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I am often guilty of using the term "freedom-loving Americans." But I think the question now needs to be asked, Do Americans really cherish freedom anymore? I believe an argument could be made that not many do. In fact, I doubt that most Americans today remotely understand what freedom--as envisioned by our Founding Fathers--even is.
Freedom is more than not being in prison (although America incarcerates more people than any nation on earth). Freedom is more than driving a car, or taking a vacation, or being able to choose your place of residence, or attending a sporting event. People in totalitarian regimes have, for the most part, been able to do the equivalent of all that.
The freedoms upon which America was founded are outlined in our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. The first principle of freedom is that freedom is a gift of Almighty God. As God is the Giver of life, He is also the Grantor of liberty. This was plainly stated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration: "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 . . ."
Ask the average American today, Where do our rights come from? Most will look at you funny and then blurt out, "From government." And, of course, this is evidently the same opinion held by most of today's politicians. To them, freedom is whatever civil government says it is. Yes, I am saying it: most politicians have a God-complex. And, unfortunately, it seems that most Americans today are willing to go along with this calamitous charade.
Jefferson and the rest of America's founders, however, rightly understood that the only legitimate purpose of government was "to secure these rights." The only legitimate purpose of civil government is to secure or protect the freedoms and liberties that have been given to man by our Creator.
Jefferson went on to say that "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." In other words, whenever government stops protecting liberty and starts destroying liberty, it is the right and duty of freedom-loving people to reform or replace such illegitimate government with a government that will fulfill its legitimate purpose. And that is exactly what our forefathers did in the late 1700s. Sadly, here we are in the twenty-first century, the descendents of some of the wisest and bravest men and women in history, and we do not even seem to know what freedom is, much less have the courage to defend it.
For example, we will work for 30 years or more to purchase our own property. After having done that, however, the property still does not belong to us. We are required to pay the State--for the rest of our lives--a property tax (to support concepts and ideas that many of us find reprehensible and detestable, no less), or armed agents will confiscate our property and throw us on the street. Pray tell me, what is the difference between this and the feudal system of old? In reality, none of us own any property. We are all serfs paying the feudal lord. Beyond that, our feudal masters even dictate to us what we can and cannot do with this property we supposedly own. We do not even have the right to manage and control our own land. And yet, we Americans put up with this illegitimacy and still have the audacity to say, "We are free." Again, we don't know the meaning of the word.
Virtually everything we do and say is monitored by the great Nanny State. Practically every service, every act is regulated by the State. Ask any independent business owner how many regulations, laws, acts, etc., demand fulfillment, and how many fees, taxes, permits, etc., are required by various government agencies and bureaucracies before he can perform a single task. For example, the federal government actually dictates how some restaurants can seat people or serve tables. Farmers are told what and how much to plant--and even to not plant. We cannot buy a gun, drive a car, marry the person we love, or even install a toilet without saying, "Pretty please?" to a dozen despots. And we still wave the flag every Independence Day and brag about how "free" we are. Again, we don't know the meaning of the word.
And the people who should be more "jealous over" their liberties than anyone--born-again Christians--are among the first to gladly relinquish their freedom. I know of hundreds-- perhaps thousands--of Christian College employees who happily allow the school Gestapo to barge into their homes--unannounced and uninvited--to inspect their private reading material, or CD and video collections, and even their wardrobes. School officials tell them where they must go to church, what attire their wives and children can and cannot wear in public (off the job)--AND IN PRIVATE--and what amusements they may and may not attend. I am not making it up. Adolf Hitler never had the kind of control that some of these Christian Colleges exert over their employees. And the remarkable thing is, these Christian employees would still assume that they are "free." Again, they do not know the meaning of the word.
And one would think that our veterans--of all people--would be among the first to jealously guard freedom. How, then, can former and retired military personnel sit back and allow the government they once proudly served to lie to them, renege on promises, withhold medical care, abandon their friends and family members still missing in action, and not utter a word of protest? How can they allow their comrades-in-arms to sleep on the streets outside VA clinics? While they were willing to travel halfway around the world--and risk life and limb--to defend America against foreign enemies, many will sit back right here at home and complacently watch while these glorified miscreants--known as politicians--systematically strip this nation of the very freedoms and liberties they swore to defend. Did they not take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC? If the statistics I read are accurate, most veterans do not even vote. I ask, if we do not know what freedom is at home, how can we fight wars across the world and understand what we are fighting for?
Obviously, people who are receiving welfare, or other government handouts, seldom complain about there being too much government, because they personally benefit from the growth of the socialist state. This is also true for many (but not all, thank God) government employees, of course. And please remember that government cannot give a blessed thing without first stealing it from someone else. Big Government is totally incompatible with freedom. For that matter, so is Big Business and Big Religion. In fact, Big Anything is incompatible with freedom. Even Big Cities.
So, I repeat the question, Do Americans really cherish freedom anymore? And, if we do, what are we going to do about it? I believe that there are specific and constructive steps that can be taken to restore liberty in this land. (I will develop these thoughts later.) I further believe that there are still millions of Americans who really do understand and cherish freedom. We may be in a minority, but remember, we were also a minority in 1776. Freedom is laborious, onerous work. And not everyone enjoys hard work. So be it. Let lazy, indolent fools wallow in their servitude. God will yet see to it that there is a land of liberty for those who truly desire it and are willing to fight for it. I firmly believe that.
Remember, liberty is a precious gift from our Creator. For those who fear God, respect Natural Law, and love liberty, there is yet a "promised land." We may have to do a little searching; we may have to rethink our priorities; we may have to adjust our lifestyles; and yes, we may have to "pledge our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" in order to obtain it; but our forebears thought it was worth it--and so do I.
As Friedrich Schiller wrote in William Tell:
"By this fair light which greeteth us, before
Those other nations, that, beneath us far,
In noisome cities pent, draw painful breath,
Swear we the oath of our confederacy!
A band of brothers true we swear to be,
Never to part in danger or in death!
"We swear we will be free as were our sires,
And sooner die than live in slavery!
"We swear, to put our trust in God Most High,
And not to quail before the might of man!"
Such people can never be enslaved. And I believe that such people still exist in these United States of America. I count them my brothers. I offer them my arm and my heart. After all, we are freedom-loving Americans.
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© Chuck Baldwin