Core Values 

As Ben Franklin was leaving the constitutional convention one afternoon in September 1787, a young woman approached him to ask, "Well, Dr. Franklin, what have you given us?"

"A republic if you can keep it," was his reply.

We are taught from a young age that our nation is a democracy, with "rule of law" as our bedrock principle.  This is untrue.  Our nation was founded as a republic with democratic institutions.  Understanding the true foundation of our great nation is critical to restoring our fast vanishing liberty.

Our nation was born on July 4, 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Our constitution was not written and approved for another dozen years.

"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.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, 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."
         Declaration of Independence

In a republic, the form of government is of secondary importance.  What matters is that our God-given, unalienable Rights are respected by the government.  It is immaterial whether that government is a democracy, monarchy, theocracy or military dictatorship, so long as the people's Rights are observed and protected.

Our Founding Fathers judged democracy to be the most likely form of government to protect our Rights over time.  But they also understood the dangers of unconstrained majority rule.  Our nation was founded as a republic first, and a democracy second.

Democracy allows a thirty-year Drug War to be fought against its own citizens.  Democracy allows its citizens to be fired from their jobs, to have their property confiscated, and to be sent to prison for simply choosing an unpopular lifestyle.  Democracy pretends to give minorities a voice while in practice it incarcerates them in record numbers.  Democracy justifies these evils inflicted on its own citizens by citing manipulated opinion polls and falling back on the so-called "rule of law".

I consider myself a republican with a small "r".  Unfortunately this often has little to do with the current Republican Party.  It has everything to do with the Republican Party founded by Abraham Lincoln.  The following are my core principles:

  • Our Rights come from God.  Even our Founding Fathers felt the need to be politically correct and use the word "Creator" but that should not obscure the fact that our rights do not come from the constitution.  There is no such thing as constitutional rights; the phrase is an oxymoron.  If they come from the constitution then they aren't rights, but privileges granted by the good graces of the politicians.

    Our Rights are God-given, constitutionally protected.

  • Our Rights are unalienable.  This means not only that our Rights cannot be taken away, but also that they cannot be bought or sold either.  Receiving a paycheck or tax break does not mean giving up your Rights.  Employers routinely violate our Rights by mandating drug tests.  The government silences political and religious organizations by preventing them from lobbying for legislation or endorsing candidates as the price for tax-deductible donations.

    No court would tolerate either public or private employers violating our voting rights by requiring the support for a particular political party as condition of employment.  Are not our free speech and privacy rights equally important?

  • Our Rights include pursuit of happiness.  This is not some silly anarchist right to get high or do as one pleases, but a fundamental right to live any lifestyle one chooses so long as it is productive and harms no one, including the individual himself.

America prides itself on being the beacon of freedom, yet we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world higher than Iran, Cuba or China.  We are in grave danger of losing the republic bequeathed to us over 225 years ago.  Most Americans don't even know we have a republic to defend.

Legalize is dedicated to restoring our American Republic, both in the law and in the people's consciousness.

Scott Jeffrey
Legalize Founder and Executive Director
Libertarian for New York Governor, 2002

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