How much freedom do you think you have? It’s a serious question, and I’d like for you to pause your reading for a moment to ponder it.
I suppose it all depends upon what YOUR definition of freedom is. If your definition means you are free to choose what to wear; what to eat; what vehicle to drive; who to marry; what genre of music to listen to and what to watch on TV, then I’m certain that you truly believe you are free; and there’s absolutely nothing I can say to convince you otherwise.
Unfortunately, your definition of freedom doesn’t quite match up to what the dictionaries say freedom means. Take for instance the old standard, Merriam Webster’s; it defines freedom as: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. When I type ‘define freedom’ into my Google search box, the following comes back as a result: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
But if you try that for yourself you’ll find that at the bottom of the box where that definition sits there is some text you can click on to expand that box to provide more definitions and the word origin. When I clicked on it, I found the following: the power of self-determination attributed to the will.
I don’t know how you define freedom, but I think that definition pretty much nails it. Self-determination is the ability to make your own decisions without any coercive or restraining force, either by society or government.
Now I can almost envision what some of you are thinking; that if Neal’s definition were to apply across the board, then there would be anarchy and chaos; kind of like the premise for that Hollywood film, The Purge; where for one night any crime is permitted….oh, except for crimes against the government. Can’t have that, can we; not even in a Hollywood film.
In Federalist No. 51 James Madison makes an interesting comment; he says, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Now why would Madison say that; especially seeing as it was due, in large part, to his efforts that our system of government came into existence?
You see freedom does not mean we are free to do absolutely ANYTHING we want. Freedom imposes certain limits to what we can and cannot do; especially when in doing certain things we limit the freedom of others, or restrict them from enjoying the same rights as we do.
The state of absolute freedom to regulate and control their own lives was known to our Founders as the State of Nature; with the Laws of Nature being the only guide as to what a person could and could not do. One of those laws of nature was “… that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” (Source: John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Governments, Chapter II)
But man, being left to his own desires, does not always conform to the Laws of Nature, and unfortunately he does seek to bring harm to others. Therefore, some controlling force must be exercised, and a means for obtaining justice must exist if society is to avoid descending into chaos and anarchy.
If man adhered to the Laws of Nature we wouldn’t need government, but since we can’t seem to do that of our own accord, we need government. That thought now brings us to the question of, “What is the purpose for which our government exists?”
When Thomas Jefferson sat down to write the Declaration of Independence he could very well have simply stated something along the lines of, “The King of England, George III, is guilty of violating the rights of these Colonies, and we therefore declare our independence from his authority”, but he didn’t. Instead he produced what is, in my opinion, the greatest treatise on the relationship between man and government, and the purposes for which governments should exist.
Jefferson states, “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…”
Jefferson felt that the purpose of government was to secure the rights of those it governed; and that all laws passed by government should serve that purpose and that purpose only. Now I’m going to provide a quote for you, but I won’t tell you who said it, or where it comes from until later.
If the purpose of government is to secure our rights and our liberty, then what would you call government when the following exists: The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!
That, my friends, is the definition of tyranny. When the coercive power of government is used to deprive people of their rights, or to benefit a particular class of citizens at the expense of others, that government makes a tyrannical use of its powers; and it is our DUTY to resist it.
You see, Jefferson didn’t just stop when he explained the purpose for which governments should exist, he also said, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…” (Emphasis added)
But dare speak of throwing off government or openly resisting its authority and you are labeled subversive; a threat to society and the peace and general security of the nation. I’m certain King George and the British Loyalists felt the same way about men like Jefferson, Adams and Patrick Henry too.
How, might I ask, is it possible for a government to call those who fight to ensure that government obeys the law governing its actions subversive? I remember a few years back when there was this article making its way around on the internet listing the various things that could place a person on one of the many terrorist watch lists maintained by our government.
Among the things that could supposedly land you on a terrorist watch list were: using cash to make all your purchases; speak openly about constitutional rights; talk about Big Brother and government surveillance; are a member of an anti-abortion group; if you speak openly about the unrestricted right to keep and bear arms, or are a member of a local militia group.
Have you ever stopped to think about why our government continues to pass these laws which require us to register purchases of guns and ammo with them? Of course they are going to tell us that it is so that it will allow them to predict when someone might commit a crime using those guns and ammo. But it could also be that they simply want to know who has all these guns, how much ammo they have, so that if our system implodes they know who to go after before any organized resistance to their authority gains any traction.
Yeah, call me paranoid if you will, but just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. I’m sure the Jews had nothing to fear from their government in Germany in the 1920’s either; but look how that all changed when Hitler came into power. A good deal of paranoia is healthy, if you ask me. Just like what Jefferson also said about resistance to government, “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.” (Source: letter to Abigail Adams, February 22, 1787)
But that’s okay, Neal is subversive, he is a danger to society, he is,
That’s right, government by intimidation was what was commonly understood to be the definition of terrorism. So, when a government enacts a law which violates any of our unalienable rights, and then sends its jack booted thugs to enforce that law upon the people, that government is engaging in terrorist activities; at least according to the 18th century definition of terrorism.
Would you not consider it treason to aid, or provide comfort and support to terrorists? Therefore if the definition of terrorism is government by intimidation, aren’t you guilty of treason for supporting government rather than resisting it? Remember, Jefferson said it was our duty to throw off government when it becomes despotic; not to bow down before it and beg it to bestow more gifts, (benefits) upon us.
It’s funny that people can read, (that is if anyone reads anymore), a book like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and recognize the tyranny of Orwell’s fictional society Oceana. But then they are blind to the tyranny that exists right before their eyes every day of their lives. It’s almost like Orwell’s book became an instruction manual for those who seek to tyrannize us, rather than the warning it was written to be.
Big Brother certainly is watching and listening to us and our history is being re-written constantly by those who wish to erase even the slightest mention of liberty and freedom from our textbooks.
But we keep on supporting our government because to stand up for liberty requires a payment that many people simply aren’t willing to make; the total dedication of their lives and their time to the defense of it. Can’t be asking people to put aside their comfort and actually take a stand against tyranny, can we; especially when in so doing they will be called subversive alongside people like me. How could I expect someone to do something so drastic, so courageous?
Yet our Founders did; they found it within themselves to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the obtaining of liberty and independence from a tyrant. Maybe that’s what made them great men, while we on the other hand submit to tyranny without even a whimper of protest.
And we have the audacity to say that we’re free; that we’re patriotic. Yeah right… most Americans don’t have a drop of patriotism running through their veins and wouldn’t know a patriot if he was standing right beside them.
John Adams once wrote to his wife, “Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” I can only imagine what Adams is thinking right now about how we’ve honored and respected the sacrifices his generation made for our freedom.
You can hide from the truth all you want, but it will eventually find you. When that happens the shock of having your blinders pulled off and seeing reality in its full glory for the first time is going to knock you for a loop. But better that you see it know than when they put the shackles on you, or herd you into a FEMA relocation, (read, concentration) Camp.
As Niemoller said: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out―Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did no speak out. ―Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, but I did not speak out―Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me¬―and there was no one left to speak for me.
They might be coming after the rights of those whose beliefs and ideologies you disagree with right now, but mark my words, your turn will come and it will be your rights they come after. And who will defend them when you have supported measures which led to the disarmament of those who understood why our Founders included a 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights? Because, when that realization comes for you, it will be too late; there will be no one left to defend your rights, and karma will have just bitch slapped you back from your dream land to reality.
Hope you wake up before then, but from what I see and hear on a day to day basis, I’m not holding my breath.