- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
HURT: Let us all give thanks for George Mason and the Bill of Rights
George Mason’s home, Gunston Hall, just down the river from Mount Vernon, is closed on Thanksgiving Day but reopens to visitors the day after. In this season when Americans reflect upon all that we are grateful for, these stately and hallowed grounds are a good place to start.
Commonly referred to as the “forgotten founder,” George Mason IV had a fair amount of contempt for politics. Especially politicians. It was a dirty, grubby affair that attracted mostly dirty, grubby people.
In other words, Mason was clairvoyant.
He would certainly recognize today’s crop of sleazy hucksters peddling free lunch, free money and free health care. And when the whole fraudulent scheme collapses of its own weight, the hucksters blame it on the people who warned it would collapse.
Mason authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Deemed “the first and greatest charter of human liberty ever penned by man,” Mason’s list of rights inspired Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.
Mason later served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and helped craft that document. But he ultimately refused to sign it because, among other flaws, it lacked a bill of rights. Obviously, not a man who craved fame or political fortune.
He returned to Gunston Hall defeated and disgusted. He took solace by engaging in what he knew to be the highest calling of a man in a democracy: private citizen. He was a farmer, a trader, an investor, a businessman, a father and a husband.
To Mason, that was the well-spring of power in a society. Not government.
“He declared that in a Republic the citizen is himself the State,” wrote a proud descendant decades later.
“He preferred to remain that ‘Lord of Creation,’ the American Citizen, whose dignity and honor are above all Principalities and Powers. The American Citizen is the Republic itself, and the tribunal of his authority is set above the Throne of Kings.”
As Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson would say, George Mason was his own 911.
To Mason, government was never a sure thing. Free people begrudgingly allowed it to exist in a most limited form to serve a severely limited purpose. And if that government got out of line, free people would simply dispatch it and start over again. Or do without.
Looking around Washington today and trying to pick between the all-seeing, all-groping, insatiably power-hungry big government Democrats and the all-seeing, all-groping, insatiably power-hungry big government Republicans, scrapping it all and starting over is not such a bad idea.
Years after George Mason returned to Gunston Hall from Philadelphia and after the Constitution was ratified, his continued calls for a bill of rights finally took hold. Using Mason’s Virginia declarations as a blueprint, James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Malaysia Airlines says plane on route to Beijing missing
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again