Students all over the country are graduating from college this month. Two commencement addresses at these graduations are worth noting because they illustrate the two major but very different visions for our country: first is the constitutional vision of limited government, and second is the statist vision that looks to government to solve problems.
Senator Ted Cruz presented the constitutional vision at Hillsdale College last Saturday. Cruz began by noting that most people in history have had very little freedom because they have lived under monarchies. The Founders broke that tradition. They declared independence from England and wrote a Constitution that enshrined the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights, the Founders argued, came from God, not government. Government was instituted to protect those natural rights that God has given every human being.
Cruz argued that the story of America is the story of liberty and prosperity that have flourished under the constitutional protection of limited government. The free market is, Cruz said, that “engine of prosperity.” He noted that the U.S. has 4.5% of the world’s population but produces 22% of the world’s output. And the American influence is even greater in entertainment, science, and the internet.