Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

Reflections on what July 4th is all about

U. S. FlagWill Edwinson PhotoThis post is a little early of July 4th, but   I  will be in Idaho the first two weeks of July and will be away from my computer.

We will soon be celebrating another 4th of July commemorating the signing of our “Declaration of Independence” from England.  Each year as I watch the parade with my hat over my heart when “Old Glory” marches by, I’m reminded of those who have gone on before me; the sacrifices they made and the hardships they endured in order to establish this “land of the free” that you and I enjoy.

I think of the signers of the Declaration of Independence who pledged their fortunes, their sacred honor, and theirThe surrender of General Burooyne very lives to bring forth the birth of this nation; the Colonial soldiers who fought under Washington’s command in the face of severe adverse conditions to win that independence.  We hear a lot of talk about America’s greatest generation in reference to World War II  soldiers.  I don’t want to take anything away from those valiant men, but sometimes I think we have a tendency put General Washington’s Colonial soldiers on the back burner. Were it not for them and their passion for freedom, we in all likelihood would not exist as a nation today.  When I witness what is happening in our country today, I wonder if we really appreciate the legacy these valiant men handed down to us, and if we might be squandering it.

During this time of the upcoming Independence Day week, I think it might be well to revisit, in part, one of my earlier newspaper columns.  In that column I spoke of Alexander Tyler’s eight-stage scenario from bondage, to freedom, and back to bondage. One of those stages was dependency, and the price it carries—freedom and liberty. In his scenario, dependency was the last stage before bondage.  I believe the United States has drifted dangerously close to that dependency stage.

Dependency on government can take on many forms other than so-called entitlements.  When a government becomes so large that there are as many people dependent on government in one form or another for their jobs as in the private sector, or when businesses need some form of government approval for every action, we have reached the most dangerous form of dependency.  If we haven’t reached that point in this country yet, we are perilously close to it.

We have people and politicians who worship government as the great benefactor, and would put us under more bureaucratic control.  Politicians that tell us that they should be reelected because their seniority on certain select committees will assure their constituents that certain governmental installations will remain intact and thus their jobs will be protected.  This is a form of government dependency.  What follows, just as it was in the old Soviet Block, Germany, and is  in China and other socialist nations ; is that as this dependency grows, the government also dictates to the people what line of work they will pursue. This is the beginning of bondage.

Throughout recorded history, mankind has opted for security at the so-called sacrifice of a “little freedom.”  Benjamin Franklin was a great statesman and historian, but in addition to that, I believe he was also a visionary.  He understood human nature.  He demonstrated this understanding in his famous response to the question of what kind of government the delegates had crafted for the country. His reply was: “A republic, if you can keep it,” He also stated that those who would willingly give up a little freedom for security, deserve neither.

Freedom brings to the table many caveats.  Freedom does not guarantee economic security; freedom does not guarantee total fairness for all; freedom does not guarantee equal benefits for all.  Freedom does guarantee many trials and hardships, however, as well as a requirement for individual responsibility, accountability, and initiative. I think over the past fifty or sixty years or so, we have lost sight of those three requirements.

Throughout recorded history, utopians have striven to create societies in which everyone supposedly shared equal benefits of life—not just equal opportunities—but equal benefits. Because of man’s innate imperfection, and the lust in some for absolute power, those would-be Utopian societies have all failed, but not before they ultimately enslaved the masses.

Metaphorically speaking, I wonder if we Americans, like Esau, are trading our birthrights for a bowl of lintel soup. We are listening to, and electing politicians who promise to provide each and every one of us with everything we will ever need to live and survive.  Free medical care, guaranteed job access, guaranteed job security, guaranteed wage packages, guaranteed retirement benefits, free education, and every other form of government grant the human mind can conceive, just to name a few. All these benefits are presented to us under the guise of government compassion and equality.

Free people, if they wish to remain free, do not turn to their government for help; they instead, run as far and as fast from government aid as they possibly can.  It’s all about power, and every time a government promises benevolence to the people, the real goal is control of the masses.  I am brought to mind of a statement by the late President Reagan:  “The ten scariest words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.’”

I don’t think I have to elaborate the atrocities we saw take place in the old Soviet Block; in Germany, Italy, China, and Cuba  prior to, during, and since World War II;  all because those people listened to Utopians who promised all things to all people.  When we become dependent on some entity to provide for our welfare, we become slaves to that entity.

I hope we all remember as we salute “Old Glory” this upcoming fourth of July weekend, that there is no such thing as a compassionate government; never has been, never will be.  Again, as in the first Revolutionary War, and World Wars I and II, the United States is embroiled in a battle for freedom, and it is going to be a long haul.  There are Middle Eastern terrorists that would seek to destroy our way of life.

Lemming FacsimileBut the real danger is the threat from within; from those who are Constitutionally illiterate because they don’t understand the first principles of our Constitution and would do away with them.  I fear we are a nation of  Lemmings  letting the Progressives lead us into the sea.  Interesting thing about Lemmings.  When their colony gets too big and unmanageable their leader leads them off into the sea where they are obliterated.  Again, metaphorically speaking, I think we Americans are like Lemmings.  Our government is getting too big, and corruption is pervasive, but like Lemmings we seem willing to follow corrupt politicians and bureaucrats into the sea of obliteration, which in my opinion. is not too far away.

Do we have the same courage and resolve of our forefathers to stand up for freedom and defeat those who would deprive us of that freedom or have we indeed become like  Lemmings?  I hope and pray it’s the former.    Have a great and joyous 4th of July.

—Will

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