Tag Archives: Independence Day

Independence Day in the Midst of Dictatorship, by James Bovard

Whatever it is we celebrated this 4th of July, it sure wasn’t our freedom. That’s gone. From James Bovard at aier.org:

holding hands, july 4th

How many Americans will greet July 4th Day with gratitude that their governor is no longer compelling them to “shelter in place” or “stay at home” so they can celebrate their freedom? Most of the media is ignoring the fact that this Independence Day is occurring under the most dictatorial restrictions of the modern era. But anyone who values their liberty must recognize the Great Political Unleashing that has occurred this year makes a mockery of the Founding Fathers’ intentions.

Earlier this year, more than 300 million Americans were constrained by “stay-at-home” decrees by governors and mayors. These restrictions were justified by mortality predictions from COVID-19 that turned out to be wildly exaggerated. But most of the media has presumed that the dictates were legitimate because they were supposedly based on “science and data” – regardless of pervasive wrongheaded forecasts.

The Centers for Disease Control estimated last week that 24 million Americans may have been infected with COVID – making a mockery of lockdowns designed to force citizens to pay any price for the slightest potential reduction in infections.

Do America’s politicians and media have any special suggestions on how the tens of millions of people who lost their jobs due to the shutdowns should celebrate Independence Day? How should small business owners who have been bankrupted mark July 4th?

Governors across the nation earlier this year proved that the Bill of Rights is a parchment barrier that can be easily shredded by invoking their emergency powers. Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer prohibited “all public and private gatherings of any size” (prohibiting people from visiting friends) and also prohibited purchasing seeds for spring planting in stores after she decreed that a “nonessential” activity.

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Celebrating the Fourth, Then and Now, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The limited government and freedom envisioned in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have been obliterated. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org

Americans who celebrated the Fourth of July in 1880 were celebrating a concept of freedom that is opposite to the concept of freedom that Americans today celebrate on the Fourth.

The freedom that 1880 Americans celebrated was a society in which there was which there was no income taxation, no mandatory charity, no government management or regulation of economic activity, no immigration controls, no systems of public (i.e., government) schooling, no Federal Reserve System, no paper money, no punishment for drug offenses, and no Pentagon, CIA, or NSA, no wars in faraway lands, no secret surveillance, no torture, no assassination, and no indefinite detention.

The “freedom” that Americans today celebrate is one in which there is Social Security, Medicare, education grants, farm subsidies, and other mandatory-charity programs, government management and regulation of economic activity, immigration controls, public (i.e., government) schooling, the Federal Reserve, paper money, punishment for possessing, distributing, or ingesting unapproved substances, a massive military establishment consisting of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, and forever wars, secret surveillance, torture,  assassination, and indefinite detention.

Thing about that: Two opposite systems and yet people under both systems celebrating their freedom. Something is clearly not right with this picture.

The Declaration of Independence set forth the ideal: All people have been endowed by nature and the Creator with certain unalienable rights — that is, rights that cannot be taken away or destroyed by anyone, including one’s own government. In fact, as the Declaration points out, the purpose of government is to protect the exercise of these rights, not infringe upon or destroy them.

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The Myth of Independence Day, by Andrew J. Napolitano

The government envisioned by the framers doesn’t exist. From Andrew J. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

The Declaration of Independence — released on July 4, 1776 — was Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece. Jefferson himself wrote much about it in essays and letters during the 50 years that followed.

Not the least of what he wrote offered his view that the Declaration and the values that it articulated were truly radical — meaning they reflected 180-degree changes at the very core of societal attitudes in America. The idea that farmers and merchants and lawyers could secede from a kingdom and fight and win a war against the king’s army was the end result of the multigenerational movement that was articulated in the Declaration and culminated in the American Revolution.

The two central values of the Declaration are the origins of human liberty and the legitimacy of popular government.

When Jefferson wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, he was referring to the natural law. The natural law teaches that right and wrong can be discerned and truth discovered by the exercise of human reason, independent of any commands from the government. The natural law also teaches that our rights come from our humanity — not from the government — and our humanity is a gift from our Creator.

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The Values Underlying Independence Day, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The founding values are more a historical curiosity than a living part of modern law and jurisprudence. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

The Declaration of Independence — which was signed on July 3, 1776, for public release on July 4 — was Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece. Jefferson himself wrote much about the declaration in the 50 years that followed.

Not the least of what he wrote offered his view that the declaration and the values that it articulated were truly radical — meaning they reflected 180-degree changes at the very core of societal attitudes in America. The idea that farmers and merchants and lawyers could secede from a kingdom and fight and win a war against the king’s army was the end result of the multigenerational movement that was articulated in the declaration.

