Independence Day in an Age of Dependence

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Washington, DC — “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.”

Those are the beginning words of the Declaration of Independence which was adopted by the Continental Congress and signed by our nation’s founders on the 4th day of July in 1776. That is the document we celebrate on Independence Day.

However, we now live in an age where our government has claimed authority to define our fellow Americans as either “essential” or “nonessential,” has claimed authority to tell us what we wear in public, operates a massive welfare and entitlement state, claims to be the policeman of the world and controls nearly every aspect of our lives from healthcare to how the next generation will be educated. How, in an age of dependence, do we celebrate Independence Day?

The best way is to learn our history and why our founders “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor,” the final words of that declaration. In doing so, hopefully we can rediscover that love of liberty, that place where freedom and personal responsibility intersect, that has been lost.

If you remember one thing about our founding fathers remember this, that they were almost all extremely wealthy under British rule and they gave it all up for independence. They didn’t care about their fortunes. They didn’t complain about government not creating jobs for them. They simply desired freedom, the ability to make it on their own and to keep the fruits of their labor.

Patrick Henry is credited with convincing the Second Virginia Convention in 1775 to deliver Virginia’s troops to the cause of liberty in the Revolutionary War with an impassioned speech ending with these powerful words: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Richard Maybury, for the Mises Institute, makes the important point that the Revolution didn’t start with the founding fathers. It started hundreds of years earlier with the European colonists who also sought freedom, both religious and economic, from tyrants.

“America was a vast, uncharted wilderness beyond the reach of the politicians and tax collectors,” Maybury wrote. “It was nominally under the control of the European governments, but everyone knew it was too big and too far away for laws to be enforced there.”

Maybury notes that those colonists, and later the founding fathers, were “rebellious, individualistic smugglers and tax evaders,” and from that spirit “America quickly became the most prosperous place on earth.”

“Unfortunately …. America did not remain beyond the reach of government. As the colonists’ wealth increased, politicians began making more and more efforts to steal — ‘tax’ — this wealth. More and more bureaucrats and troops were sent to the colonies to enforce laws and shut down the underground economy,” Maybury writes.

We find ourselves in a similar time, or a cycle where tyranny has returned to our land. As the early colonists broke free from their chains, they created great wealth and the tyranny returned. Our founders fought that tyranny and died broke, but they took the chains off again allowing future generations to create immense wealth.

But in the process, we the people have actually demanded more and more from government, unlike our founders. Paul Harvey, in his 1965 broadcast “Freedom to Chains,” he states that we have handed over more and more authority to the government “until the government is all powerful and the individual is hardly anything at all. The government is all powerful and the people are cattle.”

Once upon a time, Americans demanded to be free from chains. They took responsibility for their own lives.

“Well sir, when that early pioneer turned his eyes toward the west, he didn’t demand that somebody else look after him,” Harvey said. “He didn’t demand a free education. He didn’t demand a guaranteed rocking chair at eventide. He didn’t demand that somebody else take care of him if he got ill or got old. There was an old-fashioned philosophy in those days that a man was supposed to provide for his own and for his own future. He didn’t demand a maximum amount of money for a minimum amount of work. Nor did he expect pay for no work at all. Come to think of it, he didn’t demand anything. That hardhanded pioneer just looked out there at the rolling plains stretching away to the tall green mountains and then lifted his eyes to the blue skies and said: ‘Thank you God. Now I can take it from here.’”

John Adams said in 1818: “The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people, a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.”

As Maybury notes, Adams was inspired by the sermon from Reverend Jonathan Mayhew. Maybury writes: “In that sermon Mayhew argued that there is a Higher Law than any government’s law. The people, he said, are required to obey their government’s law only when it is in agreement with Higher Law. Indeed, he argued, if the government violates Higher Law, ‘we are bound to throw off our allegiance’ and ‘to resist.’”

So, celebrate and enjoy this Independence Day, but do it in the spirit of defiance against King Biden or any of the underling governors, politicians or bureaucrats. Defy their unjust orders and obey God’s law.

“Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”—The moto on the Great Seal of the United States, suggested by Benjamin Franklin.

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