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Reckless Apathy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Tuesday, 07 July 2009
AFF Sentinel Vol.6#20

Independence Day Reflections on Liberty and Freedom

On Independence Day, I reflected on the basic freedoms for which Americans fought the Revolution: freedom from outrageous taxation, freedom from constant interference by a distant central authority, freedom to contract and do business with whom they wished and freedom to trade with other countries.

Some 233 years later, we're again fighting for those basic freedoms. The battles particular to the livestock industry - the freedom to contract, for free trade, freedom from ridiculous regulations, taxes and restrictions, freedom to care for animals properly - now have an overlay of battles crucial to all Americans - overbearing government control of banking and auto industries, control and taxation of America's energy industries, a final takeover of America's healthcare system and controlling, destabilizing and spending the economy into places only banana republics usually venture. This is the world's most dominant economy and no one has ever altered and indebted it to the extent this administration and Congress is doing.

We use the terms "liberty" and "freedom" but what do they really mean? Liberty refers to an individual's rights of independence and autonomy. Freedom refers to our right to associate and interact with others within our society. 1

Mark Levin examines our country's foundations in the opening chapter of his book, "Liberty and Tyranny." 2

"In the civil society, private property and liberty are inseparable, " Levin wrote. "The individual's right to live freely and safely and pursue happiness includes the right to acquire and possess property, which represents the fruits of his own intellectual and/or physical labor. The illegitimate denial or diminution of his private property enslaves him to another and denies him his liberty."

"The Modern Liberal believes in the supremacy of the state - thereby rejecting the principles of the Declaration ..."

"Modern Liberalism promotes what French historian Alexis de Tocqueville described as a soft tyranny, which becomes increasingly more oppressive... The Founders understood that the greatest threat to liberty is an all-powerful central government..."

Levin notes the Founding Fathers' Constitution, "granted the federal government enough authority to cultivate, promote, and 'secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,' but not enough authority to destroy it all."

So what happened?

President Franklin Roosevelt and "an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, through an array of federal projects, entitlements, taxes and regulations known as the New Deal, breached the Constitution's firewalls," Levin said. "At first the Supreme Court fought back, striking down New Deal programs" as exceeding federal constitutional authority, "violating state sovereignty and trampling on private property rights." But Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Court, his intimidation of the court and his long administration provided opportunity to appoint favorable justices and overcome objections.

Levin recounts how Roosevelt administration laws and regulations put government more in control over economic activity -- taking it away from individual liberty. The sum was a "sweeping break from our founding principles and constitutional limitations."

"His legacy includes a federal government that has become a massive, unaccountable conglomerate: It is the nation's largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, insurer, health care provider and pension guarantor."

What Roosevelt began, Obama and the 111th Congress wish to carry to unknown lengths. If FDR pulled the wool over citizens' eyes during the stresses of Depression and World War II, what could happen under our crises with even less vigilant media and citizenry?

Our citizens must accept responsibility for our country's predicament. Glenn Beck asserts in his new book that most of us would not even invite many of the people we've elected to high office to dinner in our home. 3 He adds we certainly wouldn't entrust our children alone with them.

Beck's searing term for what we have done: "Reckless Apathy."

He asks, "But are we even capable of maintaining a Republic anymore? Are there enough citizens willing to do the hard work that self-rule requires, or have we become a people who would rather be cared for, fed, clothed, housed, and told what's best for us by a parentlike state?"

Levin echoes Beck's self-indictment of us all, reminding us that if we lose America, we will only have ourselves to blame.

Levin quotes President Reagan:

"`Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.'"

1 "Liberty and Freedom," David Hackett Fischer, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005.
2 "Liberty and Tyranny," Mark R. Levin, Threshold Editions, New York, 2009.
3 "Common Sense," Glenn Beck, Mercury Radio Arts/Threshold Editions, New York, 2009.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 31 July 2009 )
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