We learned in the previous article that we have a Republican form of Government, a government ruled by law. The basis of our Government is held in the words found in the Declaration of Independence.
“… 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 …”
And, this forms the basis of my political beliefs! From these words, I have developed the “Three P’s of Government” which define the proper role of government.
Three P’s of Government
Protect Life – The government must protect the citizens it represents.
Preserve Liberty – The government must preserve the freedoms of it’s citizens.
Permit the Pursuit of Happiness – The government must allow it’s citizens to pursue happiness.
I apply each of these to a government action to determine whether the action is appropriate or not. If the action is in opposition to any of them, then the action is inappropriate. In most cases, an action will apply to at least two of these.
For example, let’s take the issue of banning fireworks, something that is very common in Southern California.
Protect Life – Banning fireworks does protect life and property. This very reason is why the bans were proposed.
Preserve Liberty – Banning fireworks takes away a freedom. Law-abiding citizens are no longer free to use fireworks if they so choose.
Permit the Pursuit of Happiness – Banning fireworks does not really apply here. One could stretch it and say that the ban prevents them from “being happy”, but that is not what is meant by “pursuit of happiness”.
So, “banning fireworks” is not appropriate because it takes away a freedom from it’s citizens even though it may protect lives and property.
Now, this seems pretty simplistic and limits the role of government. And, that is exactly the point. The role of government in our daily lives must be limited and, applying the “Three P’s of Government” consistently, we can achieve that.