Thursday, July 9, 2009

Liberty For All (Dedicated to my Nieces and Nephew)

by Individualist (
“The Purpose of government is to limit the needs of its citizens from the involvement of the government.”

I spent this Fourth of July with nieces. This year however their crazy uncle embarrassed himself at the Fireworks Display at the River by trying to handout green bandanas purchased at Walmart to anyone who would listen about the cause of the Iranians. I tried to get people involved to very little success. My family wore the bandanas even though they were embarrassed by my antics. They tried to tell me but my refrain was “I cared”.

My precocious niece, I call her RALA B asked me why it was so important. I found myself explaining about Liberty, the founding fathers, their principles and the terrible situation in Iran today. She then put me on the spot, “Why don’t you write something of Freedom on your blog and I’ll take it to show and tell.” So what can I say of our Independence Day and Iran’s predicament. The first thing that comes to my mind is Cripus Attucks and Neda Soltan. They are the first martyrs in their country’s Fight for Freedom.

RALA, I am wholly ill equipped to this task. I want to explain to you why Freedom is so important. I want you to understand why it is the best thing our country has to offer its citizens. I want to ensure that you see the real meaning of Freedom and why you should care deeply when you see the garden that grows those flowers trampled by knaves on black bikes with sticks and guns. Why it is important to get involved in seeing the fruits of the Tree of Liberty grow in soil that has been salted by the blood red stains of Tyranny.

So if you will indulge me I have decided to borrow from the words of great men who helped to found this country. Those Great men who wrote “something” of Freedom to instruct their children, the people of the Thirteen Colonies of England. You may not understand everything at first. I think you will find as I have that you must from time to time come back to these writings to have further mysteries revealed.

I will begin first with the man who I think without dissent can be likened to America’s Spark of Enlightenment. A prolific writer I will suggest we begin our tutelage with the treatise he wrote “on Liberty and Necessity”.

Liberty and Necessity

This is a philosophical treatise on the nature of God and Free Will and an attempt to explain Good and Evil in this world and why God permits it. One quote stands out:

“If a continual Weight is not applied, the Clock will stop. And as soon as the Avenues of Uneasiness to the Soul are choked up or cut off, we are dead, we think and act no more. This Uneasiness, whenever felt, produces Desire to be freed from it, great in exact proportion to the Uneasiness. Thus is Uneasiness the first Spring and Cause of all Action; for till we are uneasy in Rest, we can have no Desire to move, and without Desire of moving there can be no voluntary Motion. The Experience of every Man who has observed his own Actions will evince the Truth of this; and I think nothing need be said to prove that the Desire will be equal to the Uneasiness, for the very Thing implies as much: It is not Uneasiness unless we desire to be freed from it, nor a great Uneasiness unless the consequent Desire is great.”

Now to be fair the main premise of Mr. Franklin’s thesis is to explain that the soul’s actions are therefore only taken in this life and in death we return to its state before we are born, one that I am not sure is solidly explained or that I wholly accept but that is a discussion for another day. The ideas I want to discuss are about pleasure being derived from the overcoming of pain. These do strike a chord with me and I think are germane to this debate for one reason. Necessity is the first enemy of Liberty. It in one sense as Mr. Franklin explains is what drives us to act and to want to be free. It is as Mr. Franklin states the natural order of the soul when experiencing pain to act in order to be free from it thus granting pleasure. So too is it the natural state of individuals in a society when controlled and oppressed by the government to want to be extricated from that authority thus granting the pleasure of Freedom.

As Mr. Franklin is our inspiration, our spark of enlightenment then so too is the next man the Engineer of Liberty. He is the industrialist whose words gave us the practical application of thought to define our Engine of Freedom and develop the ideas of our constitutional government. He is by his own pen the purveyor of “Common Sense”.

Common Sense

Common Sense is a famous pamphlet which was published anonymously by an Englishman named Thomas Paine which is considered to be the blueprint for the ideas of independence that fueled the American Revolution and created the Blueprint for our Republic. Here is a quote from this pamphlet.

“SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.
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: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

The relevant points here are that no matter who the actors behind a government are, that left unchecked they will assume more power and eventually abuse it. We are instructed to remember that our culture, our society and our desires as individuals are separate and distinct from the state. When we look to governments to provide for us security and well being we will instead obtain oppression and frustration. This is important since the original revolutionaries in Iran have stated their goal was freedom. Even the Islamic leaders stated that goal of an Islamic Republic was to ensure the rights of the people by following the Will of God. Through Thomas Paine we gain the insight that the best government is the one that preserves the rights of the individuals. Incorporating Ben Franklin’s religious insights we see that a government which enhances Free Will enhances God’s Will because it was God’s Choice to give Man Free Will. He wants us thereby to use that Free Will.

If Mr. Paine is the Engineer who drove the Engine of Liberty then this next individual is the steam whistle that sounds to get that engine moving. More than any efforts of the other founding fathers, this man’s speech at the second Virginia Revolutionary Convention on March 23, 1775 galvanized the nation on its course. He was the fire starter of the revolution.

