About ten years ago, I was standing at the checkout at the local Walmart Hometown Market and I looked up. They had recently expanded their impulse buy offerings and the gum and mint selection was staggering. I started to count. Right there, three feet from the register, they had over sixty varieties of gum and mints.
I remember thinking, why? Why do we feel we need this many options? Do we? Over the years, I can’t count the number of people I’ve found, in that exact same store, paralyzed, as they stand, staring at a shelf of goods, trying to choose between the thirty or forty varieties of product in a given category. American’s obsession with choice has reached an almost pornographic level.
Of course it stands as a symbol of American privilege, and how out of touch we are with the rest of the world, but as a citizen, I find it much deeper and more troubling than that. I fear we have traded our birthright of self-determination, the true liberty outlined in our declaration, for choice.
When you read the words of the Declaration of Independence, and understand what it actually represented in history, it’s hard not to be moved. The idea that a people could be their own sovereign rulers was beyond rebellious, it was almost a crime against nature. It had never been done successfully.
But, it had, actually. What the Declaration of Independence declared on that July Fourth, 241 years ago, was a statement born out of self-rule to a very large degree. Here, in the colonies, the Americans had discovered, not that they wanted to be free men, but that they were, indeed born free, and in that understanding, they stood to declare that no one owned them.
I fear this is no longer true. Not only do most Americans not own themselves to any large degree, they no longer have the desire to operate self-determinate lives. We have been domesticated, switched at birth, as it were, for weak, defenseless, wards of the almighty state.
Where once walked sovereign citizens, who understood their place at the top of the political food chain, and gladly shouldered the responsibility born in that, now stand a people who make such declarations as “every person has the right to demand healthcare from their government”. We fail to remember that we are supposed to be that government.
While we debated privately, and in the public square about the wall of separation between church and state, a more important wall has been created, separating the state, from the people. It is nearly complete. Built on the mythology of America, one of the bloodiest nations in history, as the shining city on a hill, example to all, this wall doesn’t even struggle to contain us, because we built it.
Brick by brick, through years of conditioning, we have come to expect things from the government, and accept their ability to reach into our pockets at a moment’s notice, to pray the price for whatever it is. All, mind you, with no accountability for the horrendous mismanagement, and downright fraud that has become the status quo.
Where we were once proud to do things differently, in order to maintain our freedom, we now look to nations that never made that claim as our example. What happened? It seems to me that over time, as government has encroached in our lives to the point that the challenge to name a single aspect of your life that is not ruled by some form of government, cannot be met. Try it in the comments, I’ll prove you wrong, that we were not forcibly enslaved. Instead, the power brokers, subtle and crafty as they are, handed us material, as slowly, link by link, we forged our own chains, and willingly, locked ourselves in them.
And while these chains lie heavy with injustice, imminent domain run amuck, police that have no accountability even when committing heinous murders, in full view, civil asset forfeiture, crony capitalism driving prices through the roof, we don’t even notice them. In fact, like crabs, boiling in a pot, if one steps out of line and cries out, “we’re in chains” we beat them back in line with those same chains.
“Don’t you care about your fellow man?” we cry. And then we paint pictures of a savior state that will make it all better, and of course we owe our allegiance to the mighty savior. We never even pause to consider if there is another way. We keep speaking and believing as if we were free men and women, while the collars are forged and fitted, chaining us to the engine of their economic gain.
To me, nowhere has this been clearer in recent days than in the crypto market, where Uncle Sam has declared himself. Not ready to admit that we’ve been able to create money from trust, but knowing they cannot ignore $40 billion in potential taxes, they’ve declared it property! On what basis?
The formula for the blockchain was not born on American soil. It requires nothing of the American government to build, distribute, or maintain. In essence, they are like the friends of the fabled Little Red Hen, who planted corn, and no one helped, who harvested the corn, and no one helped, who ground the corn into flour, and no one helped, who rolled the flour into dough, and no one helped, but now, as the bread is coming from the oven, they declare the first slice to be theirs!
In recent years, a percentage of the population that has always existed, has been given a gift, the digital domain. In it, we were free to express our views on liberty, to educate one another and share the abuses and failures of the system, sometimes even winning small victories over the powers that be to regain some shred of liberty. But that’s changing.
Now, with a stroke of the pen, our leaders have declared our browser histories up for grabs to the highest bidder. And, while, marketing companies may have lobbied to make this happen, don’t be fooled, Uncle Sam could care less about the financial rewards, although they will take their share. They salivate, as they see that they now have access to years of our data, without the need of a court order, a search warrant, or any other pesky 4th amendment ploy. While we believed we exercised a reasonable expectation to privacy, they have declared our own homes, our desktops, the public square.
So, as I go to celebrate liberty today. It is not to honor the state as she stands, although I know she is better than many. I honor, instead, that original intent that said,
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created (born) equal, that they are endowed by their Creator (or, in their human nature) with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
And, to be clear, I withdraw my consent to be governed from this current system and intend, with every breath in my body, to fight it’s injustices in my own life and the lives of my family, neighbors, and countrymen, until such time as true liberty is restored, if such a thing ever existed. Happy Independence Day, please, declare your own independence, without it, no national independence can ever really matter.