“Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.”
“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always
ready to guard and defend it.”
In 1775 Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death.” In that same speech he also said, “For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.” Those words inspired his fellow Virginians to join the cause of the Bostonians who were suffering the brunt of the Kings outrage at the Colonies for their disobedience to his dictates.
Then in 1788 when presented with a new system of government to replace the existing Congress outlined by the Articles of Confederation, Mr Henry said this, “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings-give us that precious jewel, and you may take every thing else.” He also told his fellow delegates to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
Was Mr. Henry right; is the primary function of government the preservation of our liberty? Well, according to the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”
Then, in the Preamble to our Constitution we read, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (My emphasis)
It would seem that there is ample evidence to support Patrick Henry’s claim that liberty ought to be the direct end of our government. So why is it that so many people support a government that seems hell bent upon destroying the liberty it was instituted to protect? The motto of most Americans today may as well be, “I’ll give you my liberty just so long as you keep me safe, keep me comfortable, and let me be entertained.”
Dating back to before the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams wrote, “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”
Do you know the meaning of the word infamy? Infamy means: the state of being well known for some bad quality or deed, or an evil or wicked act. Is that really what you want to be known for; the last generation that stood a chance of restoring their liberty, but instead chose to sacrifice it for the promise of comfort and security?
Our forefathers rose up and fought their government over a few paltry taxes that pale in comparison to the heavy burden of taxes we suffer from under our current government. You see, it was not the taxes themselves that they revolted against; it was the principle that a government could impose those taxes that they found so offensive.
In 1785 James Madison would explain that as follows, “It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties–we hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.” If you’ll notice, Madison did not say it was proper to take alarm at the first hint of unnecessary taxation, he said it was proper to take alarm at the first experiment upon our LIBERTIES.
Our Constitution gives Congress the almost unlimited power to tax us to fund its operations. Yet the power of taxation was supposed to be used solely to fund the government so that it could perform the few specifically enumerated powers delegated to it; not a wide plethora of powers that are to be found hidden between the lines of text in the Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson explained the power of taxation as follows, “To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, ‘to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.’ For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.”
Is it in the general welfare of the Union to tax the people so that their tax dollars can then be given away to others in the form of benefit programs? Is it in the general welfare of the Union to tax the people and then turn around and hand that money out in the form of foreign aid? Is it in the general welfare of the Union to tax the people to fund organizations and agencies who then turn around and violate our sacred and unalienable rights?
The one thing I cannot get people to see is that those functions of government never change – they are constants that remain true regardless of whether the Republicans or the Democrats are in control. People are so caught up in their party furor that they fail to see that no matter who wins a presidential election, or who controls Congress, our government continuously does things which restrict our liberty and violate our rights.
And if that is true, then one would do well to consider the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (administrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.”
People talk about their right to vote as if it does not come with the solemn obligation to choose wise and just candidates who will support and defend the Constitution; including the Bill of Rights. People act like that is an option, but it is their sacred duty to do so.
Noah Webster stated it thusly, “When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, ‘just men who will rule in the fear of God.’ The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.”
Could that be why so many people fear, or hide from the truth regarding their government? Could it be that they know, deep down, that were they to accept the truth about the corruption that runs throughout government, regardless of which political party is in control, that they would have no excuse for not rising up and tearing that government down to the ground?
Ignorance is a shield that protects the masses from the consequences of their decisions; for if the people do not know the truth then they can simply say, “Gee, I didn’t know that.” That is why people denounce those who bear the truth, for their hearts are filled with the fear of having to face the fact that they have been deceived; they have fallen for the lies of shysters, con men, and thieves.
In his first Inaugural Address James Monroe stated, “It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin.”
Those words sound strikingly similar to the ones spoken at the end of the Constitutional Convention, prior to voting on whether to accept the finished document, “…there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”
Government truly is a mirror which reflects the morality of the people it represents. If those gazing into the mirror are corrupt and without virtue, then they will see corruption in their government. We elect these people for crying out loud; they work for us! How is it that we, as their employers, allow them to get away with all these crimes unless we are to consider ourselves accomplices to the crimes being committed against us?
James Garfield, (Our 20th President for those of you who never heard of him), said, “Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.” Those words were spoken in 1877 and remain just as true today as they did when they were first spoken.
Liberty, or freedom if you will, is not the gift of a benevolent government; it is our birthright, something given us by our Creator. If we allow an entity of our own creation to steal that freedom from us don’t you think that there is a chance that our Creator might be a tad bit angry with us for allowing His gift to us to be taken from us by false and designing men?
I’d love to see how people explain that on Judgment Day, “Gee Lord, Candidate A was a whole lot better than Candidate B” or “Well you know Lord, I had my life, my kids, or my sports to watch; I just didn’t have time to spend fighting tyranny every time it raised its ugly head.”
Ronald Reagan, the darling of the conservatives across America, once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Reagan said freedom must be fought for, and I don’t see a whole lot of people today fighting for it. Instead I see people willingly surrendering it for the promises of safety, comfort, and security – and it makes me sick to my stomach!
For liberty to survive two things must exist in abundance; knowledge and courage. First you must know what your rights are, then you must be ready and willing to defend them against all attacks; even when those attacks come from your government. That is the duty of every patriot in America; and if you cannot exhibit those qualities, then you cannot count yourself among those who call themselves patriots.
So long as you support a system of government that oversteps it’s just authority and makes a tyrannical use of the power delegated to it, you are useful dupes who joyfully support the very entity that is turning them into serfs; a working class whose sole function in life is to enrich the kingdom and who enjoy a few paltry privileges when they are found deserving of them.
Promises and campaign slogans do not make a free man, the steadfast devotion to the principle of individual liberty and the willingness to stand up and decry violations of it wherever they may occur are the mark of a free man. All I see when I look out upon the great mass of humanity in this country is a nation of sheep; obediently obeying the laws that enslave them.
And that is not what I would define as patriotism; and I think men like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams would agree with me on that assessment.