The Right to Self-Authority

With every tragedy publicized in the news, the issue of gun control inevitably becomes a central part of the post-mortem discussion. Both nationally and in Rhode Island, activists continually seek arguments to justify infringement on our constitutionally guaranteed rights by increasing government control over our lives, leaving us with fewer and fewer choices to make on our own as independent members of society.

As reasonable as some gun control legislation may seem, the precedent could be disastrous in the long term. Once one class of people are limited in their rights, is it so difficult to imagine who the political class may target next?

America, indeed, was formed as an “exceptional” nation; not in the sense of being superior to other nations, but rather, in being the exception to historical norms. In order to maintain a truly free society, the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights granted unprecedented independence and self-authority to the people, empowering us with a responsibility to remain vigilant and honorable in our individual pursuits of happiness. Our founders purposely sought to limit the role of an oppressive government in our lives.

The immediate question at hand is whether we stand by our nation’s founding principles or cave in to political correctness and grant more authority to the political class.

It’s a slippery slope. Once we allow the political class to empower themselves by restricting one right, what will stop the next right from falling?

And this is not limited to Second Amendment rights, especially here in the Ocean State. Very recently, our state government diminished personal property rights and is encroaching on the sovereignty of municipalities via RhodeMap RI. Legislation has been introduced to transform HealthSource RI into the socialized planner of the entire public and private healthcare and insurance industry, which would inevitably result in healthcare rationing and infringe on our private family health decisions. The right for parents to decide what medication can be administered to their children is also being restricted via a new HPV vaccine mandate. And, some lawmakers are seeking to limit parents’ religious rights by disallowing them to claim a religious exemption against certain forms of mandated medicine.

The even larger question is whether we even maintain our right to live in a representative democracy. More and more, mandates and rules by executive tyranny and regulatory despotism, often by unelected and unaccountable bureaucratic ideologues, are driving major public policy decisions. This type of arbitrary and special interest cronyism bypasses the traditional democratic process and shuts out the voice of the voter and taxpayer.

In attempting to justify a dismissal of our rights, we must simultaneously dismiss the notion that Rhode Islanders and Americans are a responsible people. I, for one, am not ready to make that admission. I believe in the potential of each and every Rhode Islander, and each one of us must stand up for our individual rights so as to remain free to defend our families and determine our own futures.

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