On another Independence Day, not so long ago, Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner asked the question: “Will America learn from its own history – and the current state of affairs among our cultural ancestors – and ultimately choose liberty? Or will we return to simply voting ourselves money?” Just two years later – after a devastating pandemic and under the rule of an increasingly socialist Democratic Party – we may have our answer. In all fairness, Joe Biden and his modern progressive pals can’t be blamed for the majority of our lost liberty; that happened over the course of many years beginning long ago. But what independence is left in 2021? On Biden’s first Fourth as president, this is a look at what may be to come.
In Remembrance of the Republic
After a failed attempt at keeping a loose confederation of entirely independent states together, the Founding Fathers established a republic that, while more centralized than their first effort, still protected the sovereignty of the several states and of the people. That early federal government was lean and limited, able to operate on what would today be considered a shoestring budget and, for the most part, without infringing on the rights of the people. There was no NSA, FBI, IRS, ATF, DHS, or any other so-called “alphabet soup” agency.
There were no legal restrictions against home brewing or even distillation, no direct tax on the income of Americans, no restrictions on what weapons could be owned or who could have them, aside from slaves and Native Americans – despite what Biden seems to believe – and little in the way of organized crime until the era of Prohibition. As such, there was no need for powerful, liberty infringing bodies.
Unsurprisingly, this didn’t last long. The power and size of the federal government began to grow almost immediately, and by the middle of the 1800s, was powerful enough to force seceded states back into the Union by sheer strength of arms – and rule them as military protectorates until the people complied. Years later came the aforementioned federal income tax, Prohibition – which was overturned, though liberty bears the scars to this day – and the socialist wealth redistribution schemes, cleverly called social welfare, of Presidents Wilson and both Roosevelts.
As each crisis – real or imagined – was addressed with a “solution” from the federal government, that ruling body grew both in power and size and liberty languished. It was a long journey from there to here, but our ancestors began the trek almost before the ink of independence could dry. Is it any wonder the Founders lacked faith their vision would survive them? What would they think about modern Americans simply accepting something as egregious as the government spying on its citizens?
Then came the COVID Era. The pandemic brought us business closures, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and social distancing requirements – not suggestions, but requirements – and all by executive order both at the state and federal level. As is usually the case with government overreach, there were other, less immediate consequences. With people out of work, something had to be done to keep folks afloat and to stimulate the economy. Thus, the pandemic response grew to include more of that wealth redistribution Benjamin Franklin warned against, but for which America has become well known. It started with Economic Impact Payments from the IRS, more commonly called stimulus checks. It grew to the Small Business Association’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), all of which is federally funded and much of which can be “forgiven.”
Then there were more so-called stimulus checks, of course, and the pandemic assistance additions to unemployment benefits. In short, the government made a bad situation much worse by mandating folks quit going to work, then started paying people to continue abstaining from work.
Is More to Come?From legislating language and religion with laws like the Equality Act to the gutting of the Second Amendment proposed in Biden’s “Plan to End Our Gun Violence Epidemic,” the current regime apparently intends to continue limiting individual liberty until it simply no longer exists. The president even went so far as to appear to threaten, albeit in a nigh incomprehensible way, to use the might of the military to enforce gun control. Massive spending packages that keep the “free cash” flowing into the hands of the people – don’t worry about where it’s coming from, we’ll figure that out later – make sure no one is truly independent. As LN’s Andrew Moran explains, Biden’s economics is making Americans addicted to government – and that’s no accident.
The true problem is one of perception, not individual pieces of legislation. Biden’s own words, regarding gun control, sum it up perfectly: “We’re not changing the Constitution. We’re enforcing it.” The Constitution is not the government’s club to wield against the people; it’s the people’s way of keeping the government in line.
The Spirit of Independence
Those who believe the government is in charge are the root of the problem – that perception enables any infringement. After all, it’s the government, so what choice have we but to obey? That same attitude is what has kept people enslaved to tyrants throughout history, but it isn’t shared by all. It turns out that Americans – some, at least – do still possess that spark of rebellion, handed down through the generations. The recently accelerated attack on the right to keep and bear arms has, as LN’s Sarah Cowgill put it in 2019, “sparked a revolution” as the people voice their refusal to be controlled and several states declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. Today, a handful of states have enacted laws prohibiting the enforcement of new federal firearm regulations.
Then there is the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol. Regardless of how one feels about it – whether it was right or wrong – it certainly demonstrates the rebellious spirit of those who refuse to be crushed under the weight of the crown’s might. To get back to Mr. Donner’s July 4, 2018, questions: “Is the spirit of independence still alive in America?” Yes, though perhaps just barely. But will it survive the reign of Biden? That’s the real question now.
Read more from James Fite.