It may seem like a cynical question to ask when most of the nation is planning to celebrate the July 4th with food, friends and fireworks. But if we were to be honest with ourselves, then whether or not we are still deserving of our founders’ sacrifices is a fair question to examine, given recent developments.
Last week, the Supreme Court grabbed President Obama by the bit and ruled thirteen consecutive times — sometimes unanimously — that he exceeded his authority on issues ranging from recess appointments to various coercive measures that force Americans to cede private property, personal choice and religious freedom. A panel of appellate judges also ordered the Obama administration to release a 40-page memo that outlined the president’s legal justification for ordering the CIA to kill American citizens. But they did so only because Obama first claimed the memo was a state secret, but afterward made the political decision to leak a portion of it to his lackeys at NBC News.
Sadly, neither the court’s justification nor the memo itself ever mentioned the Fifth Amendment. Our founding fathers, who knew all too well about the dangers of arbitrary and unjust punishment, enshrined due process into the Bill of Rights. The Administration of Justice Act passed by Parliament in 1774, which was punishment for the Boston Tea Party outlined in the more “comprehensive” Coercive Acts, allowed Royal governors to order that trials of accused take place in Great Britain or other loyal regions within the Empire. Together, the colonists referred to Parliament’s legislation as the Intolerable Acts.
But George Washington dubbed the Administration of Justice Act the “Murder Act,” and went on to lead a revolution to cast off such despotism. Our founding fathers would never have tolerated the execution of American citizens by executive fiat on the grounds a citizen “may be difficult to arrest,” because they are abroad and “do not wear a uniform of an enemy combatant.”
Presidents from both parties have stretched the constitutional limits of executive power and expanded the size and scope of government for most of the twentieth century. They have done so at the expense of the people’s power, which was constitutionally allocated to our state and national legislative bodies, mainly because voters have populated them with members who have not the virtue nor the courage and competence to stop them.
Following the Hobby Lobby decision last week, Bill O’Reilly said in his talking points memo that “if one more liberal justice gets on the Supreme Court,” then individual liberties are gone.
Yet, most American voters don’t understand the significance of the president’s power to make judicial appointments, and the Senate too often is derelict in its duty to confirm justices that follow the Constitution. It is absolutely astounding that four of the nine justices on the highest court in the land believe religious freedom should take a back seat to the forced support of the abortion and prescription drug industries. But again, government is government, and government is tyrannical by its nature. In the end, we can only blame them for so much before we begin to look in the mirror at our own dereliction of civic duty.
The vast majority of voters never even consider the future make-up of the Supreme Court when deciding which candidate to vote for in presidential and Senate elections. And even if that changed in 2016, a large amount of American voters would still be persuaded by emotional and false arguments from people like Sandra Fluke. Aside from Megyn Kelly, a shamefully corrupt media not only refused to challenge the blatant falsehoods regurgitated by Fluke and others after the decision, but also helped to perpetuate them.
Sandra Fluke and those persuaded by her lies might be surprised to learn that religious activists were responsible for the Declaration at Seneca Falls, which resurrected the women’s suffrage movement after it took second place to abolition; another movement established and carried out by evangelical Protestants who banded together as “Holy Warriors” against the evil enterprise of slavery. It was only because of the principles found in the Law’s of Natural and Nature’s God that our founders justified independence in the first place, and they were preached of in sermons in houses of God throughout the colonies.
So, how did a republic of self-governing states, largely made up of autonomous communities populated with empowered individuals, who focused on maintaining strong family units, end up succumbing to a strong, despotic centralized government?
When the president and Congress expand government, which by nature further degrades individual liberties, they never step up to the microphone and tell the American people their true intention. No, I dare say not. Instead, it’s always either some manufactured moral imperative, a “necessary” government response to a manufactured crisis, or to protect us from some manufactured security threat.
The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments, as was also the case with ObamaCare, were argued as moral imperatives. But rather than further the people’s interest, they concentrated power in and around Washington D.C., and created careerism in the now-derelict Senate. The progressive pension reform movement to deal with the supposed crisis of superannuated workers, was completely manufactured and unwanted, but it sure was a nifty way to literally invent retirement, hurt the extended family and weaken the Protestant work ethic.
I could go on and on, and each instance would be a revelation to most American voters. The bottom line is that we are pawning off what are necessary civic duties for those who wish to live in a free society to a government we naively believe we can control. Even worse, some of us know better, but for free contraceptives or a government check that doesn’t even keep pace with inflation, or whatever the poison, we are willing to trade our liberties.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that a citizen has “no right in opposition to his social duties.” Or, in other words, if you want to be free, then you need to take responsibility for that freedom in every area of your life. Too many Americans aren’t taking that responsibility, so I ask: Are we are no longer sufficiently virtuous to be free? Do we deserve the despotism that is barreling down upon us?
Honestly, our founding fathers would say no, we aren’t. Only 58 percent of Americans consider Independence Day to be one of the most important holidays, and a pathetic 44 percent say they didn’t often feel proud to be American. Large majorities of American believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and that big government is the greatest threat today, yet only 28 percent said that America was the greatest nation on earth. How can expect we have what it takes to preserve freedom when so few of us think the only country on Earth built upon its principles is worth fighting for?
“I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free,” Samuel Adams wrote after the American Revolution. ” She may long enjoy her freedom and independence if she will. It depends on her virtue.”
Happy Fourth of July, America. Maybe next year we will have virtue enough to come to the understanding why it was first called Independence Day.
Note: Virtue is about sacrifice and personal responsibility, which too many of us are sorely lacking. But the good news is that virtue and charity is contagious. So, in the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, who often discounted his services when they would provide a benefit to the general public, particularly regarding educating the public, I will offer a 25% off discount code (Enter: BVBU424N) for “Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract,” which can be used on the CreateSpace online bookstore. Or, for Smashwords ebook online store readers, enter LB59P.
Also, don’t forget to download your FREE copy of “The Meaning of Independence Day – An American Holiday” from the PPD Library.