Leading Toward Liberty

By Aaron Rice
January 1, 2013

Do you believe government is trying to do too much?

We do. Government at all levels has taken on responsibilities that should be left to individuals, families, churches, and communities. People look to government to be their savior - to provide for their needs, to bail them out of bad decisions, and to impose their own agenda on other people through the force of law.

What can be done?

First, our leaders - and those who want to be - need to be reminded (or taught) that the office they hold or seek does not exist for them; it is a position of trust, which they are to occupy for a time in order to preserve and strengthen the foundation of liberty.

Second, our leaders need to know how to exercise that trust, including how to apply the right principles to their own ideas and to those that are presented to them. They need to know they will be supported if they exercise their obligation responsibly - and held accountable if they do not.

Third, our citizens need to be involved in governing, not only by voting, but by making their elected officials aware of their views on important issues. To exercise that responsibility, citizens need sufficient information to make proper evaluations of their elected officials and of the policies those officials are considering.

Returning Mississippi government to its proper role -

to guard the liberty of its people.

Now is the Time

This year in Mississippi, all 174 legislative seats, eight statewide offices, and numerous regional and local offices will be on the ballot.

Now is the time to shape the way our leaders and potential leaders think about the role of government and the way they apply the principles of liberty to the decisions they make.

Election campaigns also provide the opportunity to help voters understand the important role they, as citizens, must play in helping - or forcing - candidates to focus on the right principles and the right issues. If voters are not involved at this stage, they are even less likely to hold their officials accountable between elections.

With the public's heightened awareness of government intrusion into every aspect of our lives, now is the time to engage the public in restoring government to the limited scope our nation's Founders intended - and that liberty demands.

Leading Toward Liberty

Mississippi Center for Public Policy's Leading Toward Liberty campaign is designed to return our state government to its proper role - to guard the liberty of its people.

As the campaign's title suggests, MCPP will be equipping our leaders to lead with the proper destination in mind: liberty. The title also acknowledges the reality that

Leading Toward Liberty will not provide an all-encompassing plan for the ideal
government; it will provide a path toward that goal.

To accomplish this goal, we will:

  1. Make sure candidates know the right principles of governing and how to apply them.
  2. Hold elected officials accountable for their faithfulness to the principles.
  3. Engage the public in accomplishing both of these.

We will not endorse candidates (as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, we can't do that), but we will endorse ideas - specific ideas on which candidates can campaign that will apply the principles to our state government.

Perhaps just at importantly, Leading Toward Liberty will drive home the importance of using the principles to evaluate all policy ideas, not just our own.

In our Leading Toward Liberty campaign, we are providing:

  • a copy of Governing by Principle to all candidates for legislative and statewide office. Governing by Principle is MCPP's 45-page booklet which describes, in conversational language, ten foundational principles to guide public policy.
  • a training session for potential or already-announced candidates, offering the right motivation for holding office, the right principles by which to govern, the right policy ideas to apply those principles, and the right way to run a campaign.
  • specific policy ideas to implement the principles.
  • a clear connection between our ideas and the principle(s) on which each idea is based, serving as a constant reminder of the importance of evaluating all policy ideas by the principles of proper governing.
  • the same information to the public which we provide to candidates, encouraging the public to ask their candidates where they stand on these principles and ideas.
  • a policy seminar in November for the winners, where we will reiterate the principles, have national experts discuss key ideas, and provide a "conservative playbook" to use for the next four years.
  • legislative assistance (bill drafting, strategic advice, talking points, etc.) for these ideas, and public support and/or pressure, as needed, to ensure the passage of legislation to implement the ideas.
  • multiple ways for voters to see whether their legislators' votes are consistent with their campaign promises.

Governing Principles

  1. Government exists to protect rights, not to create them.
  2. The legitimate power of government begins and ends with the people, while its authority comes from the Creator.
  3. Just because a problem exists doesn't mean government should try to solve it.
  4. Long-term and cumulative consequences should be considered more carefully than short-term benefits.
  5. Government has nothing to give anyone except what it takes from someone else.
  6. Individuals are ultimately responsible for governing themselves and for the consequences of their decisions.
  7. Free enterprise, not government, is the engine of personal economic prosperity.
  8. The free market should not be distorted by government-designed dictates or advantages.
  9. Government has a responsibility to protect the foundational institution of society: the marriage based, two-parent family.
  10. Parents, not government, are responsible for the education and upbringing of their children.

How You Can Help

  • Become familiar with the principles found in Governing by Principle.

  • Talk about these principles with your family, friends, and associates.
  • Encourage principled people to run for office - and support them.
  • Ask candidates the hard questions about where they stand.
  • Hold public officials accountable between elections.
  • Make a tax deductible contribution to MCPP.


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