Posted tagged ‘July 4th Independence Day’

July 4th – Individual Freedom vs. Government Tyranny

July 4, 2019

Statue of Liberty on the background of flag usa, sunrise and fireworks

I reread the fourth chapter in Thomas Sowell’s book, “The Quest for Cosmic Justice”, every 4th of July. It is a must read. The fourth chapter is titled “The Quiet Repeal of the American Revolution”. I wish what he states about the difference between the American Revolution and all other revolutions was understood by all Americans. Here are some excerpts from this chapter.

“The war for American independence was not simply a landmark event in the history of the United States. It was a landmark in the history of the world – and especially a landmark in the history of the evolution of free and democratic societies. It’s international significance was symbolized by France’s donation of the Statue of Liberty to the Unites States on the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and by the creation of a facsimile of this state in China, more than a century after that, by protesters vainly seeking to create a free and democratic government in that country”

 

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IS SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHERS

“The American revolution was in some ways the most far-reaching of all the great revolutions in history. Other revolutions may have had more sweeping rhetoric, or greater extremes of violence and terror, or more categorical claims of change. They may even have had more radical changes of personnel, as in the change from czarist to Communist rulers in Moscow, while replacing one form of autocratic despotism with another and more bloody from.”

“The French Revolution of the succeeding decade used similar rhetoric, and was supported by such prominent figures in the American Revolution as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, but nevertheless the French Revolution was grounded on entirely different assumptions and of course took a different path all to characteristic of later revolutions that began with lofty ideals and ended with new and more ruthless despotism.”

  “The American Revolution, however, went further in rejecting a basic conception of man and society that goes back thousands of years, and which is still with us today…people with the most diverse philosophic persuasions have proceeded as if what was needed was to replace false doctrines with true doctrines and false leaders with true leaders – the heathens with the faithful, capitalists with socialists, royalty with republicans, and so on. But, unlike the French revolution and the Bolshevik revolution, for example, the American revolution and its resulting constitution established was not simply a particular system but a process of changing systems, practices, and leaders, together with a method of constraining whoever or whatever was ascendant at any given time…. it gave to the common man a voice, a veto, elbow room, and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of his “betters”….. it was seen by others in the world at large as a landmark in the general struggle for human freedom. That is why it must be opposed by those with more ambitious visions (even if they do not consciously feel any animosity against constitutional freedoms) because, on issue after issue, those freedoms stand between the morally self-anointed and the realization of dreams which have overwhelming importance to them. Some of these dreams revolve around the quest for cosmic justice, in which constitutional constraints may be seen as technicalities to be finessed. Other dreams may be about personal ambitions that can be fulfilled only in a very different kind of society from that established by the Constitution… Ego and ideals are of course not mutually exclusive but may readily exist in the same individual, who may even mistake the former from the latter.”

America was based on the idea that the individual was sovereign. Our founders knew that Government power had to be restrained or else it would be used arbitrarily by politicians and bureaucrats who were in position to wield it. Our Government was established to protect the individual and his property from aggression by these individuals.

In this chapter Sowell quotes a little known speech by Abraham Lincoln given in 1838 (read here) a mere sixty two years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln fears the dangers to our freedom would not come from foreign enemies, but from internal threats.

“If and when the fundamental principles and structure of American government should fall under attack, “men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity” and “strike a blow” against free government.”

“What is particularly significant about Lincoln’s warning is that is was based on the vision of what human beings are like and especially what talented and ambitions leaders are like. To Lincoln, the historic achievement of American society in establishing a new form of government in the world was in jeopardy from later elites precisely because that achievement was already history:”

“Lincoln said: The field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And , when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question is, can the gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot.”

“While the ambitions of some might be satisfied with “a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair,” Lincoln said, “such belong not to the family of the lion or the tribe of the eagle.”

“Lincoln added: “What! Think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? – Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. – It sees not distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible. it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen.”

Lincoln thought safeguarding those institutions would require a public sufficiently united, sufficiently attached to freedom, and sufficiently wise, “to successfully frustrate his designs.

We are not just talking about a single person with a tyrannical idea. We are also talking about a tyrannical idea which has many people with political power who want to implement this tyranny.

