Sunday, July 29, 2012
Some things involve “shades of grey”. “Should we do this or do that?” But, there is not a “right vs. wrong” argument in every decision we make. Our days are filled with such choices.
However, there are other areas where we are dealing with black and white situations; is it right or wrong, moral or immoral? Is it okay to steal from your neighbor? No, it is not! We do not have to debate the question and weigh the consequences; the clear and obvious answer is “No”. There are some areas where society has turned morality upside-down. What should be considered as clearly wrong, is now accepted behavior. Does this make it right or moral, now? No, it makes society wrong and immoral.
How about “freedom”? Does this subject fall under the shades of grey or the black and white?
Definition from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: LIB'ERTY, n. [L. libertas, from liber, free.]
1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense… A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.
2. Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This [natural and unlimited] liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.
3. Civil liberty, is the liberty of men in a state of society; or natural liberty, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. Civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.
The (civil) liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the (natural) liberty of others. [Words in parenthesis added for clarification, bold added for emphasis].
“Freedom” or “Liberty”, in its truest sense would most line up with the first definition, which states, “A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.” “Natural liberty” would closely resemble this concept. It is the state where someone does as he pleases without anyone to restrict him. As soon as a government is added to this state; some portion of natural liberties, formerly enjoyed, are taken away. In other words, a man’s actions now face some form of restrictions due to the government. People who experience natural liberty, in its fullest sense, would exist in a society where there are no laws and every man is out for himself – doing whatever he wants.
Under some forms of government, “civil liberty” resides. “…the liberty of men in a state of society…, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation.” [Italics and bold added for emphasis]
America was founded and the Constitution was written to provide a country falling under the concept of “civil liberty”. When the Declaration of Independence was written, they acknowledged that our “rights” come from God; not from man, not from government and not from the laws of man.
From the Declaration of Independence (DOI):
“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…” [Bold added for emphasis]
When the Constitution was written, it was still understood that “rights” come from God. The Constitution did not grant “rights” to the people. The “Bill of Rights” was not added to the Constitution to endow the people with the stated list of rights. These ten amendments spell out restrictions upon the government to not trample on the rights of the people. The government could not grant us rights that we already possessed and which were given to us by God. By “unalienable rights”, is meant that these rights (given to the people by God) cannot be taken away by others or by government. As our rights pre-existed the Constitution, they are clearly not granted by the Constitution or by some federal court.
The government of the United States was fashioned to protect the rights of the people. The Constitution, which was created by the people, was written to provide clear and precise limits and restrictions upon the government which would be formed under the Constitution. The country was formed under the concept of “civil liberties” (as defined above). The people submitted to the supreme law of the land and granted a government the power to perform the specified list of duties contained in the Constitution. For these specific areas, the people would voluntarily have their liberty restricted for the sake of a civilized society.
With the liberty enjoyed by the people in America, a new sense of freedom was found on the Earth. No country in history had been established by the people and for the people, where the people maintained the sovereignty over the government. Hence, “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” (DOI).
From the beginning of our newly formed government, there existed a concern among the founders, that due to the nature of man (greed and lust for power), that liberty would be under attack. America and “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams. Their concerns were well founded as the exact thing they worried about began to take place, almost immediately. For over 200 years, the leaders in government have been adding burdens and further restrictions on the people which were not authorized in the Constitution. We have expanded well beyond the portion of the definition for “civil liberty”, which states; “…only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society…”
We no longer live under the concept of [civil] liberty. That was abandoned long ago. We now live under a concept of restricted liberties, which is not freedom and is not liberty. Our society now resides under a form of tyranny.
From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: TYR'ANNY, n.
Arbitrary or despotic exercise of power; the exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice, or not requisite for the purposes of government. [Bold added for emphasis]
America has passed from unrestricted freedom in a civil society to unrestricted government operating outside of the limits of the Constitution. We have a government that is out of control. Under this government, we have lost our liberty. What we now have is a system where those in power dictate the minutest parts of our lives.
So, what happened to “individual sovereignty”? It is a vanishing cloud of vapor. What about the concept of “individual rights”? We are guilty of giving them away for one purpose or lie after another. We have traded our liberty for a promise of safety or security. Whether it was for protection against an enemy from abroad or for the supposed security granted by social programs; either way, we are guilty of falling for the rhetoric of those who have ulterior designs against us, the ones they are supposed to be serving. Through our laziness, ignorance and lack of attention; we now enjoy restricted liberty, which is bondage.
The Declaration of Independence; which claimed, on our behalf, freedom; also provided the remedy for when our government has gone too far and will not come back.
“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.”
Is this the next step to be taken? I do not believe we are quite there, yet; though we are speedily heading in that direction. At some point, in the near future, if we cannot gain the attention of those in Washington; we will have to make a choice. We can either step up and take our country back from those who have an agenda to destroy its basic foundation and form, those whose greed and lust for power are more important to them than the survival of the United States as a federation of free and independent states; or we can cower and submit, handing over the last shreds of our God-given rights.
America is not in a state of “shades of grey”, we are facing a crossroads of right or wrong, good or bad, freedom or bondage. As Patrick Henry took his stand, he made the following statement:
“Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Can we bring our government back from the brink of our destruction, before it is too late?
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
To Be Free!
By: Mike Foil
July 4, 1776; was like any other day across the thirteen colonies along the eastern part of North America. For most people, who were subjects of the British Crown, it was business as usual. There was a level of tension at various locations among the colonies, such as in Boston; but to the majority of the population, it was an ordinary day; that is, with a most notable exception.
In Philadelphia, a gathering of men were reading over the final version of a document which had the potential of setting their world on fire. These men had concluded that the only way for them, their families and friends, and fellow countrymen to experience self-government and liberty was to declare the colonies to be free and independent states. It was, in fact, a declaration of war with England.
The Declaration of Independence launched what became known as the “American experiment.” It set America on a path unlike any prior nation. Central to this experiment were the concepts of inalienable rights and self-government. They not only ventured into unexperienced territory, politically; they declared that the truths, on which the foundation was being built, were obvious and undeniable.
These men acknowledged that God, the creator, is the source of their rights; and that these rights, as such, cannot be taken away by another. Among these inseparable rights are the right to life, the right to live free and the right for individuals to be free to pursue their own happiness.
In order to protect the individual’s rights, the people formed a government which would obtain its limited powers only by the consent of those people it would govern.
These men acted out of conviction as each was keenly aware that by affixing his signature to that declaration, it could cost them everything. Still, they willingly pledged to each other, “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Why would they take such a dangerous step? Because, they trusted in God for their protection and believed He was leading them in the pursuit of liberty.