Principle #5: The Interests of the Majority and the Rights of the Minority are Protected when Government Acts within its Legitimate Charter
The Interests of the Majority and the Rights of the Minority are Protected when Government Acts within its Legitimate Charter. Being that the proper role of government is to secure those natural rights to all individuals in perpetuity, a government so committed will always function to protect the Minority.
The denial of God given natural rights to minorities has been and will always be evidence that our nation has stepped outside of it's legitimate charter. The extent to which our nation has failed in this respect has been the result of slothful observance and loyalty to those principles upon which the Constitution was founded. All too often, when we see this inequity under the law, we tempted to believe that it is the Constitution that is at fault and look to add further layers of civil rights protections in law, but unfortunately this avenue has acted to complicate the inequities and degrade the principles upon which our liberties rely.
Where should we turn first to correct failures to live up to our Founding Principles? We must teach the principles so that the people will be better able to govern themselves, understanding that their own rights are connected to the rights of all men. It is imperative that in order for a free people to remain so, they must be "educated and instructed in the principles of freedom." (John Adams)
What must a free people understand about the nature of liberty? Alexander Hamilton explained the nature of liberty and the role of government which protects the rights of all, in this way:
“Natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and civil liberty is founded in that, and cannot be wrested from any people without the most manifest violation of justice. Civil liberty is only natural liberty, modified and secured by the sanctions of civil society. It is not a thing, in its own nature, precarious and dependent on human will and caprice, but it is conformable to the constitution of man, as well as necessary to the well-being of society... The safety of the whole depends upon the mutual protection of every part. If the sword of oppression be permitted to lop off one limb without opposition, reiterated strokes will soon dismember the whole body.” (“The Farmer Refuted: or, a more comprehensive and impartial View of Dispute between Great Britain and the Colonies,” by Alexander Hamilton, Feb 25, 1775)
If Americans truly understood that the preservation of their liberty required that they exert themselves in the protection of the rights of their neighbors and friends, as well as those with whom they disagree, if they understood that their liberty was in peril when they permit the minority to be trampled on, they would defend the rights of all men as passionately as they defend their own interests.
Thomas Jefferson described what Alexander Hamilton prescribed, an education in the principles of freedom, this way:
"The objects of this primary education are to give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether private or public, in them should be taught reading, writing and numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration...and the outlines of geography and history.” ~ Thomas Jefferson (August 4, 1818)
It is not difficult to see that education today does not have as its purpose these pillars of human liberty and freedom, and this should be of paramount concern to Americans in our times, for as Abraham Lincoln said, “the philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Therefore, the study of principles of freedom and the acquiring of a clear understanding of the principles upon which the liberties of all men rest, is the only true hedge against the tyranny of the majority and the preservation of natural God given rights.