The two central values of the declaration are the origins of human liberty and the legitimacy of popular government.

When Jefferson wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, he was referring to the natural law. The natural law teaches that right and wrong can be discerned and truth discovered by the exercise of human reason, independent of any commands from the government. The natural law also teaches that our rights come from our humanity — not from the government — and our humanity is a gift from our Creator.

Even those who question or reject the existence of the Creator — was Jefferson himself among them? — can embrace natural rights, because they can accept that our exercise of human reason leads us all to make similar claims. These claims — free speech, free association, free exercise or non-exercise of religion, self-defense, privacy, and fairness, to name a few — are rights that we all exercise without giving a second thought to the fact that they are natural and come from within us.

The view of the individual as the repository of natural rights was not accepted by any governments in 1776. In fact, all rejected it and used violence to suppress it. To the minds of those in government in the mid-18th century, the king was divine and could do no wrong, and parliament existed not as the people’s representatives but to help the king raise money and to give him a read on the pulse of landowners and nobility.

To continue reading: The Values Underlying Independence Day

July 4 Is Matrix Reinforcement Day, by Paul Craig Roberts

Independence Day is an occasion for many Americans to tell comforting lies to themselves. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

July 4, 2018, is the 242 anniversary of the date chosen to stand as the date the 13 British colonies declared independence. According to historians, the actual date independence was declared was July 2, 1776, with the vote of the Second Continental Congress. Other historians have concluded that the Declaration of Independence was not actually signed until August 2.

For many living in the colonies the event was not the glorious one that is presented in history books. There was much opposition to the separation, and the “loyalists” were killed, confiscated, and forced to flee to Canada. Some historians explain the event not as a great and noble enterprise of freedom and self-government, but as the manipulations of ambitious men who saw opportunity for profit and power.

For most Americans today the Fourth of July is a time for fireworks, picnics, and a patriotic speech extolling those who “fought for our freedom” and for those who defended it in wars ever since. These are feel good speeches, but most of them make very little sense. Many of our wars have been wars of empire, seizing lands from the Spanish, Mexicans, and indigenous tribes. The US had no national interest in WW 1 and and very little in WW 2. There was no prospect of Germany and Japan invading the US. Once Hitler made the mistake of invading the Soviet Union, the European part of World War 2 was settled by the Red Army. The Japanese had no chance of standing up to Mao and Stalin. American participation was not very important to either outcome.

No Fourth of July orator will say this, and it is unlikely any will make reference to the seven or eight countries that Washington has destroyed in whole or part during the 21st century or to the US overthrow of the various reform governments that have been elected in Latin America. The Fourth of July is a performance to reinforce The Matrix in which Americans live.

When the Fourth of July comes around, I re-read the words of US Marine General Smedley Butler. General Butler is the most highly decorated US officer in history. By the end of his career, he had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice, one of only three men to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.

To continue reading: July 4 Is Matrix Reinforcement Day

Celebrating the 4th of July, from The Burning Platform


Would the Founding Fathers Recognize Modern America? by Bill Bonner

Every year on Independence Day SLL tries to post at least one article pointing out that Americans are hardly independent, and the government we’ve got is light years from what the founders envisioned. This year Bill Bonner saves us the trouble of writing that article. From Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is one of the most remarkable things in nature. The animal apparently digests itself, using enzymes triggered by hormones. Then, from the pupa, a whole new animal develops – one with wings.

Time and growth produce changes in institutions, too. Sometimes, they merely get bigger and older. Sometimes, they go through a metamorphosis and change into something very different.

We recently moved back to France for the summer. We lived here for nearly 20 years… and still have a house in the country, to which we retire every summer.

Here, we find our old friends and acquaintances… our old clothes and shoes… our tools and workshop… our tractor… and our favorite office.

And what a pleasure… there, on the table next to the bed, was a copy of Michel De Jaeghere’s great book, Les Derniers Jours: La Fin de l’Empire Romain d’Occident (The Last Days: The End of the Roman Empire in the West).

We picked it up and found where we left off a year ago… page 321.

Roman Example

Many of the founders of the American Republic were readers and scholars. “I can’t live without books,” said Jefferson.

He, Monroe, Madison, Adams, and others were much more aware of Roman history than our leaders today. Most had studied Latin and/or Greek.

They had read Plutarch, Seneca, Sallust, Suetonius, and Cicero.

Much was known about the Roman era… and much was discussed. People believed they could learn from it and do better.

