I honestly think that most people do not understand the concept of pure and absolute freedom; or liberty if you will. A quick search of the web finds the following definition for liberty: the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. Using that as your definition, can you honestly say that you enjoy true liberty right here and now in the US of A?
Can you strap on a sidearm and walk outside your home without fear of being hassled by law enforcement? Can you build an addition onto your home without obtaining a permit, and then having every step of your progress inspected and monitored by some government flunky? Can you hunt or fish to provide sustenance for your family without first obtaining a license to do so? Can you openly speak your mind without someone telling you that what you are saying is hurtful or offensive?
Tell me again how much freedom you enjoy; I’d really like to hear how you justify your position.
When I speak of rights, most people assume I’m talking about the biggies; freedom of speech and religion; freedom to enter my home and be safe and secure against unreasonable searches and seizures; and the right to keep and bear arms. But people seem to have forgotten the 9th Amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Do you believe that you have the right to eat, to sleep, and to go out and work? If so, then why are not those rights also protected by constitutional amendment like the more commonly known rights are? Well, you see, they are…by the 9th Amendment; the catch all amendment that covers all the other rights which were not specifically mentioned by the previous 8 amendments.
The thing about rights is that they require no permission to exercise, and they cannot be abridged or restricted because others find the exercise of them offensive. My rights end where your rights begin; not where your feelings begin, or where your need is.
You cannot tell me that I must donate a portion of my pay to fund your existence; and if you cannot do that, then government has no right to enact a law which says I must either. You cannot tell that I cannot say this or that simply because you find the things I say offensive. You cannot deny me the right to arm myself for my own personal protection simply because you have been conditioned to fear guns.
All of our civil rights, as people have taken to calling them, are derived from Natural Rights. In his treatise The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine states it thusly, “We have now to consider the civil rights of man, and to show how the one originates from the other. Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights.”
Our Founding Fathers understood their rights far better than the average American does today; and they were willing to defend them against any and all attacks. That is primarily because our children aren’t taught about them in school, but it can also be attributed to how much more we value comfort and security over freedom and liberty. If we do not value our rights, we are more likely to see them taken from us.
Samuel Adams once said, “Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First. a Right to Life; Secondly to Liberty; thirdly to Property; together with the Right to support and defend them in the best manner they can–Those are evident Branches of, rather than deductions from the Duty of Self Preservation, commonly called the first Law of Nature.”
So you see, not only do we have the rights of Life, Liberty and Property, we also have the right to DEFEND those rights in the best manner we can. And, if I might be so bold to ask, how can you defend something if you are unarmed; or if those seeking to deprive you of your rights are better armed?
If liberty is the ability to fully exercise your rights; including the complete control over how you wish to spend the fruits of your labor, [your income], then what would you call the state we find ourselves in where almost every aspect of our lives is taxed and regulated? I sometimes think that if government could find a way to measure the oxygen consumption of people, they’d come up with a tax upon it and create an entire bureaucracy to regulate it.
How familiar are you with the events which led our Founders to declare their independence from England? You probably have heard of the Boston Tea Party in response to the tax imposed upon tea, and you may have heard about the Stamp Act which imposed a tax upon all printed material; but have you ever heard of the Declaratory Act? The Declaratory Act was an act of Parliament to save face. Boycotts over the Stamp Act had hurt British trade with the Colonies, and in an effort to save face the taxes imposed by both the Stamp and Sugar Acts were lessened, while at the same time Parliament affirmed that it, “…had hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America … in all cases whatsoever.”
To bind them in all cases whatsoever seems to me like Parliament was telling the Colonists that they enjoyed only those rights Parliament felt like bestowing upon them. If you ask me that sounds a whole lot like bondage and servitude; not liberty and freedom. In The American Crisis, Thomas Paine writes about it as follows, “Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared, that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,” and if being bound in that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.”
Are people today that blind, that obtuse, that they cannot see that the America we live in is just as oppressive? Can they not see that we are taxed to the point where it has become theft? Can they not see that our government has sought to bind us in all cases whatsoever; from the height of a cyclone fence in our yards to how much water our toilets can use when we flush them? There is hardly a thing we can do that is not somehow regulated by our government; and as Paine said, if that isn’t slavery, then there is not such a thing as slavery upon earth.
This system of government we suffer under today is NOT what our Founders fought to secure for us in 1776. Mather Byles, the prominent Boston clergyman who opposed the war for independence, once said, “Which is better – to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?” While we may not have 3,000 tyrants, we certainly have 546 of them; if you include all of Congress, plus the Executive and Judicial branches. Not to mention that this government has erected a multitude of bureaucracies whose sole purpose is to ensure that we COMPLY with the laws our government passes.
Tell me again that you’re not a slave.
Yet the vast majority of people in this country are only concerned that someone from their party sits in the Oval Office. They don’t care that they are taxed for things the constitution does not authorize their government to do, nor do they care that their rights are slowly disappearing. All they care about is whether or not there is a Republican or a Democrat residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Lysander Spooner once said, “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.” Just because you are allowed to choose who will increase or lower your taxes, or take away more of your freedom does not make you free; regardless of what name you give to our system of government. You can call it a Republic, a democracy, whatever you want, but if it does not secure your liberty it is tyrannical.
If you were a true patriot you would see this, and you would be just as angry about it as I am. But, as Patrick Henry bemoaned when he addressed the Virginia Ratifying Assembly, “I am fearful I have lived long enough to become an fellow: Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man, may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old fashioned: If so, I am contented to be so: I say, the time has been when every pore of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American.”
If slavery and servitude is what you want, then fine, put on your shackles and I hope you find contentment in it. But don’t you dare expect me to follow suit; I will oppose it with all that I am until my last dying breath; and the more oppressive our system of government becomes, the more outspoken I will become. And this applies just as equally to those who, by their ignorance and apathy, consent to slavery as it does to those who actually forge the chains which bind you to it.
In other words, I’m not going to shut up until they kill me, or you wake up to the fact that you are not free, and you take measures to regain the freedom you have allowed to be taken from you.