Over at steynonline.com, Mark Steyn reminds us that this year, the most important anniversary is that of Magna Carta, on June 15, 2015. Magna Carta will be 800 years old on that day.
We in India have never been taught what it means to be a free citizen. Leftists took over our education after Independence, and since they wanted to enslave us in a socialist slave camp, they defined Independence as Independence from the British rule.
Independence in reality means that each citizen has absolute freedom to be left alone. That his freedom of expression, right to life, right to private property, and right to due process are absolute. In fact these basic freedoms are a restraint on State. They define what a state can not do to a citizen.
Mark Steyn has more to say:
“The most important anniversary this year is marked on June 15th – the day, eight centuries ago, when a king found himself in a muddy field on the River Thames near Windsor Castle with the great foundational document of modern liberty under his nose and awaiting his seal.
The world has come a long way since then, and not always for the best. A couple of years back, testifying to the House of Commons in Ottawa about Canada’s (now repealed) censorship law, I said the following:
Section 13 is at odds with this country’s entire legal inheritance, stretching back to Magna Carta. Back then, if you recall–in 1215–human rights meant that the King could be restrained by his subjects. Eight hundred years later, Canada’s pseudo-human rights apparatchiks of the commission have entirely inverted that proposition, and human rights now means that the subjects get restrained by the Crown in the cause of so-called collective rights that can be regulated only by the state.
I liked it better the old way. Real rights are like Magna Carta: restraints on state power. Too many people today understand the word “rights” to mean baubles and trinkets a gracious sovereign bestows on his subjects – “free” health care, “free” community college, “safe spaces” from anyone saying anything beastly – all of which require a massive, coercive state regulatory regime to enforce.
But, to give it its full name, Magna Carta Libertatum (my italics – I don’t think they had ’em back then) gets it the right way round. It was in some respects a happy accident. In 1215, a bunch of chippy barons were getting fed up with King John. In those days, in such circumstances, the malcontents would usually replace the sovereign with a pliable prince who’d be more attentive to their grievances. But, having no such prince to hand, the barons were forced to be more inventive, and so they wound up replacing the King with an idea, and the most important idea of all – that even the King is subject to the law.
In this 800th anniversary year, that’s a lesson worth re-learning. Restraints on state power are increasingly unfashionable among the heirs to Magna Carta: in America, King Barack decides when he wakes up of a morning what clauses of ObamaCare or US immigration law he’s willing to observe or waive according to royal whim; his heir, Queen Hillary, operates on the principle that laws are for the other 300 million Americans, not her. In the birthplace of Magna Carta, a few miles from that meadow at Runnymede, David Cameron’s constabulary leans on newsagents to cough up the names and addresses of troublesome citizens who’ve committed the crime of purchasing Charlie Hebdo.
The symbolism was almost too perfect when Mr Cameron went on TV with David Letterman, and was obliged to admit that he had no idea what the words “Magna Carta” meant. Magna Carta Libertatum: The Great Charter of Liberty. I’m happy to say Mr Cameron’s Commonwealth cousins across the Atlantic in Ottawa are more on top of things: One of the modestly heartening innovations of Stephen Harper’s ministry is that, when immigrants to Canada take the oath of citizenship, they’re now given among other things a copy of Magna Carta.” (from the column)
Read the whole column here.