In the same year that the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his masterpiece, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of the transition – natural, and perhaps inevitable – from republic to empire. They had studied it in the Roman example. They had seen how it drew power into a few hands… and corrupted them.

They tried to prevent it from happening in the New World, putting in place limits… circuit breakers… and checks and balances… to keep the government from becoming too big, too ambitious, or too powerful.

Even then, they were doubtful that it would stick. “We give you a republic…” Franklin wrote to posterity, “if you can keep it.”

America did keep it… for nearly 100 years. Maybe a few more. Then, the metamorphosis occurred. And, like Rome, it was not very pretty.

To continue reading: Would the Founding Fathers Recognize Modern America?

Once Only Blacks Were Enslaved, Now We All Are, by Paul Craig Roberts

Echoes of “They Got What They Wanted” from Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

The 4th of July is upon us. We will hear all sorts of patriotic BS about how wonderful we are and how thankful we are to our brave military which defends our liberty.

Not a word will be said about the destruction by the Bush and Obama regimes of the US Constitution, which once protected our liberty far better than any military action.

Not a word will be said about Washington’s 16 years of purely gratuitous war in the Middle East and North Africa that has destroyed in whole or part seven countries, sending millions of war refugees to overrun the Western World and change the quality of life for Western peoples.

Not a word will be said about Washington’s ongoing insane provocations of Russia and China and Iran and Syria and North Korea that are likely to end in nuclear Armageddon.

Speeches will celebrate “the exceptional, indispensable USA,” and fireworks will go off, preludes to the onrushing nuclear Armageddon.

While we listen to speeches of our wonderful fairy tale life, how lucky we are to be so beloved by our Great Democratic Government, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has issued an all points bulletin urging its members to wake up and to urge their US Senators “to oppose the American Health Care Act passed by the House. This harmful bill gives billions of dollars to special interests while sticking ordinary Americans with huge premium hikes. It includes an age tax that would force older Americans to pay thousands of dollars more for their health insurance. it weakens Medicare and removes protections for people with pre-existing conditions. I urge you to represent my interests—not those of the drug and insurance companies.”

The last sentence astounded me. How is it possible that a lobby group for retired people can possibly believe that the House and Senate have any interest in serving the American people?

The House and Senate serve the people who have money, and those people are not the elderly. Thanks to the Federal Reserve, the elderly have not had any interest income on their savings for a decade.

To continue reading: Once Only Blacks Were Enslaved, Now We All Are

3 Things To Remember On Independence Day, by Ryan McMaken

On Independence Day, we celebrate freedom from government. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

It’s difficult to say what most Americans commemorate or celebrate on Independence Day nowadays. Many appear to focus on some vague notion of “America.” Others even take to jingoism equating the United States government with the very notion of “freedom.”

Lost in all of this is the fact that the Declaration of Independence — the document we’re supposed to remember today — is a document that promotes secession, rebellion, and what the British at the time regarded as treason.

On the other hand, those who do recall the radical nature of the Declaration often tend to romanticize the American Revolution in a way that is neither instructive nor helpful today.

So, what should we remember about Independence Day, and what can it teach us? For starters, here are three things about the history and context of this holiday that should continue to inform us today and into the future.

One: If You Can’t Secede, You’re Not Really Free

The very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence lays it out. Sometimes, “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another…” 

The document then goes on to list in detail why 1776’s specific act of secession was justified and necessary for preserving the rights of the colonists. 

By the 19th century, this philosophy of self-determination would become a foundational element of the ideology now known internationally as liberalism — or “classical liberalism” in the United States. 

Not surprisingly, we find this idea in the later writings of liberals such as Ludwig von Mises who, writing in Vienna in 1927, concluded:

It must always be possible to shift the boundaries of the state if the will of the inhabitants of an area to attach themselves to a state other than the one to which they presently belong has made itself clearly known…

[W]henever the inhabitants of a particular territory … make it known … that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time … their wishes are to be respected and complied with.

Mises, like Jefferson, understood that without this right of self-determination, there is no freedom.

Nevertheless, modern opponents of self-determination and secession will claim that secession cannot be tolerated because it is not “legal.”

To continue reading: 3 Things To Remember On Independence Day


They Got What They Wanted, by Robert Gore

Independence Day 2017 finds Americans celebrating freedoms they no longer have.

Maybe it was the proposal at work you knew was wrong, but didn’t fight. Maybe it was the argument on principle you knew you had to have, but avoided to keep an unsatisfactory peace. Maybe it was the jerk who berated and humiliated a store clerk who wasn’t at fault, and you didn’t challenge him. Battles that were never fought—surrender and capitulation without resistance. A handful, the scrupulously honest with themselves, identify the ensuing inner darkness, that collapsing sensation, as self-betrayal, breeching personal standards of right and wrong.

