Our forebears understood that individual liberty was indispensable to progress and happiness, that without it man was but a slave to the state, and that with it there are no limits to the human potential. Among the subjects of the Crown were a revolutionary few who were willing to fight and die for freedom, so that their families, kinsmen, and future generations would enjoy the blessings of liberty. Then, as now, the enemies are the same: regulatory entanglement from an unelected administrative state and over taxation.
Faced with the unwillingness of the colonists to accept any form of taxation without representation even to the point of tarring and feathering tax collectors, the administration of George III adopted the so-called Coercive Acts to punish the citizens of Boston. Through committees of correspondence, patriots in all of the colonies adopted the cause of Boston as their own, viewing the threat against one as a threat against them all. Although a subset of the universe of all British subjects and constantly exposed by Tories in their midst, the American patriots successfully avoided taxes, overcame restrictions on trade, and in due course defeated tyranny in favor of a Constitution of liberty.
Viewed with disdain, even disgust, by King George and the Tory leadership in Parliament, the American cause for liberty nonetheless inspired several members of Parliament sympathetic to the American cause, who defended the right of the colonists to leave free of entanglements. The language of liberty recorded in America became universal, inspiring revolutions outside of the colonies, including the overthrow of monarchy in France, albeit with a tyranny of democracy run riot.
The genius encapsulation of the rights of man that is the Declaration of Independence became a powerful rallying cry against which neither the British King nor the Tory Administration ever offered an alternative thesis of comparable suasion. Indeed, the world has yet to witness a defense of tyranny that can compare with the stirring “self-evident” truths that animate the language of liberty contained in the American Declaration of Independence.
Although comprised of largely undisciplined men, the Continental Army proved itself superior in killing power and tactics to the professionally trained and disciplined soldiers of Britain in the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point of the war for independence.
As we celebrate Independence Day in the presence of governments federal and state that have far more in common with the overbearing power that characterized that of the Hanoverian Kings of England toward the American colonies, we can nevertheless appreciate, as our forebears did then, that there is no force on earth equal to that of individual liberty. The history of the world is proof that even the most oppressive regimes fail in the end to arrest the spirit of liberty that animates man, that, as our Declaration of Independence recognized, is endowed by our Creator in each of us. Repeatedly tyrannical regimes collapse as the spirit of liberty enlivens us to topple those regimes and restore governments that defend the unalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and property. Indeed, as our Declaration explains, just governments are instituted among men to protect the rights of the governed and whenever governments so instituted become an enemy of those rights, it is the duty of the people to alter or abolish them.
We today struggle as our forebears did against the arbitrary will of the administrative state and against overtaxation. While modern governments depend on redistribution of wealth to curry favor with a government created class of dependents, roughly equal in number to the productive, the Achilles heel of government remains the same as it was in the 18th century. In the end overtaxation exhausts the productive who flee from it and regulation so stifles productivity that the overregulated and unemployed come to share a like burden. When the oppression thus affects all who produce and all who pay taxes alike, they abandon the state and the state finds its ability to redistribute wealth and provide services for the entitled class impossible to sustain. Then, the entitled class who have depended on state benefits and services likewise turn on the state. The entitled class, effectively entitled no more, turns in support of the productive class, and all work to alter the tyrannical state into one that defends the unalienable rights of man. We are caught up in that evolution at present.
The struggle for liberty is eternal. It is so precisely because just as we come near the zenith of freedom following alteration of a tyrannical regime to one that defends liberty, the political forces that naturally favor vestiture of power in single hands and use of the resources of the productive to further the ends of those in power continually work to undue the gains made for freedom. Inevitably, as our Founding Fathers well understood, they remove the meaning of those barriers to tyranny that exist in our Constitution, rendering the barriers mere parchment yet again. And as they do so they ignite the sacred fire of liberty in those of us who love our Constitution and favor liberty over tyranny. While the articulate among us who defend liberty as a constant remain a minority, over time the message of liberty resonates in the hearts of a majority as the tyranny of the state becomes ever more unbearable for increasing numbers of people. We then reach a tipping point in politics like the tipping point at Saratoga in the revolutionary war. At that point, the friends of liberty arise and achieve electoral victory. At first they remain in a minority but over time as oppression increases they arrive at a majority, and then the work of restoring liberty begins.
© 2017 Jonathan Emord – All Rights Reserved
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