The nation's fundamental freedoms are coming under attack more every day, especially with the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and while Democrats are taking steps to "make us less free," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said during his speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.
"They do it by eroding the same protections in the Bill of Rights that make us free," Lee said, noting that the Constitution protects freedom through structural protections and through the Bill of Rights.
"Almost immediately after they ratified the Constitution, they added this series of 10 amendments," he said. "The first 10 is a separate list of 'thou shalt nots' to the government, things that the government simply cannot do, with the express purpose of safeguarding liberty. "
The founding fathers knew that "bad things happen when too much power is allowed to accumulate in the hands of a few," said Lee.
"This is part of how British tyranny became so bad in the first place," he said. "People put an almost religious amount of zeal and support and yes faith in the crown and therefore in government. That's not where it belongs. We know better as conservatives."
Lee added that when there is power with no controls, that leads to restrictions on speech and other violations of the rights that are constitutionally guaranteed.
"It's worth noting that the protections in the Bill of Rights are listed independently, separately, because each enumerated right is significant and should stand independent on its own and always be honored," said Lee. "But we also can't overlook the fact that each of these protections also can work in concert together to protect liberty."
The government has grown during the coronavirus pandemic, and the nation is suffering the consequences, but people are fighting back, said Lee, pointing to California, where people are calling to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom over statewide closures.
"The beauty of our country, of our history and of the design of our system of government, that's the power of ordinary citizens standing together," said Lee. "When one person realizes that he is not alone in his beliefs and finds another and then another, and then a few more. That's how we end up with gatherings like this one where the magic happens."
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