It is my steadfast belief that if you were to put ten thousand people into an auditorium, give each of them a pen and a pad of paper, and ask them to write down what freedom really means, you might get 10 people who could explain freedom accurately. Yet if you were to get up on a stage and tell those ten thousand people that they are NOT free they would most likely boo you off the stage; all because they don’t know what freedom actually is.
Freedom and liberty are often used interchangeably, but although they are similar, they are not the same thing. Freedom, pure unadulterated freedom, is the ability to do whatever you want without restrictions. That may fit the definition of liberty, but in a state of society there is what we call ‘rightful’ liberty, as described by Thomas Jefferson, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”
Liberty may mean different things to different people. For instance, liberty to you might be the ability to sit in front of your TV and watching football all day long, while to another it might be the right to go out and hunt or fish without restrictions, while to yet another it might be the right to climb upon a soapbox and say things other people might disagree with.
The first instance, pure unrestrained liberty, is what’s known as a State of Nature, and Locke explains it thusly, “TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”
Yet Locke goes on to say, “But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence: though man in that state have an uncontroulable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
That is what Jefferson spoke of; rightful liberty in which the equal rights of others are the only barriers to your ability to do as you please. Now what would you call it if another breaches those barriers and seeks to limit or curtail your ability to live your life as you please? Well, returning to Locke we read, “And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me.”
When the delegates of the Second Continental Congress voted in support of the Declaration of Independence they were saying that they agreed with the principles found within that document; that they pledged their Lives, their fortunes and their sacred Honor to support what it said. So, what does it say? Well, it says, “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, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
There is a lot to be learned from that passage if people would just think about what it says. For instance, those signing that document felt that what it said was true; that it was self-evident; meaning it required no explanation – something that cannot be said about the people inhabiting this country today.
Next it says that all men are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Now this is where I get a bit confused. Jefferson, as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, is saying that our rights come from our Creator, correct? So why is it that so many today believe our rights come from the Constitution or Bill of Rights? If you truly believe that, then could you please answer the following question: Did those living prior to the ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights NOT have any rights at all? I mean, if you’re saying that the Bill of Rights gives us our rights, then that must also be saying that prior to the Bill of Rights those rights were non-existent.
Now Jefferson did not go into specifics when he spoke of our unalienable rights; he merely put them into 3 categories; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Life is merely the ability to exist without someone killing you. Liberty is the ability to do what one pleases without anyone attempting to restrict or limit their ability to do so-as long as we respect the equal rights of others. What about the Pursuit of Happiness? Did he say the guarantee of happiness? No, he only says that we are free to pursue it. I can’t make you happy, nor can you make me happy; it is up to each individual to seek out that which brings them happiness.
Now this is where we get to the meat and potatoes of my narrative. Jefferson then goes on to say, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…” That right there is the purpose the signers of the Declaration of Independence felt that government should serve; again not something that can be said of the people inhabiting this country today.
Without going into a lengthy discussion on the matter, when the Constitution was being drafted there were those living who saw the convention for what it was; an effort to consolidate power into the hands of a few; power which could then be used to benefit some, while oppressing others. It does not really matter that this oppression was to come in the form of taxes levied upon the governed to do things which benefitted one class of society at the expense of another, or if it came in the form of a restriction upon the people’s right to enjoy their liberty to the fullest extent, it is oppression in either case.
Patrick Henry saw through the deception going on in Philadelphia; which is why he declined an invitation to the convention, saying he smelt a rat in Philadelphia leaning towards monarchy. It is also why he rose up in opposition to the proposed Constitution and said, “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.”
Perhaps Henry was also a realist; seeing how ready people were to accept a system of government that, in his eye, would prove destructive to their liberty. Perhaps that is why he then went on to say, “But 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 Henry said that about those living in 1788, imagine what he would say about the people living in America today; especially since our current government has grown far more powerful, far more oppressive than the one they had so recently fought a war to free themselves from. I can only imagine what men like Henry, Jefferson, Samuel Adams, and a host of others would be saying about us right now, “What the hell are they waiting for; shackles and leg irons?”
You see, there is something else that is found in the Declaration of Independence that people don’t like to think about, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
Oh my God, Neal’s talking sedition again. Am I? The Declaration of Independence states that governments are instituted among men, “…deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” Government works for us; they are our servants, our representatives, and they only have those powers delegated to them by our consent; or at least those who consented to the Constitution back in 1788-89.
Have you given your explicit consent to the Constitution? Have I? Have our parents or their parents consented to it? No, it and the government it establishes only persist because we have not risen up and said I DO NOT CONSENT.
There are two quotes from Lysander Spooner’s 1870 book No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority that I would like for you to read.
-If the people of this country wish to maintain such a government as the Constitution describes, there is no reason in the world why they should not sign the instrument itself, and thus make known their wishes in an open, authentic manner; in such manner as the common sense and experience of mankind have shown to be reasonable and necessary in such cases; and in such manner as to make themselves (as they ought to do) individually responsible for the acts of the government.
-If any considerable number of the people believe the Constitution to be good, why do they not sign it themselves, and make laws for, and administer them upon, each other; leaving all other persons (who do not interfere with them) in peace?
Let us discuss those now. Would you, (meaning those of you who still support this system of government), be willing to accept full legal responsibility for whatever crimes your government may commit on your behalf; including murder, theft, and the deprivation of life and liberty of others? After all, they are, ‘supposedly’ acting as YOUR representatives; so if they are acting in that capacity then aren’t you responsible for what they do? Unless of course you are willing to admit that they have elevated themselves above the role of public servants and become your masters.
