The Land Of Liberty?
by Ben Kinchlow
America is unique in the annals of modern history. There has never
been a national model equivalent to the United States of America. It is not because the
natural resources in America are far more abundant than in other countries. In truth,
there are many more abundantly-endowed countries. It is not because our population is
larger; in fact, it is relatively small. It is not because America was wealthy beyond
compare - it started as 13 struggling colonies ? essentially indentured servants to the
crown of England. Yet there are few who would intelligently argue that there is a greater,
richer, more influential countriey in existence today. In a word ? America is a great
country! There is a reason for this greatness. It was best stated by Alec de Toqueville,
who said, "America is great because America is good." "But," he
continued, "if America ceases to be good, America ceases to be great."
One line in the Declaration of Independence, in my opinion, gives us
penetrating insight. "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the
governed." In other words, it is the respect for the individual that is at the heart
of this great experiment we call a "democratic form of government." (It is not a
true democracy.) It is, rather, a "republic", with a democratic form of
representation. We elect "public servants" to represent us and to do our
bidding, and the real power belongs to the governed...not the government. Let me
reiterate....there are no utopias, and while America is far from being a perfect nation,
it does offer the greatest degree of freedom to the maximum number of citizens of any form
of government presently in existence.
The basis for the American experiment, an amazingly successful
experiment in human relations, is the Bible. The men who crafted the great documents on
which this nation was founded, and which set it on the course which brought it to a
position unparalleled in human history, were men who understood that the principles of the
Bible that were designed to govern humanity. These principles were not designed to
enslave, but to provide the maximum liberty with a minimum of government interference,
while providing a framework of order that would enable people to freely engage in
"life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Not a guarantee, but the
"pursuit" of happiness. The Bible is, above all, a book of liberty. It is
unfortunate that the Bible has been misrepresented as a book of restraint on human
creativity. It is, rather, a book that recognizes the incredible potential of man for both
good and evil, and provides a framework for exercising one while restraining the other.
Understand, there have been great experiments in government prior to
the American experiment. The Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Europeans, all
experimented with giving certain classes a measure of "self determination". Only
America provided this "self determination" to the masses by giving the right to
vote, elect representatives, and in essence, design our own politic.