Today is the official day to celebrate the Bill of Rights. Over at Cato, Tim Lynch looks at how the individual amendments are faring:
The Fourth Amendment says the people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. Government officials, however, insist that they can treat airline travelers like prison inmates by conducting virtual strip searches and crotch inspections.
The Fifth Amendment says that private property shall not be taken “for a public use without just compensation.” Government officials, however, insist that they can take away our property and give it to others who covet it.
And on and on it goes. It’s not all doom and gloom though. I’m reminded that writers often speak of the liberties Americans enjoy, and that word is key. We enjoy our freedoms, but not in the petty, banal sense of the word. We may enjoy a movie, but the director enjoys making it in a much different way.
So how should we enjoy our freedoms today? We could buy something gaudy or say something crude, but we don’t just enjoy the freedom to do what we want. We also have the responsibility to do what we think is right. Lord Acton said “liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought.”