Tag Archives: liberty

The Declaration of Independence

This holiday is often called “The 4th of July” rather than Independence Day.  It is important for us to take the time to remember that we do not celebrate a day in July, but we celebrate the statement of freedom and personal independence that was made on that day.  We have traditions for every holiday associated with their meanings, but Independence Day has become barbecues and fireworks.

declaration of independence

The Declaration of Independence was not just the start of the American Revolution, but of a revolution in thought.  The key phrase is this one:

“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.”

This was the basis for America.  That our rights are granted by God, not by governments.  That governments exist ONLY to serve their people.  In fact, the most radical concept was this one:

“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…”

There is no freedom or liberty unless we remember those two sentences and embrace them.  Our founding fathers risked their property, reputation, and their very lives for this belief.  Please take a moment on this Independence Day to consider the Declaration, reprinted below including the brave people who signed it, signing their own death warrants were they to fail.

signing of the declaration of independence

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, –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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
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.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
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:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

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Get the Government out of Marriage and Most Everything Else Too!

Get the Government out of Marriage and Most Everything Else Too!

I was at dinner the other night and someone, knowing my penchant for history and religion, asked me about monogamy and why the Bible teaches only one man and one woman.  They were shocked when I said that many in the Bible had multiple spouses and concubines.  The New Testament, through Paul, encourages you to dedicate yourself to God and not take a mate, but to be married if you would be carried away by lust without a spouse.  Better to have someone to mate with than to try to be celibate if you are unable.  For most of human existence, marriage was ONLY a religious institution.  I have tried in vain so far to see where it crossed over into a governmental regulation.

Getting government involved in anything we don’t have to always results in a loss of liberty.  Marriage should remain a religious only ceremony.  If your religion prohibits same sex marriage, so be it.  If your religion, or lack thereof, allows it, so be it.  That is real freedom.  People like me that are right-wing Christian fundamentalists should avoid having the government get involved.  If they can force a system of beliefs on some, they will do it to us as well.  We need to let people live by their choices, that is why God gave us free will in the first place.  Neither side should fun to Big Government to limit freedoms of others.

If government wants to pay for birth control, they should not force Catholics to pay for it.  I personally disagree with Catholics, but I don’t want them to lose their freedoms.  If same sex couples want to get married by a willing person with the proper paperwork to marry them, so be it.  I don’t want them to lose their freedom either.  I don’t want the government to take away our guns, tell us who we can marry, how we can worship, who we can hire, what we can pay them, what light bulbs we can buy, how much our toilet can flush, when we can use a fireplace, or a million other invasive things they do now.

We are the frogs in the pot, with the temperature slowly rising and we do not jump out before we are cooked.  When will we stop fighting through government to limit others, and wake-up and fight together to limit government power?  We need to return to a government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people.  I have faith in my fellow men and women that we can live our lives the way we wish without a nanny government deciding everything for us.

I am for freedom, personal liberty, and your ability to make your own choices, whether I agree with them or not.  I want the same in return.  Neither of us will get it if a nameless, faceless bureaucrat decides for us.

 

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Our Increasing Lack of Freedom

I remember my old showers, the ones where the water pressure was nice and strong, and the water was hot.  Now, we have low flow devices mandated in our faucet heads and temperature turned down on the water heaters.  When I was a kid, I would walk around with my shotgun shooting at birds and squirrels and we would burn our trash in barrels in the backyard.  We would build our own sheds without a permit.  We would chop down trees and reclaim land without permission from the federal government.  All those things are felonies now.

We could flush our toilets once, because it had enough gallons to actually flush correctly.  I could even buy lightbulbs of my own choice.  It is a good thing that the benevolent government of unionized bureaucrats knows how to live my life better than I do.  They protect me from too much salt, from coconut oil on my popcorn, from grandmothers in wheelchairs in airports.  The same smart people you see when you go to the Motor Vehicle Department, the Post Office or any public agency are there to be smarter than you and protect you.  You don’t need freedom, you need protection.  You may do something unsafe or foolish.

There are never enough government programs to truly protect you, so you need to pay more and more in taxes so you can be better protected.  Ignore the fact that the average federal employee makes over $72,000 a year and over a third make six figures.  So what if the private sector pays less and usually around $40,000 on average?  The people in government are smarter than you and protect you, they deserve more.  When unemployment in the country reached over 10% and 500,000 people stopped even looking for work, take solace that the number of federal employees increased and most got substantial raises.

So, let’s not talk about cutting government, even though we would have no deficit if we went just to 2007 spending levels.  The government knows better what to do with our money and our lives.  Freedom is just unsafe because we don’t exercise it responsibly.  The following is a repost from my oldest sister, Penny:

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