The Foundation Of Freedom
A critical date in human history; the day when a deal was sealed that ensured even kings were subject to the rule of law.
Signed 800 years ago, the catalyst for Magna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for “the Great Charter of the Liberties”), was the tyrannical rule of King John and, in particular, his imposition of arbitrary taxes upon the barons. The sealing of Magna Carta on June 15, 1215, in Runnymede, England marked the first time the idea that citizens should not be subjected to the capricious rule of a despotic monarch but instead be governed via an accepted process of law that had a legal foundation.
It demanded the appreciation and protection of individual rights and liberties, and the ultimate ability of all citizens to be able to conduct themselves freely in a system guided by law and legal principle.
The charter remains an essential foundation for contemporary legal principles such as habeas corpus, and influenced the formation of the US Constitution in 1789, which became the supreme law of the land in America.
But what has become of “real liberties” in America, when President Barack Obama makes up the rules as he goes, utilizing executive orders to circumvent the law of the land? Or when our elected leaders use the power of the government to arbitrarily harass individuals and groups with whom they are at odds, such as with the IRS targeting of conservatives? And let’s not overlook politicians who are not held accountable for myriad scandals and crimes, as in the case of the Clintons, who continue to get away with nefarious activities, which in other times, might actually be called treasonous.
Too many people today think “rights” equate to entitlements. They have rights to free healthcare, food, housing, cell phones, even rights to not be offended. Few stop to think that all of these so-called rights require a massive, nanny state to coerce half of the populace to pay for all of the free stuff, thus limiting the rights of the coerced to pursue their own life, liberty, and happiness on their own terms, without onerous government intrusion.
On the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, that’s something to ponder. (June 15th, 1215, imagine!) (It should also be pondered and taken into stride right now. Not just on it's Birthday!)
As John Robson wrote:
All the rights we cherish, from due process of law to elected representatives, trace back to it. It has been assailed time and again and always defended. It’s why we have rights today. But that story needs to be told again and again or it will be lost and with it our freedom.
Security of the person, property rights, religious freedom, due process; these are the principles sealed by the Magna Carta and the foundation of the documents which govern our lives.