“Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.” ~ Thomas Paine
After the opening battle in the film Gladiator there is a scene when Marcus Aurelius calls Maximus into his tent and explains to him that he wonders how posterity will remember him. I could be wrong, but I subscribe to the belief that the older one gets the more they think about what their life has meant; what purpose they have served other than carving out a mere existence for themselves. Those thoughts have been plaguing me recently – what purpose has my life served?
While I wouldn’t consider myself ancient, I’m still what you might call old. I was born in 1958 and I’ve seen a lot of change in this country; some of it for good, some, not so much. When John F. Kennedy was elected I was a still a toddler; his assassination would come when I was in kindergarten. The population of the U.S. was 175 million when I was born and the average annual income was around $4,500; the minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. A new Chevy hardtop could be had for $2,200, and the U.S. Post Office had just raised the rate of a first class stamp to $.04. Gas was $.24 a gallon and T Bone steaks were $.89 a lb. Back then you could get tickets to the World Series for $2.10 – if you didn’t mind sitting in the bleachers.
So you could say that I’ve seen a lot of change; and looking back upon it all I have to say that I’m not happy with most of it. I’m not talking about the fact that in my 62 years of existence the price of steaks has increased almost 1000% either; I’m talking about how we’ve lost the one thing that made America a beacon for the rest of the world – liberty.
I hate to have to say this, but when I look around me I see a nation of cowards. Sure, I might get my ass beat if I say that to someone’s face; but they’ll most likely be administering that ass whupping while wearing a face mask. Pretty ironic, isn’t it? When I was young there was a saying that I kept hearing from my parents, and sometimes my schoolteachers; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
I used to question the validity of that statement as I was growing up; seeing as how I was the victim of merciless bullying by some of the more popular students in school. Yet I survived; and if you ask me, I’m better off for it. You see, today I see a country populated by people who fear words; especially those that prove that they don’t have the foggiest idea of what they’re talking about. I see a nation of cowards who live in constant fear; and if you don’t believe me just go to your local supermarket and count the number of people who are, and aren’t, wearing face masks.
However the biggest fear I see is not fear of this Covid virus, it is the fear of being free. If you don’t believe me about that, ask others, ask yourself, what you would do if government suddenly ceased to exist. Does that strike fear into your breasts; cause you to panic? Why? Are you too immature, too irresponsible to provide for all your wants and needs? If the thought of losing government strikes fear into you, then obviously the answer is yes.
I don’t need government to enjoy life; in fact, government tends to be a royal pain in the ass when it comes to enjoying my life to the fullest. Sure, I collect my Social Security checks every month, but that’s only because they took that money from me in the first place; and I feel that after all these years of slaving away to pay taxes to them I deserve a chunk of that money back. But I don’t need government for anything else; it could fall into a giant sinkhole and I wouldn’t shed a single tear. In fact, if it did I’d probably go buy a few cases of beer and call my friends over so we could celebrate the occasion.
Most people will tell you they love the freedom this country offers, but if you were to offer them true freedom they would run away from you as fast as they could; for real freedom entails the responsibility of providing for all their wants and needs without the assistance or aid of others; and that scares the hell out of them. That kind of freedom also causes people to despise those who seek it; for it holds a mirror up to their own cowardice.
It would be pretty easy to prove that people have become so dependent upon the idea of having government to provide things for them; things such as aid, benefits, subsidies, and security. Think about this if you will; there are currently roughly 328 million people living in this country; according to US census data. Out of that 328 million how many of them do you think would have the courage to do what the first settlers to Plymouth did; board a ship and leave all that they knew behind them, to travel to a place where they were unsure of their future, and where unknown perils awaited them?
Those who boarded the Mayflower knew there was no Holiday Inn waiting for them, no WalMart to run to if they ran out of supplies; those things didn’t even exist back then. They knew that if they were to survive they had to carve an existence out through their own hard work and determination. Once that ship dropped them off and departed back to England, they were on their own. Yet the thought of the freedom they might find there outweighed their fear of what dangers they might face. How many out of the current population of 328 million people in America today would take that kind of risk; just for freedom?
November 11th will mark four hundred years, to the day, that those brave families arrived in America to face an uncertain future; all so they could be free. How times have changed when we see people today who are afraid to leave their homes or talk to people who aren’t wearing a face mask; all over a virus that, if the media hadn’t blown it all out of proportion, most people wouldn’t even know existed!
Soon others made the perilous journey across the ocean for a taste of that freedom; often selling themselves into indentured servitude to do so. Soon Colonies dotted the entire eastern seaboard of what would become the United States; composed of people who sought one thing – freedom and a chance to live their lives according to the dictates of their hearts – which can be defined as liberty.
Yet these Colonies were not truly free, they were bound to England and the people inhabiting them considered themselves British subjects. Once these Colonies became prosperous; showed to their government that they were flourishing, government did what it always does, charge the governed for the privilege of being governed; meaning it imposed taxes upon them. This did not sit well with some of the Colonists, as they’d been Colonies for a century and a half without having taxes imposed directly upon the Colonists; so they rebelled. Government then did the only thing it knows how to do; it imposed penalties upon those who refused to obey its edicts; which incited further rebellions.