Liberty or Death

At the end of his famous speech Patrick Henry said the following:

“There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.……
……..Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.”

“Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! “

Here then RALA is the cost of obtaining Freedom. It is the last full measure of devotion given again and again by patriots, soldiers and even innocent citizens going about their day. We remember the dates of these events, December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001. We remember the places, Pearl Harbor and Gettysburg. Patrick Henry reminds us that obtaining and keeping our Freedoms will take brave action and constant vigilance. Every child will know this from the moment they are faced with a school yard bully. Only those that stand up will gain that Freedom and keep it. The forces of the statists and dictators must be met everywhere they assert their control for like a potato chip they cannot stop at dominating one person, they will want more. While we have a President who worries about diplomacy and does not wish to “meddle” in events in Iran and now China we have to ask “Why do we stand here idle?” Will the regimes stop at the borders of Iran, will they be satisfied with just the Jews who live in Israel. No Mr. Henry points to the threat we face and asks us to meet it while we still can.

As Patrick Henry is the Fire of the Revolution, the voice that sings the Song for Freedom, this Great Scholar can be thought of as the Prophet of Liberty. He like Moses who brought down the Ten Commandments gives us with words inspired by his love of God and his fellow man a Declaration of Freedom. This is the Declaration of Independence.

Declaration of Independence

Now many may at first balk when I state that Mr. Jefferson’s words were inspired by God or that I am somehow equating these words with the text of the Torah, the Bible or the Koran. I cannot explain these texts to you since I will admit I am not privy to discussions with the Deity beyond whatever thoughts may arise in my mind on those occasions that I do take time to meditate and pray. I am not qualified to speak as to what is entailed in making these three tomes “Holy” except to say that by the fervor of their followers I believe that they do have positive effects on my fellow man when viewing the actions of their believers. On my better days I myself can even be held in that camp.

What I am saying is this. That Mr. Jefferson sat in a room on June 11, 1776 and for Seventeen days he labored in deep thought and prayer to write a document that would justify to the world the actions of the colonies in demanding their freedom. He chose his words carefully and he explained in a way more eloquent than I could muster that such an act was a choice and a duty of Men as directed by almighty God. When a man writes thus as Mr. Jefferson had, even if he does not realize it, he is taking upon himself a role akin to that of a biblical prophet. He is speaking his mind to the authorities as to the direction God expects them to take. He is usually not of the clergy or ruling power and is correcting them as to what he thinks is God’s Path. In the bible there were true prophets and false prophets. In reviewing this man’s life, in seeing what he is requesting, I feel that it is obvious that Thomas Jefferson was speaking from the Heart in a principled position come to in no short order through many hours of deliberation with himself and the Creator. I feel also that his words are timeless and will resound in all generations to come. The words in this document proclaim the duty of all men to seek their Freedom, every day and in every way great and small.

“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”

Mr. Jefferson said it all RALA. Freedom is a Gift from God. It is made available to all men and the greatest sin that one could potentially perform is to take that Freedom from another individual for your own Self Aggrandizement or Ambition. It is always the Politician that performs the greatest Evil. God made each and every one of us and he placed us here I believe to see what we could do with the short time that he has allotted to us. We are given Free Will as a grand experiment. As any Father he is proud of our accomplishments, sorrowed at our pains, joyous when we are happy, satisfied when we do right and disappointed when we do wrong. It is in this way that our existence serves His purpose. Even those who do not believe in Him or who turn from Him teach the Deity the one thing He cannot know until we have acted. That is what choice we shall make with our own Free Will. Thus I believe in the same Individualism of our Founding Fathers. That government should increase and not limit our Freedom. That society should be allowed to thrive to the extent that it can without the limits of Government. That we as individuals should serve the interests of Society and not the State because Tyranny arises when we assume that these two separate things are one.

So in conclusion there are those that question supporting the efforts of the people of Iran to obtain Democracy. They say we are meddling. We are lectured that the tyrants will make accusations of us if we enter into the situation. We are told the embattled opposition candidate strongly disagrees with our country’s course of action, anyways so it is not in our best interests.

Thomas Jefferson tells us that it is our duty to throw off government that reduces people to a state of absolute despotism. When the Tyrants kill the innocent for speaking their mind, we must do what we can to help those who are being oppressed. Otherwise we will one day find ourselves under the despot’s thumb.

When I read the Declaration of Independence I say to myself, “Amen” which means “I believe it”. I hope RALA that you shall always have Lady Liberty to guide you and will hold her close to your heart and remember the ending words of our Pledge of Allegiance, “Liberty for All”.


AndrewPrice said...

Nice article Individualist. Let's hope that the people of Iran find their own Henrys, Jeffersons and Franklins. The world could be a much better place if they do.

Anonymous said...

This is SHIT. Keep to yourself and there will be no further confrontations. You know who I am. Stay away.......................

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