Independence Day is a historical commemorative, nothing more. You don’t celebrate the day a seed is planted; you celebrate the harvest. Independence has been surrendered without resistance. The nation’s founders planted a seed, but seeds must be tended, nurtured, and protected. Having failed to do so, America has reaped a bitter harvest.

Independence carries an obligation to act, to provide, to think for one’s self, and it requires its own defense. Americans couldn’t be burdened. Asking only what their country could do for them, they accepted the state’s promises, propaganda, provender, and protection—from mostly spurious threats—without reckoning the price. The promises were illusory, not the price. The pall dimming the fireworks is the confusion, anxiety, and antagonisms of a nation that’s badly lost its way.

Taxes, it’s been said, are the price of civilization. For a brief, shining historical moment, Americans freed themselves from the state’s exaction of their income. Tragically, they faltered, allowing themselves to be deceived, accepting the state’s forcible extraction of their labor, time, and production and never questioning how the coercion that is its bedrock could possibly be “civilized.” Sold, as the state’s depredations always are, as a limited measure, 100 years later the state recognizes no limits on its power to tax, reserving special persecution for those who question it too volubly.

At the same time, America handed control of the nation’s money (and subsequently its debt), to a bankers’ cartel. Supposedly an elasticized and discretionary “money” would prevent financial panics, bank runs, and economic contractions. The new money was worth less every year than the year before, and it wouldn’t prevent contractions more severe than the ones that preceded its introduction. Only the cranks, immediately quarantined by the force of “respectable” opinion, questioned the new money. Only “dangerous” fringe elements insisted on their right to their own production, exchangeable for honest money, its value free from bureaucratic and political whim.

Predictably, the new money inflated a bubble that popped. Faced with adversity, the so-called greatest generation opted for the crank solutions of a socialistic demagogue and his band of charlatans. They turned the ensuing downturn into the most severe contraction in the nation’s history. By acclamation the people surrendered their economy, more of their incomes, and their right to own gold—real money—to the government, accepted the future bondage of increased debt, and enshrined the “right” of the politically favored to live off the labor of the productive unfavored. Henceforth, the latter would have a duty to support the former. The megalomaniac who peddled this abnegation of America’s freedom—and consequently its greatness—was reelected three times.

By the time President Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex, it was too late. That he waited until his farewell address to issue his warning speaks volumes. The complex had been in control since World War II and would never willingly relinquish the commanding height on which atomic bombs and the world’s most productive economy has placed it.

Confederated and unchallenged global empire was the seductive goal; “leader of the free world” was how it was sold to the American people. They bought it, never questioning the complex’s machinations and skullduggery in Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, and other remote backwaters. Alliances with corrupt and repressive regimes, propaganda, rigged elections, US-sponsored rebellions and coups, war, terrorism, and assassinations were necessary countermeasures to Soviet evil. Whatever the US did, the USSR—since it’s acquisition of nuclear weapons an existential threat—was worse, always worse.

Vindicating the few who said command economies couldn’t work, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Existential threats always make it easier to amass power and money, and curtail liberty. One was conjured—Islamic extremism. How a rough band of guerrillas in Afghanistan’s caves posed the same threat as one of the largest empires in history, with the world’s second largest nuclear arsenal, was a question most Americans would not ask. Just keep us safe, they bleated.

Wars based on concocted intelligence, the Patriot Act and other eviscerations of the Bill of Rights, a huge and intrusive new cabinet department—Homeland Security—the militarization of local police, and the vast expansions of the military and intelligence agencies’ power and funding went through with nary a bleat. There were few bleats a decade later when whistleblowers revealed an America under a degree of surveillance that would make Big Brother green. Deflated footballs stirred more controversy.

Independence Day 2017 finds Americans celebrating freedoms they no longer have, freedoms they and those greatest generations that preceded them surrendered on a golden platter. The Philippine’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill: singing the national anthem at public gatherings “shall be mandatory and must be done with fervour.” What an insight into the minds of those who would rule us, Filipino, American, or whatever. You’re not just to submit; you’re to worship your submission and those to whom you submit. It conjoins Orwell, Islam (which means submission), and all those pain-is-pleasure perversions.

They’re not just claiming your life and your freedom, they’re claiming your soul. That’s what they were after all along. The Faust legend is wrong. Surrendering one’s soul, for both individuals and a nation, is a long series of capitulations, not some shadowy one-time bargain. Which prompts the question: can souls that have all too willingly been surrendered ever be redeemed?






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