Secondly, would you, (once again meaning those of you who still support this system of government), be willing to allow those of us who do not wish to live under the thumbs of a government that denies us our liberty; so long as we live peacefully among you? If your answer to that question is no; then why not? If we lived peacefully among you; not violating your rights and liberty, what harm does it cause that we do not obey the laws government enacts, or pay the taxes it imposes?
Does that not mean that you are saying that you DEMAND that we be slaves to a government not of our own consent; one which taxes our wealth to fund things we do not approve of, and one that, with almost every act it takes, deprives us of our rights and liberty? It’s either one or the other people; you can’t say that you respect our liberty and at the same time say that we must subjugate ourselves to a system that is denying us our liberty. So which is it?
I see and hear people talking about politics, government, and elections and it is always from the perspective of either the political left or the political right; never from the perspective of whether government as an entity is serving the function of securing to all of us our Creator given rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. My God, how can we pursue happiness when we’re locked inside our homes like rats in a cage; all over some stupid virus?
What I see when I see people arguing over who should be elected, or what government should be doing, is best described by Spooner, “…that, without his consent having even been asked a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further, that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave.”
Read that again if you must, for what it says is that the two parties seek to impose their brand of slavery upon those they disagree with as to what function government should serve. Does it really matter that the rich should be plundered to provide for the poor, or the working class of America be taxed to benefit the wealthy, Wall Street, or the banks? In either case one group is using government to benefit themselves at the expense of another; making those who subsidize government slaves to it. Have your brains atrophied so much, has your indoctrination been so thorough that you cannot see that?
It does not matter who you vote for, government as an entity NEVER stops expanding its power over you at the cost of your rights and liberty. By voting all you’re doing is consenting to this erosion of the liberty government is supposed to secure.
If I do not harm you, if I do not steal from you that which is rightfully yours, if I do not deprive you of the right to live your life as you choose; neither you, nor your government, have the authority to tell me how I MUST live; what rights I can and cannot exercise without first obtaining permission from either society or government. That is what it means to be free; and we ARE NOT free in America today…haven’t been in a very long time.
Look at the Branch Davidians for crying out loud; they sought to live a life according to their religious beliefs, and because the government claimed they were in violation of some gun control law, (something the government had no authority to enact in the first place), they ended up being murdered; shot or burnt alive in their Mount Carmel complex. As I asked earlier, would YOU be willing to accept responsibility for the actions of your government? I don’t think you would it if meant you were charged as accomplices, or co-conspirators in the murder of each and every person who died at Waco.
What about unarmed Vicki Weaver, who was shot by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi at Ruby Ridge while holding her infant child in her hands; would you be willing to accept responsibility for her murder?
What about the death toll during the Civil War, would you be willing to accept responsibility for the death of over half a million people in this unjust war of aggression waged by Abraham Lincoln?
Oh but Neal, they rebelled against the government, they were evil because they had slaves. They did not seek to overthrow our rebel against the government; unless of course withdrawing their consent to be governed by it is considered rebellion. All they sought was a peaceful dissolution of the bonds that had held them to the Union.
In a speech to the Confederate Congress in 1861, Jefferson Davis stated, “We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence; we seek no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone.”
Left alone…that’s all the Confederacy wanted…that’s all I want. I don’t care what you do with your lives; I truly don’t. I may not agree with what you do, but I understand liberty well enough to know that you have the right to do those things; as long as you do not force your views upon me, or ask that a portion of my income be taken from me to subsidize your ability to do them. That is what liberty is all about; live and let live – and as far as I’m concerned it is dead and buried in America; having been surrendered for false promises of comfort and security.
Look at all we’ve lost in America because we don’t know what liberty truly means.
-We can’t say certain things because we are told it offends or hurts the feelings of others.
-We can’t worship our God according to the dictates of our conscience because others do not believe as we do.
-We can’t seek a redress of grievances from our government because they are the ones who are causing our grievances.
-We cannot defend our lives, our property, or our liberty because the government says that is their job; or the job of law enforcement; when in fact it is government itself that is the biggest threat to our lives, property and liberty; and to speak about resisting them is considered by many to be treason or sedition. Not only that, the means by which we can defend ourselves are being stripped away from us by a long train of laws dating back to 1934.
-We have no privacy; our phones, our computers, our tablets; not to mention spy satellites, drones, and traffic cameras; and possibly even RFID tags in our belongings, track and monitor our every move, our every word; all of which is captured and stored by the National Security Agency.
And now, because of some stupid cold, (and yes I realize that it is killing people), our homes have become our prisons and our economy is being destroyed; all because of the fear generated by the mass media over the Covid virus. Businesses are limiting the number of customers that can come into their stores. Some are requiring that you wear masks while inside them.
Freedom? What freedom are you talking about; I sure don’t see it. Thomas Paine once said, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Well, freedom isn’t getting very much support these days, all I see are herds of slaves begging their masters to protect them, keep them safe, and subsidize their existence.
The fact is, freedom scares the shit out of you people; which is why you attack people like me who shine a light on the fact that you don’t have any. It is also why this is probably the most absolute best passage from any movie ever made on the subject of freedom:
George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.
Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that’s what happened. Hey, we can’t even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we’re gonna cut their throat or somethin’. They’re scared, man.
George Hanson: They’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to ’em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That’s what it’s all about.
George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that’s right. That’s what’s it’s all about, all right. But talkin’ about it and bein’ it, that’s two different things. I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.
If real freedom was delivered to your door, straight from Amazon, all gift wrapped in a box, most people would send it back with a note attached, “Thanks, but no thanks; I’m happy in my bondage.”
Well not me, I’m not happy; not when I’m surrounded by people who bow down and lick the boots of those who enslave them. I’m not happy because you, or your government think you know how I should live my life. Is it too much to ask for you to…