Two-hundred forty-three years ago, the Continental Congress voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident:… “ Our existence as a nation began that day. The best nation in the history of the world. Not always perfect, but ever striving.

As Libertarians, we agree with the founding fathers that our rights and liberties should be absolute. The only limitation on your right to swing your fist is your neighbor’s nose. Government should protect the nation from foreign invasion, prevent violence within our borders, and protect the sanctity of contract. Nothing more and nothing less.

America has acted outside our borders. The Barbary pirates had been raiding Europe for centuries in search of slaves and treasure. After independence, the pirates seized American ships and enslaved their crews. In 1797, tribute to the pirates amounted to 20% of the national budget.

The United States Navy was formed to protect American shipping. It took two wars, but our forces broke the power of the pirates forever. Tribute was no longer paid.

Our nation came with a deep stain, the “peculiar institution” of black slavery. It took a Civil War and 600,000 deaths to end this practice. Afterwards, the struggle for complete equality has been long and complicated.

On the international scene, our finest moments came during World War II and the Cold War. We saved the world, first from Adolph Hitler and his Nazis, then from international socialism. If not for our brave men and nuclear weapons, I believe that the Soviet Union would have annexed western Europe.

In closing, I would like to point out that the founding fathers saw the use of political office for personal or group gain to be the greatest risk to the new nation. “That government is best which governs least” is a near perfect phrasing of libertarian philosophy. Citizens should be allowed to do as they please without infringing on the rights of others. Private property is necessary to achieve that freedom.

Julian Mardock is a native Texan and retired physician.

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