America: Land of Gullivers?

In 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, in which he engraved into our national consciousness the concept that “all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Those words provided an earth-shattering salvo which would blast a gaping hole in the world’s understanding of the nature of government. No longer would men be servants, mere subjects bound to obedience by the Divine Right of Kings. Men would now be free; sovereign individuals free to live as they so chose, answerable only to God for the conduct of their life provided they did not infringe upon the rights of others.

After years of abuse at the hands of King George, under whom they were taxed without representation in Parliament, forced to quarter the very soldiers who would punish disobedience to the Crown, unable to pass laws of self-governance and in general being treated as slaves rather than fellow citizens with rights, the American colonists declared that they would no longer be subject to such abuse, but would form a new government in which every man was bestowed the same rights and no man was favored above another in the eyes of the law.

For nearly a decade war was waged upon the American continent. Mangled, broken and torn bodies littered the battlefields along the eastern seaboard. Families were separated; husbands and brothers lost…all because the people of this nation decided to rise up against tyranny and oppression. When the sounds of cannon and musket-fire were silenced, when the smoke cleared and the soldiers returned home, a new era had begun.

In 1787 a new Constitution was ratified which codified into law the principles of the Declaration. The Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation, which had formed a federal government that was too weak to perform the duties assigned to it. However, with the abuses of a powerful central government fresh in their minds, the Founding Fathers were careful to limit the power of the new federal government, giving it primacy over the states but only within a narrowly defined scope of powers. Under this federalist system our nation thrived, going from thirteen small colonies to the most powerful economic and military might in the world.

We achieved this through limiting the power of government, which in turn allowed free individuals to take risks, to succeed or fail on their own merit, and to have the fruits of their labor protected by government from theft or usurpation.

Today, we still speak of being the freest nation on the Earth, and maybe we are. However, compared to the freedoms enjoyed by our forefathers we are today a nation of Gullivers, passively watching as the Lilliputian agents of our own government daily bind us ever tighter with the silken threads of taxation and regulation. We are no longer free in any objective sense of the word.

On January 1, 2011, the tax cuts enacted by President Bush in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, which lifted the economy and gave us sustained growth until the housing/financial market collapse of 2008, are set to expire. This means that taxes will rise, and is therefore a tax increase. This increase will hit not only the rich but the middle class, a devastating blow at a time when the economy is tenuous and the unemployment rate remains near 10%. Yet House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) says that “we need to have a serious discussion about their implications for our fiscal outlook, including whether we can afford to permanently extend them before we have a real plan for long-term debt reduction.”

Did you get that? After an $862 billion “stimulus” package that has failed to stimulate the economy, after hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts to the Democrats’ buddies on Wall Street and the auto unions, after passing a health control bill estimated at $2.5 trillion over the first decade, after allowing red ink to flow from Washington as far as the eye can see, NOW they are worried about debt reduction.

And look at the terminology that is used; asking if we can “afford” to extend the tax cuts, which would simply return more money to the people that actually earned it. The language used implies that Hoyer (and most other politicians) sees the money as rightfully belonging to government, to be sprinkled back down over the lowly proletariat in just enough measure to keep them quiet. This should come as no surprise though, because it is the same language that is used in the tax code. Each year when the Treasury issues tax refund checks, it is counted on the ledger of the federal government as a tax “expenditure”. Since government has no money which it does not first take by force from private citizens and businesses, it is particularly insulting to have a return of money that is rightfully ours categorized as an “expenditure”. If you borrow money from a friend and then pay it back, do you consider that “spending” money?

Following his State of the Union address on January 20th, 1999, Bill Clinton was asked about the projected revenue surplus and whether he would consider returning that money back to the taxpayers (since it was their money), and he replied that he would not, saying “We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right…”, before going on to explain why taxpayers could not be trusted with their own money.

This philosophy that government knows better than those it seeks to govern is manifest throughout politics. After accumulating massive deficits due to massive increases in government spending, we’re now told that we must raise taxes to pay down the debt (because any spending cuts whatsoever are completely out of the question). We are not to question our masters, but simply to keep feeding the gaping maw of the federal and state government leviathan.

It’s not just financial matters where our government masters do not trust us. McCain-Feingold restricts political speech. The Supreme Court upheld our 2nd Amendment rights recently, but only by a narrow 5-4 decision. An overly expansive interpretation of the commerce clause allows Congress to regulate virtually anything, regardless of whether it crosses state lines. Religious speech is being restricted in the name of protecting “diversity”. The list is endless.

On March 23, 1775, in his famous speech Patrick Henry cried “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!” Does this fire of independence burn in the American heart today?

Today we are enslaved not by a foreign despot but by our own government. The tide of resistance is rising across the landscape as Americans realize the peril in which we find ourselves. Now the question is, can we stop it and then reverse the damage in time?

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