The Henry Dearborn Liberty Network, (HDLN) does not have a strict set of detailed ideological or policy positions that all of its members must believe, but it does hold fast to a set of important principles that HDLN’s leaders have determined are essential for the advancement of human rights.
First, HDLN’s mission is to promote human rights in all aspects of life, including individual liberty. This doesn’t mean HDLN supports anarchy, of course. Government has an important role to play in ensuring all people’s rights are protected. For example, good government should maintain a fair judicial system, employ impartial law enforcement officers, guarantee free speech, limit corruption, and ensure that public institutions are not imposing racist or sexist policies.
Second, HDLN is a strong defender of religious freedom. Government shouldn’t involve itself in the affairs of churches, regardless of the religion, but this doesn’t mean government should ban religious expression in public arenas, either. All people have a right to worship God (or not to worship God) in whatever way they choose, so long as they don’t violate the rights of others in the process.
Third, HDLN believes that freedom without a virtuous society inevitably leads to tyranny. A free people must always strive to be a “good” people, and although “good” may not be easy to define, it is essential people continue exploring morality and absolute truths about “good” and “evil”—both because it is a core part of the human experience and also because liberty cannot survive in the long run in a nation that is not virtuous. At HDI, we hold to the belief that Judeo-Christian principles of morality are true, and thus a truly virtuous society will embrace them.
Fourth, HDLN supports, whenever possible, free, uncorrupted markets. There are two reasons we take this position: (1) free markets have been repeatedly shown to produce healthier, happier, safer, and more prosperous societies than those that are governed by bureaucrats, despots, kings, or other forms of tyranny; (2) when government consistently inserts itself into markets, the result inevitably ends up being corruption and suffering. However, in cases where government is already heavily involved in a market, HDLN believes it is vital that regulations protect the rights of individuals above all others.
Fifth, although HDLN takes the position that U.S. foreign policy should be restrained — that is, the U.S. government should only interfere in foreign wars and other entanglements when absolutely necessary — HDLN’s leaders believe that all virtuous people should, whenever possible, seek to responsibly serve others, irrespective of national borders. This is why we take the view that Americans should prioritize charitable aid to refugees, support efforts to end sex trafficking and child slavery, and demand that the U.S. economy limit its engagement with tyrannical regimes around the world.
With these principles firmly established, as it is often said in many churches throughout the world, HDLN embraces the following motto — “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Washington Crossing the Delaware River. Painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. Provided by Metropolitan Museum of Art. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.