 

OUR HISTORY OF LIBERTY IS FADING

But for me here is the part of Lincoln’s speech that really hit me. He is talking about how the spirit of “76” will fade as time passes.

Lincoln said: “I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are not or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like every thing else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the bible shall be read; but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. even then, they cannot be so universally known, nor so vividly felt, as they were by the generation just gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family – a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of woulds received, in the midst of the very scenes related – a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned. – But those histories are gone. they can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done: the leveling of its walls. They are gone. – They were a forest of giant oaks: but the all-resistless hurricane had swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.

“They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence. Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws:…

“Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Today Ocasio Cortez and the rest of Americas socialist insurgents have a great deal of passion but no sober logic and reason. The side that is supposed to be for individual freedom and liberty has lost its passion. But more importantly it has lost the ability to supply the sober reason necessary to combat the passion of the socialist insurgents in our midst.

The party of Lincoln, the Republicans, are supposed to be the party of small government. But very few Republican politicians can articulate why freedom is superior to government central planning aka tyranny. So most have neither passion or reason. That’s a bad combination.

Will our side become passionate enough to learn the sober reasoning for freedom and liberty before the passion of the socialist insurgents win the day? Only the passage of time will answer that question.

 

THE CASE FOR FREEDOM

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (read here) was our statement of freedom form British tyranny. This document is talking about today as much as it was appropriate in its time. On July 4th, Independence Day, take some time to read the Declaration of Independence. Then tell me it isn’t speaking about the present. This document applies to the past, the present and the future.

 

 

PAUL HARVEY; OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES, OUR SACRED HONOR.

 

 

RAY CHARLES – AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

This brings a tear to my eye every time.

 

 

Related Article: July 4th 2018: Independence Day, at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: July 4th: What Does Independence Day Mean? at austrianaddict.com.

Related Article: July 4th – Our Choice: Liberty or Tyranny, at austrianaddict.com.

 

 

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Must Reads For The Week 7/5/14

July 4, 2014

Lets celebrate Independence Day.

This is Stars and Stripes Forever by Chet Atkins.

Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful.

Martina McBride singing God Bless America.

Let’s Think.

-Read Thomas Sowell’s recent article, America’s Birthday.

-Happy Fourth Of July: Fifth Of US Population Doesn’t Believe In American Dream, by Hannah Osborne, at ibtimes.co.uk.

 

Let’s Laugh.

 

July 4th: Independence From Tyranny, The Battle Continues

July 3, 2014

I wrote this post last year for our 4th of July Independence Day celebration. In light of some recent Supreme Court decisions striking down the tyrannical power grabs by the President and the Government, I’ll repost it.

DECLARING INDEPENDENCE FROM TYRANNY

English: This is a high-resolution image of th...

Declaration of Independence (article (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JEFFERSON’S GEM

On July 4th 1776 congress adopted a Declaration by the thirteen United States of America for their Independence from the tyranny of The King. I haven’t read this document enough over the years. I’ve taken for granted that I understand the meaning of the words Jefferson penned, but my most recent reading has revealed the depth of meaning he compressed into relatively few words. I had similar thoughts when I reread the Declaration of Independence as I did when I read The Road To Serfdom by Hayek for the first time in 1993. Those thoughts were, “Oh my God, he’s writing about today”. Before we look at some of the words in the declaration, let’s look at what Colonial America was like before 1776..

EVOLVED FREEDOM IN COLONIAL AMERICA

Colonial America developed relatively freely for a couple hundred years before 1776. A culture evolved here over these two hundred years which was different from the culture in England. In a book titled “A Patriot’s History Of The United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, they write about a few trends that led to the spontaneously evolved freedom that existed at the time of the Revolution.

