As Americans celebrate Independence Day this Fourth of July with barbeques and fireworks, more than a few patriots and lovers of liberty are instead mourning the steady loss of freedom; the erosion of unalienable rights that seem to be trampled upon more and more after each election. But despite the current climate — perfectly illustrated by the never-ending series of “Homeland Security” reports characterizing the beliefs of America’s Founding Fathers as potentially terroristic — optimism about the future of freedom and American independence is growing as well.
On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, written mostly by a passionate lover of liberty named Thomas Jefferson. In the document, those original American patriots outlined a series of bold and timeless statements that still reverberate around the world to this day: the idea that the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” entitle all people to take charge of their own futures — including, if necessary, by invoking the right and duty to “alter or abolish” any form of government that becomes a threat to individual rights.
“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,” explains the Declaration, outlining a series of principles that led oppressed colonists to take up arms against the greatest super power in the world — values that have formed the foundation of America’s unique constitutional republic since its founding. “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
But this Independence Day, amid national celebrations, analysts and concerned citizens are warning that those timeless truths are increasingly under threat in America — and not from King George III or his royal successors.
“Individual liberty, secured by limited government: that is its essence. Too often today, however, government is not serving liberty but is at war with it, telling us that it knows best, that it will decide for us,” observed Roger Pilon, director of the libertarian Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. “As we celebrate our independence today, let’s keep in mind that we’re celebrating our independence from overweening government — British or American.”
Others worry that the current federal government is actually at odds with the concept of independence itself. “Today, powerful elites in Washington, D.C. are bent on recasting America in a way that would make July 4th more accurately called Dependence Day,” opinedAmerican Civil Rights Union (ACRU) chief Susan Carleson. “Many Americans are being tempted by the siren song of reliance upon government — but thankfully, we are seeing many more bent on resisting this dangerous idea and reversing it.”
Even more alarming, perhaps, are recent developments within the U.S. government’s so-called “security” apparatus. A federal study on terrorism released this year and publicly exposed earlier this week by the alternative media, for example, identified “extreme right-wing” terror suspects as individuals who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority” or “reverent of individual liberty.” Other potential terrorists include people who “believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty,” or those who believe their “way of life” is under attack and are preparing with “survivalism.” Pro-lifers and Americans who are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)” were also included.
If those traits sound suspiciously like the beliefs held by the Founding Fathers and outlined in the Declaration of Independence, that is because the brave Americans who stood up to the British Crown more than two centuries ago would have fit the federal government’s wild characterizations almost perfectly. In fact, some of the very same grievances against the King listed in the Declaration are again being imposed on Americans — the main difference is that now, the abuses and violations are mostly coming from Washington, D.C., in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Consider some examples listed in the Declaration of Independence of the crimes committed by the King against the colonists, contrasted with the federal government’s lawless behavior today:
• “HE has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.” Then reflect on the Obama administration’s lawsuits against state governments — think Arizona, for example, which was sued for seeking to control illegal immigration; or the recent federal attack on Florida for its attempt to purge non-eligible voters from the rolls.
• “HE has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” Then consider the fact that the federal government and its alphabet soup of rogue and unconstitutional bureaucracies has already grown far beyond anything the tyrannical English King could have imagined in his wildest dreams: EPA, ATF, FDA, DEA, NSA, CIA, FCC, DHS, TSA, SEC, FHA, and countless more. And it is only getting worse, with the cost of perpetual bureaucratic and regulatory expansion — trillions every year — far exceeding any amount the British Crown could have even conceived of extracting from the colonists.
• “HE has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power.” Then ponder the Obama administration’s recent war on Libya without even obtaining congressional approval, let alone a constitutionally required declaration of war. The current Secretary of Defense, meanwhile, reiterated this year his wild belief that NATO and the UN could legitimately order American troops into battle, and that Congress — the people’s elected representatives entrusted by the Constitution with war powers — might be informed of the decision later on.
• “HE has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.” Aside from foreigners ordering U.S. armed forces into unconstitutional wars, remember that despite never being ratified by the U.S. Senate, the executive branch of the federal government has been — for over two decades now — quietly working to impose the UN’s Agenda 21 on the American people. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
• “FOR depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury.” Consider that since the George W. Bush administration, the federal government purports to be able to indefinitely detain without trial even American citizens. President Obama has taken it a step further,claiming authority to murder U.S. citizens — including children, such as a 16-year-old American boy purposely blown to bits by a U.S. missile in Yemen — without even formally charging them with a crime or allowing judicial proceedings, let alone a trial by jury.
• “In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms,” the Declaration of Independence states. “Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.” Indeed. And today, it is only getting worse.
But even as the political class in Washington, D.C., and so many state capitals across America callously disregard the eternal principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, there appears to be a renewed sense of public optimism. The Supreme Court’s wildly inappropriate ruling on ObamaCare, for example, has recently stirred up an even greater wave of activism and defiance against federal usurpations. From state governors to citizen activists, resistance is building.
“We understand that a lot is happening in our beloved America, and that she is in distress, but we must concentrate on the fix for what ails her. The cause of this malady is Marxism, political correctness and progressivism and all the evil that comes with it,” noted Save America Foundation President Fred Brownbill in a piece celebrating American independence. “The cure is the Constitution, probably the most incredible document ever written by the hand of man. We may not be the land of the free right now, but we are still the land of the brave and from that bravery, freedom will once more return.”
Other activist leaders, while also recognizing the dire straits American liberty currently finds itself in, were hopeful about the future as well. “Although our country is currently experiencing economic uncertainty, among other problems, the underpinnings of the American spirit remain. On the whole we are still a people who believe that inalienable rights are God-given, not a matter of government grace, and that hard work, self-reliance, and determination can bring about the realization of dreams, regardless of the obstacles our government places in our way,” explained Edward White, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
“We are truly a unique nation, born with reliance upon God’s protection and upon sound values,” he concluded. “Consequently, we should be optimistic about our future no matter the hurdles we are now facing.”
Indeed, as the perpetual unconstitutional expansion of federal power becomes increasingly obvious and destructive, Americans from across the political spectrum are taking action to stop it. And with elections coming soon and a new wave of liberty-minded activists and candidates getting involved to save the Constitution, there is certainly cause for optimism. Cautious optimism, perhaps. But without a doubt, the future could still be very bright — at least if enough Americans stand up for the principles so masterfully laid out in America’s Declaration of Independence some 236 years ago. For now, after enjoying the fireworks, a good place to start might be reading the document itself.