Finally, in 1776, citing irreconcilable differences, the Colonies decided to seek a divorce from their mother country by declaring their independence. Once again the people who had come to this country to enjoy freedom were called upon to exhibit courage; by rising up against their government. Their independence, their liberty, was not won at the voting booths; it was won on the battlefields of the Revolution; after shedding precious blood to obtain it. That is why Thomas Jefferson eventually wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Most Americans today have forgotten what caused their ancestors to rise up and take up arms against their government. Now they bow down and submit to a government that is far worse than the ones the patriots revolted against in 1776. Today the mantra of most people is, “If you don’t vote you can’t complain.” Today the belief of most people, both Republicans and Democrats, is that if things aren’t going well in this country there is always the next election where we can vote this person out and replace them with someone else; never realizing that it is not the people we elect that is the problem; it is the institution of government itself that is the problem.
Those who signed the Declaration of Independence, and those who fought for the principles it enshrined, risked all they had for those principles; and they hoped that future generations would honor their sacrifices by adhering to those principles. Unfortunately, we haven’t.
The biggest problem in America today, concerning government, is not whether the Republicans or Democrats have screwed things up, it is because the majority of the people in this country simply do not know what purpose government should serve. That purpose is found in the document that our ancestors risked their lives for, the Declaration of Independence:
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.
There are two principles found in that statement, and each of them relates to the other. The first principle is that our rights do not come from government; they come from our Creator. It does not matter if you personally do not believe in God, or in a Creator; those who affixed their signatures to that document did; and it is upon the principles in that document that this country was founded. The second principle is that government exists to secure those rights to the governed; meaning it is the function of government to ensure that each individual is equal in the enjoyment of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
If no form of government existed in this country, our rights still would. Furthermore, if no form of government existed in this country there would be no entity we could look to, vote for, that could assist us in achieving wealth, success, or in maintaining our health and security; that obligation would fall upon each individual to provide those things for themselves. Thomas Jefferson explained his beliefs on the purpose of government quite succinctly in a letter to M.L. Hommande in 1787, “The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.” Does that sound anything like the government we have today; one which provides benefits, subsidies, protective tariffs, health care, and other forms of aid? I thought not.
Not only does government provide aid for us that it wasn’t supposed to provide, it also diminishes our rights and liberty through the many laws it passes; laws that would be of no force if there weren’t an enforcing entity to ensure the people obeyed them. How many times do you think a president, or a legislator went out and forced the people to pay their taxes, or obey the law? I can think of but one instance when this happened; when George Washington led the militia into Pennsylvania to put down the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794; all other times some form of law enforcement has acted as the enforcing arm of the government; and yes, I’m including the men in blue you proudly support when you fly those ‘Thin Blue Line’ flags.
If tyranny is defined as the exercise of power that no one has a right to, and if our government is doing things it was not delegated the authority to do, then our government is, by definition, tyrannical; and so are those who enforce the laws upon us. That is a simple and unavoidable truth that people hide from in this country; for to accept it would shatter their reality and their trust in a system they have come to depend upon to provide them with things it was never its job to provide them with.
Instead of admitting that the institution of government has become tyrannical, they choose to blame the ‘other’ party, because deep down inside they know that if they accept that government has become tyrannical, it then falls upon them to do something about it; and that they fear just as much as they fear freedom itself.
But you see, the Declaration of Independence also contains another principle that few people today want to consider, that “…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.” This isn’t just an option we have; it is our duty to throw off any system of government that seeks to deprive us of our God-given rights.
All this leads to one inevitable conclusion; that the document that established our current system of government sucks, because it does not provide adequate means for the people to restrain it to the limited purposes it was supposed to serve. Had the constitution been written to secure the rights of the governed there would not have been as many loopholes within it that allowed the government to exceed its delegated authority. Furthermore, had it been written to protect our rights, then there would have been clauses included in it that allowed for us to punish those who sought to infringe upon those rights.
Our constitution does neither; making what Spooner said about it undeniable, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
The only reasons we don’t have true freedom in this country is because we don’t know what true freedom is; we don’t know what purpose government is supposed to serve, and we lack the courage to stand up to those who would deny us our freedom.
Voting will not restore your freedom, not this late in the game when freedom has already been lost. As John Adams once wrote to his wife Abigail, “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”
The only way to restore freedom to this country, if that is even possible, is to tear down the system that has stolen it from us, and to erect a new system with better safeguards for our rights and liberty. Unfortunately, that will never happen so long as people believe that all our problems are due to the ‘other’ political party and not government itself. It will never happen so long as we depend upon government; for as the old adage goes, one does not bite the hand that feeds them. Finally, it will never happen because the people of this country have lost their courage to stand up for their rights and liberty.
To be sure there are some of us who do, but we are few and far between; and if you don’t believe me, just go outside and count how many people you see in WalMart who AREN’T wearing face masks. If you are so afraid of a virus that you won’t leave your home without a face mask, you damned sure aren’t going to risk your life defending your other rights.
There ain’t no fixing this people, not at the ballot box, and certainly not by me sitting here writing these rants to an audience that doesn’t give a shit. I began this by discussing what purpose my life served. I used to think it was to share knowledge and truth with people; but I’ve come to the realization that most people don’t care about knowledge and truth; they only care about comfort and security. That leads me to believe that maybe I’m not here to save this country; maybe I’m here to record its downfall so that posterity will have a record of how badly we screwed it up.
October 3, 2020
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: email@example.com.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told). Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.