Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day – popularly known as the 4th of July – has special meaning for us here at The Heartland Institute. Our mission is to solve social and economic problems by increasing individual freedom. Our vision is the same one that motivated the Founding Fathers on that fateful day of July 4, 1776.

Amid the fireworks, parades, and picnics with family members and friends, the values we are celebrating can sometimes get lost. I hope you will remind those around you that we are celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a truly revolutionary document that changed the course of human history.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

These are the Declaration of Independence’s opening words. They declare war on slavery and tyranny and proclaim a moral foundation for the assertion of freedom and limited government.

Governments, the Founders wrote, derive “their just powers from the consent of the people,” and when a government becomes destructive of the people’s rights and liberties, “it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Government seems to be encroaching on more and more of our lives with each passing day. Our job – and yours – is to persuade our friends and neighbors that this great nation was built on opposition to big government. As Friedrich Hayek once wrote, “We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage.”

Have a great holiday!

Joseph Bast
The Heartland Institute