“First, the sheer distance between the rulers and the governed – between the King and the colonies – made possible an extraordinary amount of independence among the Americans”…..”Second, while the colonists gained a measure of independence through distance, they also gained political confidence and status through the acquisition of land. For immigrants who came from a nation where the scarcity of land marked those who owned it as gentlemen and placed them among the political elites. The abundance of soil….make them the equals of the owners of manorial estates in England. It steadily but subtly became every citizen’s job to ensure the protection of property rights for all citizens, undercutting from the outset the widespread and entrenched class system that characterized England. Third, the precedent of rebellion against a government that did not carry out the most basic mandates – protecting life, property, and a certain degree of religious freedom (at least from the Church of England) was established and supported by large numbers, if not the wast majority, of colonists. Fourth, a measure of religious toleration developed.” (1)

“By 1774 American colonists already had attained a standard of living that far surpassed that found in most of the civilized parts of the modern world.” (2)

The economic system in place at this time was mercantilism (read here), which was a system where the state gave special subsidy and monopoly privileges to businesses, individuals, and groups the state favored. It encouraged exports and discouraged imports, and the enforcement of these regulations created a bureaucracy that built state power.

Patriot’s History talks about mercantilism, “Mercantilist doctrine demanded that the individual subordinate his economic activity to the interest of the State….it didn’t help the English that mercantilism was based on a conceptual framework that saw wealth as fixed and limited, meaning that for the Government to get more wealth, individuals had to receive less of the fruit of their labor…….Having the State pick winners and losers in the fields of enterprise proved disastrous……Americans came to despise regulations that threatened the further development of America’s thriving merchant trade…..Traders at the top favored regulations because they allowed them to freeze out aspiring competitors, but producers and consumers disliked the laws and they were swiftly becoming the majority.” (3)  Does any of this sound familiar? (Crony Capitalism)

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The tyranny of Government is what man has been fighting since before recorded history, and it is what we fight today. The freedom of the individual is rare in history, while the tyranny of government over the individual is the historical norm. Here are a couple of excerpts from the declaration, ask yourself if these words are applicable today.

“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, 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.”

Our rights are above the Government, they don’t come from Government. Governments are instituted by men in order to secure each individuals rights. Governments get their just power from the consent of the individuals. When a Government becomes destructive in securing the rights of individuals, the people have a right to change or abolish it.

“Governments long-established should not be changed for light and transient Causes……Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Individuals will suffer evils for a long time before they will pay the heavy price of  changing or abolishing Government. The evil has to become intolerable before men will make a change, and remember, intolerable is in the eye of the beholder. We haven’t reached that point yet, but we are getting closer with each new regulation, tax, intervention, usurpation of power, by our elected officials and bureaucrats, along with each new case of political corruption.

Jefferson then lists the abuses by the King. There are too many to list here, read the Declaration and see if any of the abuses apply today.

“In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms…..A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the  Ruler of a free People.” 

When a rulers acts are the definition of tyranny, he is no longer fit to be the ruler of a free people.

“…and by the authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free ad Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown…….And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

The founders absolved their allegiance to the crown, and instead pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes, and our sacred honor.

TYRANNY OR RIGHTS

Why do I see tyranny where others see government giving rights. Health care is only one example. I see Government telling me what I can and can’t do with by healthcare decisions as tyrannical and a violation of my right to property and contract. Others see Obama care mandates on their health care as somehow gaining rights. We obviously have different visions on how the world works. Compromise between the two visions only creates a chaotic middle ground, and this is where we are right now. Which direction we go from here will determine if we will face the sobering decision at some point to “rely on divine Providence, and mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”.

Here is a post I wrote titled, “We’re All Born In The Middle Of The Story“, it is a good follow-up to the above post. Here are some excerpts from the article.

“Most people think history started the day they were born. They give little thought, or have no understanding of how the world that existed the day they were born came to exist as it did. Where each person is, and what they are doing today, is the result of decisions made by them and other people, in the recent past and the distant past.”

 “In 1838, a mere forty-five years after our founding, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Ill. in a speech about the perpetuation of our institutions of liberty. He was worried about that present generation forgetting the battle for freedom that had taken place fifty years before. How much more worried should we be that our present generations, who are two hundred plus years removed from the actual events,  have no idea about the principles of freedom.”

Click on Lincoln’s address to the Young Mens Lyceum of Springfield. Ill. It is outstanding.

 

Related Article, What Is Tyranny? The President Should Know The Definition, by austrianaddict.com

Related Article, The Most Recent Arbitrary And Unrestrained Exercises Of Power By The Federal Government, by austrianaddict.com

 

Footnotes.

1) From A Patriot’s History Of The United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, pg 25-26

2) From A Patriot’s History Of The United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, pg 25

3) From A Patriot’s History Of The United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen, pg 49-50