LAND OF THE FREE? - NOT ANY MORE
By Joel Turtel
October 14, 2007
In our daily lives, most of us believe we are free Americans. The average person can still go about his business, travel where he wants to go, and freely choose his goals, friends, and career. We still have freedom of speech, the press, trial by jury, and many other liberties our Founding Fathers wrote into the Bill of Rights and Constitution. We are still freer than any other people on Earth.
Yet, consider the following:
We may still have fundamental freedoms of speech and the press, but America is in a transition from liberty to despotism, a halfway house on the road to tyranny. We already have economic tyranny in America. If you add up all the taxes you pay, including income taxes, Social Security, sales, real estate, gasoline, telephone, and dozens of other hidden taxes, government loots over forty percent of your hard-earned income in taxes.
Yet, only a hundred years ago, the average worker paid no more than five percent of his income in taxes. In 1901, there was no income tax, Social Security tax, or most of the other taxes you pay today. In the Middle Ages, medieval rulers took about 20 percent of their serfs’ produce. Our government now taxes us worse than serfs. If government claims the right to forty percent of your income, it claims the right to forty percent of your labor, and forty percent of your life. In effect, the people we “elect” have put us on a chain gang until May 10th of every year, working for the bureaucrats.
Most parents may not see it this way, but local governments, in effect, kidnap your children through public-school compulsory-attendance laws. They force you to send your children to government (public) schools that waste twelve years of your children’s lives and turn them into illiterates. They then tax you to support these so-called “schools.”
“War on Drugs” government SWAT teams can break down your door in the middle of the night without a warrant, based on the drug tip of a malicious, anonymous informant, then threaten you in your own living room. Drug laws dictate what we can or cannot put in our own bodies. These laws tell us we do not have the right to smoke marijuana, even if we have cancer and the marijuana alleviates the nausea from chemotherapy drugs.
Government tells us we cannot commit suicide if we have terminal cancer with excruciating pain, nor can a doctor assist us to commit suicide. By these laws, government tells us it now owns our bodies. These laws deny our right of free choice for important personal decisions in our lives.
Try building a new home for yourself, and you will run into a hornet’s nest of building department inspectors, zoning commissions, environment impact statements, and local agencies who will tie you up in knots. Try starting a small business and you will need government licenses and approvals. Local, State and Federal tax authorities, like vultures, will then devour your profits with their ever-increasing taxes.
Taxes loot your hard-earned money to pay for dozens of “entitlement programs” such as Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, corporate subsidies, welfare programs, health care for illegal immigrants, and now a “welfare” program for the entire population of Iraq called the Iraq war. Your voluntary consent is not required for these programs. Government forces you to pay for them.
Federal, State, and local police agencies use asset-forfeiture laws to steal the cars, homes, businesses, and bank accounts of innocent people under the pretext of a War on Drugs. Victims of drug raids then have to prove their innocence and sue the agency to get their property back. Asset-forfeiture laws have turned too many local police departments into agencies for legalized looting.
Anti-gun politicians make thousands of gun laws that restrict a woman’s right to protect herself from a rapist, a homeowner’s right to protect himself from a robber in the middle of the night, or American citizens’ right to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution that guarantees our right to bear arms is under massive assault. It may be only a matter of time until we lose this right altogether.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations can control who an employer hires, fires, or promotes, how much he has to pay his employees (minimum wage), and what their “conditions of employment” must be. This same agency can sue an employer into bankruptcy for “discrimination” or other “infractions” of its regulations.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can stop a home builder from building homes, a farmer from farming his land, a rancher from grazing his cattle, an oil company from drilling for desperately needed oil, or a logging company from cutting down trees to give us lumber for new homes. EPA regulations sharply jack up the price of oil and destroy property rights in America for a great and noble cause — to protect “endangered” species like the Alabama mud rat, mosquito-infested swamps called “wetlands,” and “delicate” frozen Arctic wastelands that look like the surface of the moon.
The Food and Drug Administration forces drug companies to spend over $500 million and seven years to get approval for a new drug. It puts pharmaceutical companies through a regulatory torture chamber that strangles the development of thousands of new, life-saving drugs. It has made SWAT-team raids on vitamin stores to “protect” us from Vitamin C and other dangers.
Federal agents can persecute a religious sect they don’t like, as the Feds did in Waco, Texas. They persecuted these people partly because the sect owned allegedly “illegal” firearms, firearms the 2nd Amendment says they had the right to own. After slaughtering innocent women and children in a ball of fire, none of the Federal agents were ever prosecuted or sent to prison for their actions.
Finally, in response to the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Federal government passed an “anti-terror” bill that created secret military tribunals. These tribunals will be like medieval star-chambers, where defendants’ legal rights will be ripped to pieces, and trial by jury will be denied.
These tribunals have set a terrible precedent. It is only a matter of time before government prosecutors expand the vague definition of “terrorism” to an ever-widening list of “crimes” that can be used against American citizens. Government judges and prosecutors will then be able to try and convict Americans without the “messy” need for juries, proof, evidence, or the presumption of innocence.
Does all this sound like “the land of the free?” Government in America is a growing tyranny. It is a government that would shock our Founding Fathers, a government they would consider a greater tyranny than the British monarchy they fought a revolutionary war against. Worse, whatever freedoms we have left are being taken from us at an ever-accelerating rate.
If you, my reader, do not see this, it is not your fault. Your liberty has been taken from you gradually, one new tax and regulation at a time. You have become accustomed to the taxes and regulations. You think they are “normal” and therefore nothing to complain about. You mistakenly believe that because you elect your representatives, and because they enact laws based on majority rule, that their laws, taxes, and regulations are moral and legitimate. It is like your wife or husband not noticing you have gained thirty pounds over the past five years because they see you every day, and the weight gain was gradual.
So it is with gradual tyranny. But if Americans living 150 years ago suddenly came back to life today, they would be shocked, for they would see the stark difference in their freedom.
President Bush and his Republican lemmings continue to waste hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives to protect the “freedom” of the Iraqi people. Well, how about first giving Americans back the freedom that is their birthright, the constitutional freedoms our Founding Fathers fought and died for?
© 2007 Joel Turtel - All Rights
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Joel Turtel, author of Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children, holds a degree in Psychology. For the last ten years he has served as an Education Policy Analyst, studying the climate of today's public schools and its effect on children and parents.
Mr. Turtel has written two books, published over fifty articles, and has been interviewed in both print and broadcast media on the subject. His latest book, Public Schools, Public Menace has garnered national media attention – recently, for example, Dr. Laura Schlessinger featured the book on her nationally syndicated radio show.
Joel Turtel is available to discuss his book Public Schools, Public Menace in the media, at conferences, or with individual groups. Be warned though, you may be shocked by the revelations he has uncovered in America's public-school system.
We may still have fundamental freedoms of speech and the press, but America is in a transition from liberty to despotism...