In a nation that appears to be doing everything possible to expunge the remnants of its Christian foundation and heritage, it is no wonder that John Calvin has been forgotten as the virtual founder of our nation. John Adams, America’s second President; Leopold von Ranke, a nineteenth century leading German historian; and George Bancroft, a Harvard educated historian known as the “father of American history”, all testified to the significant influence Calvin had upon the foundation of America.
Unlike Locke or Montesquieu, however, Calvin did not write a political treatise on how to organize civil government. Instead, he wrote Biblical expositions that completely changed how people in western culture thought about their relation to God and, subsequently, how they thought about their relation to their civil government.
Most all major news outlets in America, if they even cover it, have couched the disturbance between the Bureau of Land Management and Cliven Bundy as one based on the Bundy Ranch refusing to pay for grazing rights on Federal property. Yet, a similar incident between the U.S. Forest Service and Kit Laney in New Mexico, in which the Forest Service claims part of the Laney Ranch is on Federal property, has the same basic principle at stake and it has nothing to do with grazing rights or boundary disputes. Those issues are moot points if we answer a more basic question; what legal authority and for what purpose does the Federal Government have to “own” property in the United States?
As Woody Guthrie’s ballad proclaims and in spite of his Communist beliefs, the idea that public property is your land and is my land, is more in line with the original intent of the Constitution when understood in the context as being between the Federal government and citizens of the United States. In other words, public land belongs to the people, not the government and the national government’s authority over it is limited by the US Constitution.
America was once the freest nation in the history of the world and set the standard for others countries to follow. It has since lost much of the freedom for which the founding cultures sacrificed their lives, fortunes and sacred honor and now America can no longer make this claim.
Evidence of this decline is objectively displayed in the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, available at http://www.heritage.org/index/, in which America is ranked tenth behind Denmark out of 177 ranked countries. The index measures ten benchmarks of economic freedom that it defines as the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property.
The four cultural migrations out of England that established America and left their indelible cultural stamp upon it were as diverse in their ideas about freedom, liberty and social governance as any four groups of Christians could be. In spite of these differences, the descendants or the actual immigrants of the four migrations unified behind Reformed theological ideas to win independence and establish a workable national government that allowed them to preserve their individual ideas about liberty.