Guest Piece from Kelly Warren Moore
“Which member of your family are you ok to lose?”
“Are you more worried about the economy or my health?”
“Don’t be so selfish. This virus is going to kill millions. What’s another couple of months of lockdown?”
The saddest and most frustrating thing to me during this disaster – I’m done calling it a crisis, it’s a multi-headed hydra of a disaster – has been how easily we seem to have been perfectly willing to forget our basic freedoms and rights granted to us by God and etched in our national DNA by the Constitution.
I decided to do a little reading about this. Look, I love history. I especially love American History. One could even say I’m a bit of a geek about it. I’m an unabashedly proud American. (False Choice debunking #1: You can be an unabashedly proud American and still be an intellectually curious and enormously appreciative student of the world and all its cultures.) But, let’s face it. Sometimes you start to forget the details of things you learned long ago if you don’t revisit them from time to time.
“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.” (Emphasis mine.)
So, here are our unalienable rights, given to us by God. Our government was designed, above all else, to protect and defend those rights of its citizens. It’s the “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” part that is straining at the seams now for me. Not because of the leaders and representatives we’ve elected – if we don’t like what’s going on, there are plenty of levers to pull for change for those folks. This disaster has shown a bright light for me on how much of our government complex actually just continues to do whatever the hell it wants, unabated and unbridled by anything or anyone, accountable to no one. Emboldened by a seemingly willing and complicit or ignorant press. “Consent of the governed” indeed. How do you recall people, or even in fact, entire institutions, that were never elected in the first place? Maybe we owe it to ourselves in this time of quarantine and social distancing, to take this weekend and get back to basics.
We all know the names of our founders: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, et al. But how many of us remember the names John Locke and William Blackstone? There is enough to write entire blogs about both of these gentlemen. But, to break it down, the writings of these two are among the most influential to those who shaped the foundations of the American government.
Locke is a tremendously interesting study. Just look him up! The guy has influenced everything from psychology, religious theory, property rights, to monetary theory…and he was a physician, too! He’s definitely worth revisiting and there are tons of books and articles about him online. Many of his beliefs, which seemed radical in his time, like the necessity of the absolute separation of church and state and the right to acquire property and wealth as a result of labor, are cornerstones of our founding documents. As with any radical thinker, there are controversies with some of his thinking and writing, which definitely evolved over time. In light of our situation today, I was drawn to this quote:
What worries you, masters you.
Well, isn’t that the truth?
That is all.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.