The U.S. Has Strayed Far From Its Founding Ideals
Declaring their independence from British rule 245 years ago, the American colonists held “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.” They went on to announce, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
During the recent holiday, I reflected on how we’ve strayed from the ideals expressed so eloquently by Thomas Jefferson. You don’t have to be a Reagan Republican to see how governments at the state, local, and federal levels can obstruct our pursuit of happiness and at times even jeopardize our safety.
Consider the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the virus’s perils, governments abused their authority through lockdown policies and onerous outdoor mask mandates. Many schools remained closed despite data that revealed safe ways to bring the kids back. And when schools did reopen, the priority wasn’t education but, instead, hygiene theater.
At the federal level, the pandemic response was plagued by incompetence, including the two main public health agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Talking to Reason, George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok noted that the agencies’ response to the p
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