Has Liberty Been Lost Forever?

We have a rule. We never free a mind once it’s reached a certain age.
It’s dangerous, the mind has trouble letting go.

The Matrix

~Morpheus~ The Matrix

When a person presents another person with a piece of information, especially one that contradicts an existing belief, the person receiving it has but three options; 1) blindly accept it, 2) reject it outright, or 3) seek to verify it and then come to their own conclusion based upon the results of their research.

When I write these short, okay, sometimes lengthy, articles, I have never asked you to choose option 1. I have always fervently hoped that you would read what I say and then go out and do some research to either verify what I said, or prove me wrong. Blind trust is foolish and is what leads people to join cults and support tyrants.

However, what bothers me the most is when people choose option #2; reject whatever it is I have said without giving the information a chance to stand on its own merit. There can be but two reasons why people choose this option. The first reason is that they simply do not care; this is known as apathy and is the killer of freedom. A people who are apathetic about the concerns of their government are ripe for having their freedom taken from them by those who lust for power; i.e. tyrants.

The second reason is Cognitive Dissonance and is explained by that opening quote from the film The Matrix. Cognitive Dissonance is what occurs when one is presented with facts which contradict currently held beliefs; the stress and emotional unbalance a person experiences when they realize that everything they had been told was a lie.

In 1770 John Adams was asked to represent the British Soldiers who fired into the crowd in Boston in what has become known as the Boston Massacre. Imagine, if you will, how Adams must have felt as a Bostonian, living among the other residents of Boston who were outraged by the actions of these soldiers, yet having to represent them in their defense.

As much as the shootings may have sickened Adams, he was not guided by his emotions or peer pressure; the truth was what guided him. In his closing argument he beseeched the jurors to put aside their emotions, or their Cognitive Dissonance, and render a verdict based upon only the information they heard in the courtroom, stating, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Why is it that so many people today refuse to do just that; to accept the facts for what they are and base their beliefs upon something that can be backed up by irrefutable evidence?

Why is it that people refuse to accept that the Civil War was not fought over slavery when the evidence clearly proves that fact? Abraham Lincoln made numerous statements saying that his goal was not to free the slaves; only to save the Union. Sure, the North’s tinkering or interfering with the practice of slavery may have been one of the reasons which led the Southern States to secede, but it wasn’t the only one. And there would have been no war had Lincoln let the Southern States secede in peace. The war itself was fought because Lincoln did not believe that a State had the right to separate from the Union; and he felt it was his right to use force to coerce them into obeying his beliefs.

Why is it that people continue to put their trust and faith into a system that has clearly abused the trust and authority granted them and made a tyrannical use of that power? When James Madison state the following in Federalist 45 it was not an idle comment, it was a statement of fact, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

Why is it that people refuse to accept that the reasons they vote for a candidate are the reason why government has all this unconstitutionally held power in the first place? Why is it that they cannot see that by their voting for candidates based upon promises which clearly exceed the specific grant of power given government they are giving their consent to be ruled by tyrants? Why is it that the distribution of powers and the limits imposed upon government no longer matter to the average American? Why is it that these same Americans are so willing to allow government to violate their rights under the pretense of keeping them safe?

The Mayflower settlers came to this country in 1620 and our government was established in 1789. That’s nearly 170 years that our country existed without this system of government. Sure we lived under a monarch, or a tyrant if you prefer to call him that, for many years before gaining our independence; but the fact is we did not have a centralized government as we do now for 169 years.

Less than ten years after our Constitution went into effect and our system of government began operating, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Arthur Campbell in which he said, “It was by the sober sense of our citizens that we were safely and steadily conducted from monarchy to republicanism, and it is by the same agency alone we can be kept from falling back.”

When Jefferson said sober sense he did not mean emotional response, or as we call them today, knee jerk reactions, to the events of the time. When those 56 delegates argued whether to secede from the British Empire and form their own nation they did not do it hastily. They understood the solemnity of the decision they were faced with making and realized the dangers associated with it. In short, they examined the facts and came to the conclusion that to remain subjects under the King would only lead to things getting worse and their rights being further violated.

Even if they’d had the option, not for a second do I think they would have sought relief for their suffering at the voting booth. That is why Jefferson wrote the following into the Declaration of Independence, “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.” (My emphasis)

Had you chosen to study the facts, learn the powers given your government, the nature of your rights, and the delicate balance of power between the people, the States and the federal government, you would have been forced to accept the fact that our government today is guilty of far worse crimes against those it is supposed to represent than the King of England ever was against the Colonies.

Yet were one to publicly declare that we must tear down our government to restore our liberty they would be met with boos and called all manner of names; and that’s if they are lucky. Most likely they become targets of that same government; to be jailed, or possibly gunned down for being a threat to society. But who is the threat; those who speak the truth or the government which seeks to keep you in the dark in regards to the crimes it commits against you?

John Adams once wrote, “The right of a nation to kill a tyrant, in cases of necessity, can no more be doubted, than to hang a robber, or kill a flea. But killing one tyrant only makes way for worse, unless the people have sense, spirit and honesty enough to establish and support a constitution guarded at all points against the tyranny of the one, the few, and the many.”

Words like that could get a person into trouble these days were they spoken aloud. Then again the early 20th Century historian Charles A. Beard said, “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.”

Shouldn’t that be an indicator that the currently held beliefs and principles by a majority of the people in this country have drifted far from those who founded it? What does it say about a people, a government, when one who speaks of liberty and limited government finds their words and their character coming under attack?

In 1944 Billings Learned Hand delivered a speech in which he said, “I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.”

Has liberty died in the hearts and minds of most Americans? Have the people become so comfortable in their servitude that they fear those who threaten it? Have emotional reactions taken the place of logical discourse and a discussion of the facts?

If you want my opinion the answers would be yes, yes and yes.

Thomas Paine once said that “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Freedom isn’t free; it never has been and it never will be. It requires the constant vigilance of those who wish to hold on to it, and it requires the courage to fight for it if needs be. But first and foremost it takes an understanding of what freedom really is.

If you think that freedom is the ability to choose between a Chevy and a Toyota; Levi’s or Dockers; steak or chicken, you are mistaken. Freedom is the right to order your affairs as you deem fit. Freedom is the right to defend your life, your property, and your liberty against all those who threaten them. Freedom is the ability to speak your mind without having someone else try to silence you because the things you say offend them. Freedom is the ability to enjoy the fruits of your labors without having them taken from you and given to those who have not earned them.

Now tell me, using those guidelines, can you honestly say that you are free?

If not, then why the hell aren’t you doing something about it instead of voting for people who will only perpetuate your bondage?

Maybe John Adams was right when he said, “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.”

I pray that he was wrong, but from the ignorance, the apathy, and the unwillingness of people to accept that their beliefs are wrong, I do not see how we can restore our country to one based upon liberty when the people don’t seem to care about liberty anymore.

This isn’t The Matrix where I can plug a jack into your skull and send the facts directly into your brains. You are going to have to make a conscious decision to either go on believing the lies you believe to be truth, or seek out the real truth on your own. I can help you along in that journey should you decide to undertake it, but as Morpheus told Neo, “I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”

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