Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”, a Trojan Horse in Obama’s City of Hope and Change

238 years ago Patrick Henry gave one of the most influential and moving speeches ever, the overriding sentiment being perfectly summed up in his final statement:  “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Reading through the short speech (which is actually a reconstruction, since nobody transcribed it when Patrick Henry spoke before the Second Virginia Convention on that day in March, 1775), I was stuck by how relevant it is today.  The possibility of armed conflict with our Dear Leader really isn’t the issue, but we still stand to lose as much as did those who forged the stage on which we stand today.  The Far Left Progressives, since they “know what is good for us,” are willing to deny us any and all of our endowed rights that empower us as free-thinking individuals.  To them, the Constitution is merely a pesky scrap of antiquated paper; those who forged it, simply old men operating in secret behind closed doors.

Today we are increasingly exposed to the lies and deceptions of the Obama administration:  Bengazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS and NSA scandals, and, of course, Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.  In 2010 NBC published a news article that stated the Obamacare officials knew back then that somewhere between 44% and 66% of citizens would not be able to keep the healthcare plan in which they were currently enrolled.  So much for “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.  Period.”

Free people choose their destinies, or at least choose the destiny they wish to pursue, although they may not reach it.  Come what may, we must be allowed to pursue our lives, for that is the only way humanity will evolve as a society.   Liberty is at the heart of what we all hold dear; as Patrick Henry stated, it is more precious than life itself:  ” Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!”

The following excerpt is especially poignant.  The “president” was the president of the Second Virginia Convention, but I was struck by how you can direct it to our Dear Leader as he sings the siren’s song of “hope and change” he hopes will enchant us to throw off the chains of liberty and make us good little obedient subjects:

“Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?”

And later:

“There is no longer any room for hope.”

And this especially, one sentence only, but a sentence that we should all heed, as more and more of Obama’s promises of “hope and change” are found to be much more insidious than we once believed:

“I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.”

When in the entire course of all of human history has a government reigned justly over a defenseless and silenced populace, over one which the government “knows better”?  When has an all-powerful government never treated all its citizens as potential criminals and enemies of the state?  When the right to speak out has not been silenced, the right of self-defense not been prohibited, and the subjects not been subjugated to some sort of expansive Big Brother spying, and eventual search and seizure?  Without too much imagination, one can easily see how Obama’s scandals might be sending us down that path.  If we are not vigilant, we may find ourselves in a position in which:

“Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne.”

Patrick Henry gave us a choice:

“Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?”

Or we can hold fast to our liberties, our Constitution and the representative government which it promises, and all the endowed rights and means by which our freedom and our children’s freedom protects liberty, for “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave”, and “. . . we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.”

And again, probable the best ending ever:”

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!”

Is this a story we will be telling our grandchildren?

It was actually quite easy:  by promising us freedoms in the form of “freedom from” – freedom from want, from crime, from social injustices and inequalities, all those human ills against which every free society struggles – the government was able to deny its citizens the traditional American values of “freedom to”.

They started small.  They could have started with any of the Ten Amendments, but they chose the Second because that seemed to make the most sense at the time.  After all, criminals use guns, so take away firearms and crime will stop.

After all, they told us, you don’t need firearms for self-defense.  We can watch with drones, we can collect and monitor phone records and other forms of electronic communication, we can use our bureaucratic tax structure and institutions to control those sections of government and society alike who don’t think like we do.  Crime will be an ill of other nations, and if a few of our diplomats get killed in those far-off lands, what difference does it make?  We are trying to make sure our society doesn’t end up like theirs.

Just like the Founders (those “old men operating in secret behind closed doors”) could not have imagined modern firearm technology (untrue), they also couldn’t possibly have envisioned the effects of modern communication and monitoring technology (if they had, the Bill of Rights would have been longer and more robust).  It’s obvious, they told us, that the Second Amendment is no longer needed.  It’s antiquated, obsolete, and the government can provide for your self-defense.  And if the government gets out of line, we have the First Amendment to redress any grievances.  They assured us that we would always have the First.

So when the increased government presence was found to be ineffective at relieving citizens of their burdens, that crime continued to increase and social injustices continued to prevail – as is inevitable when one addresses the symptoms and not the true causes –the response was a further increase of governmental power.  The Fourth Amendment, protecting us against a standing army within our borders, was suspended.  Temporarily, of course.  After all, the Fourth prohibited a standing army in a time of peace, and our society wasn’t sufficiently peaceful.

