America Should Be Shining the Light of Liberty, Not Government

The Biden administration is hosting, in upcoming days, a “Summit for Democracy,” in which 110 nations worldwide have been invited to participate in this global virtual event.

The U.S. State Department notes that the purpose is “setting forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies through collective action.”

The Biden administration lists on the White House website as among its priorities “Restoring America’s Global Standing.”

This summit will achieve exactly the opposite.

The world will see that the leaders of America don’t know much about their country. And then want to impose their fractured understanding of America’s mission on the rest of the world.

The State Department brings the phrase from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, “to form a more perfect union,” in noting the aims of the summit.

The nations of the world, however, are not part a union like our states that are bound by a Constitution.

They are distinct nations, each marching to their own drummer, trying together to survive and hopefully thrive on one planet.

The State Department could have picked a much more relevant phrase from the Constitution’s preamble, to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

Liberty is the key. It is no accident that the Biden Administration focuses on democracy, not liberty.

To appreciate the basic difference, we can turn to our Declaration of Independence that says that, among our God-given inalienable rights, are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Then, continues the Declaration, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”

The principles of liberty are the foundation of our great nation. Men form government to defend their liberty, not to bestow or deny it.

Liberals love to control. They don’t love liberty. They want government to impose their values and worldview on citizens.

The State Department states that the themes of the summit are “1) defending against authoritarianism, 2) fighting corruption and 3) promoting respect for human rights.”

If authoritarianism is the government imposing itself on people, what else can you call it when government takes control of an increasing amount of our economic activity.

In 2000, the U.S. government consumed, per the Cato Institute, 17.7% of our gross domestic product—our national economy. This number jumped to 32% in 2020.

With the passage by Democrats of additional trillions, the percentage of our economic lives being controlled by government will increase by several percent. Americans are now handing over nearly half of their economic sovereignty to the government due to increased spending by state and local governments.

The fact that these large-scale government programs are being implemented by politicians elected democratically is a sign that Americans have chosen authoritarianism and are willing to give up their liberty.

The Wall Street Journal notes, for example, that the Build Back Better Act just passed in the House contains $555 billion in “grants, credits and deductions” for green energy projects.

In order to qualify for these funds, firms must pay “prevailing wages.” Meaning union wages. Nonunion and small contractors are not eligible.

Of course, the reason that this can even happen in a nation founded on the principles of human liberty is because, over many years, our courts and unelected judges have undermined and changed understanding of our Constitution that was originally written “to secure the blessings of liberty.”

The government is everywhere. Employers are given information about who they can employ and how they must talk and relate to their employees.

No, I am sorry, Mr. Biden. America should be encouraging liberty and not government. All the world will see our confusion and duplicity.


The Daily Signal is open to all perspectives. This article is not meant to represent the views of The Heritage Foundation. 

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