independence, that we each have an inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That is the compelling idea, one which continues to be both admired and desired by almost all of the world’s citizens and detested by those determined to gain and exercise power to control others’ lives. There is much further we can go in pursuit of these ideas and ideals. It is inexcusable that we have not moved more in to direct democracy, in which citizens make a wide range of decisions, rather than empowering others, who usually become corrupted, to act in a representative fashion on their behalf. We have allowed government to become a stifling burden, one which sucks our personal wealth and lessens our freedom. We need to rededicate ourselves to individual freedom, limited only by those rules agreed by the majority of citizens as necessary to protect limited public safety and public good objectives.