And so it came to be that there was formed a society of frightened, defenseless citizens at the mercy of armed criminals and the armed government forces put in place to protect us and “form a more perfect union.”

And when the inevitable happened, when it became clear that the government was ineffective at solving society’s ills, and that it had become a tremendous burden, that injustices were being carried out by those in power against their subjects – for subjects we had become – we used our First Amendment rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression to redress our grievances against.  We wrote letters to the media, or at least that part of the media that had yet to succumb to government oversight, and we gathered in public spaces in protest.  At times frustrated citizen-subjects turned violent, and government forces were called in to disperse the crowds (mobs, they called them).  Eventually all public assembly was prohibited – again, only temporarily until the officials could get a hold on things.  So we continued to use the remainder of the First to contact the media and our fellow citizen-subjects.  But that just continued to inflame our fellows and anger our government, and since the government had gotten so effective at monitoring our communications, they stopped that behavior, too.  So the citizen-subjects were stripped of the First Amendment, the Second was a distant memory, and the Fourth was suspended indefinitely as a strong armed presence was deemed necessary to keep order in society.

After all, they said, isn’t it the job of government to ensure a perfect, peaceful society?  The Government has to have these powers in order to be able to guarantee “freedom from” all of society’s ills.  Men and women of a society simply cannot be trusted to properly use “freedom to”

And that, children, is how the Government turned its citizens into just that:  children.


The government and the people: who’s in charge here?

Government is the protector of society, and to a large extent exerts its power and authority via punitive measures.  It often behaves in a reactionary fashion to perceived ills and threats.  Past history is full of examples, some unarguably good such as the laws passed to protect equal rights, others that perhaps may have been well-intentioned but have in fact turned out to be catastrophic failures, such as those involved in the current drug war.  An ultimate goal of government is the preservation of society.

In contrast, a free and interactive society is creative, a community in which ideas and issues can be freely discussed and disseminated in a communal process with the ultimate goal being the betterment of society.  It is a lofty, perhaps ultimately unattainable goal, and the path is beset by a variety of problems, some new but many recurring.  A society traveling along this path, however, cannot help but become better due to the journey.  In other words, it is the conscience of society that forms the rules by which society behaves and evolves.

An alternative to this communal process is to have the rules of society imposed by the government.  This latter idea is currently being postulated as the solution to our contemporary problems.  Today’s “progressives” have faith that the government will always be benevolent towards them.  They argue that, with enough rules and safeguards in place, society can keep the government from degenerating into a tyranny.  The problem with this way of thinking is that all governments likely started out this way; history is full of examples where this has failed.

Rules and regulations only reflect what is known.  They are rooted in the experiences of the past.  We cannot know the future, neither the events of the future nor the attitudes and ideals of the people involved.  We can’t predict the unpredictable, and can’t prevent the unpreventable.  Society needs to be dynamic so that it is able to react to unforeseeable circumstances.

A government established under restrictive rules is effective only so long as conditions exist as they have in the past, under which those rules were envisioned and established.  That is, provided events are progressing in a predictable fashion, preparations can be made to prepare for and circumvent bad times, and society will behave accordingly.  The problem is that the unforeseeable is inevitable.

Over time, such a government is in danger of becoming ineffective at providing for its society, as it will be unable to successfully address events and issues facing its people.  It will become irrelevant and, as its citizens increasingly lose faith and the government increasingly loses control, it will turn to tyranny, using the rules against the society who had established those rules.  A society in such a position will have no means of recourse.  It will simply have become a collective victim, as its government feeds off it in order to sustain its now-meaningless existence.

A case in point is Obama’s mounting scandals resulting from his escalating abuses of governmental power, especially those related to the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance activities.  The chief author of the Patriot Act, Wisconsin Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., has recently gone on record stating that the Obama administration is going far beyond what was envisioned when the law was written.  It was never intended to be used in the manner in which the current administration is using it.  It is in fact becoming a violation of civil rights.  The provisions of the Patriot Act, when originally written, had “time limits”, but the Act has been greatly expanded by the current administration.  The current government interpretation that every phone call is relevant to a future terrorist investigation is tantamount to the idea that every current action is relevant to a future crime.  One can’t help but see this as an attempt by the current government to increase its control over its citizens, and that it is doing this as a response to a perceived loss of power.  However, it seems to have somehow forgotten that, in the US, the government never had – or at least never should have had – that power in the first place.  That power resides in the people, in the form of their endowed rights as written in the Constitution.  The government’s role in all this is to protect the people and their rights so that the people do not lose that power.  It is not supposed to usurp that power from the people.