Hollow Holiday

July 4, 2011, felt hollow, like celebrating the birthday of someone deceased. Independence Day celebrates the birth of an idea: that people create governments and empower them, not the other way around.

Do we still believe that?

st louis tea party

Yes, I still believe that.  Morally, at least.  And you probably do, too. 

Does America still believe that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed?  Or do we, as a nation, believe that government has a monopoly on liberty and dispenses it at its will?

As Harvard University pointed out, people who vote for the Democrat party no longer believe what the founders believed.  The Democratic party believes that the federal government owns liberty; you and I must apply for our freedoms. There is no guarantee. 

Do you realize how profound that is?

Once upon a time, we learned that both parties wanted the same end via different means. But that’s no longer true. Now, one party and many independents still believe that people are bigger than government.  But our government is in the hands of politicians, bureaucrats, and unions who believe that we are their servants.

At some point, majority or minority becomes irrelevant.  A dictatorial or oligarchical tyranny won’t allow a mere majority to end its rule. 

How close are we to that grim eventuality?  Or have we crossed the line?

On August 4, 2011, St. Louis Tea Party Coalition will rally in Kiener Plaza for the third time.  We come together in celebration of Calvin Coolidge’s inauguration, the USS Nautilus’s first voyage under the North Pole, and Christopher Columbus’s launch for the New World which all occurred on August 3.  It’s also Barack Obama’s birthday.

Our mission is to restore the meaning of Independence Day.  Our purpose is to re-energize the idea of liberty in our land.  Our plan is to hold a Tea Party in abject defiance of Barack Obama’s power trip.

You won’t be alone.

Please forward the link to this message to 10 of your friends.

Meditate on This, Why Don’t You?

I was 18 and a college freshman. It was a Tuesday night in October. My 1970 Chevy Impala felt wide open in the fifty-degree air and the smell of freshly fallen leaves. I drove through Forest Park feeling the rhythm of the yellow street lights as I moved between light and dark. "Memory" from Cats came on the radio. I lit a Camel (no filter).

I was free.

parkatnight

In America, we often think of independence as a collective thing. That's bassackwards, isn't it?

Independence is individual.

July 4th is Independence Day--the day we celebrate breaking free from Britain.  We broke from a nation, as a nation. The collective celebration makes sense.

But we did not break free because of some philosophy about groups of people; our philosophy, embodied in the Declaration of Independence, is about the rights of individual human beings.

We do need other people. We are social animals. But we are free to associate, to work with, to help or ignore those we choose.  No human being has the just authority to force any of us to associate with any other.

Independence is about people.

We broke from England to experiment with governments of our own choosing.

Independence means that I have all I need to live my life as I see best, limited only by my intrusions into others' lives.

On Independence Day weekend, think about that. Take five minutes to meditate on the word "independence" and its personal promise to you, not to the collective.

Independence is earned.

Then take a moment and think about the threats to our independence. They abound. Our families can stifle us. The corporations we work for bind us. The debts we take on chain us. And governments at all levels shackle our bodies, hearts, and minds.

In 1838, a young French aristocrat toured the United States and wrote about his impressions. Toward the end of this two-volume collection, Tocqueville wrote about despotism in America, should it ever return. It's a sobering, staggering premonition. Here's a tiny sample:

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Happy 4th of July. And congratulations on your independence . . . if you can keep it.

<p><em><font size="1">Cross-posted from </font></em><a href="http://simplestrategies.me" target="_blank"><em><font size="1">SimpleStrategies.me</font></em></a>