“A nation that is ignorant of its past, is a nation that is ripe for deception and manipulation. Therefore, it is not what happened, but rather what people believe happened which determines the present actions of a nation.” (From the DVD Warriors of Honor)
I know I’ve repeated this quote before, but I’m going to keep repeating it until people take it to heart. In 1822 James Madison wrote the following in a letter to W.T. Barry, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” However, knowledge alone is not enough if it is not put to use. Is it enough to know that fire is hot if you do not utilize that knowledge by not putting your hand into a fire? As von Goethe said, “Knowing is not enough, we must apply.”
Did you know that it is far easier to convince people to surrender their freedom in the face of a supposed threat than it is to take that freedom from them by force? Most people will do almost anything to feel safe; and if you can manufacture a crisis of such epic proportions people will ignore the grossest violation of the law, and their rights, just to feel safe. Just look at how many of our rights we have given up in the name of national security and the fight against global terrorism if you don’t believe me.
Yet this strategy is not something new, it didn’t just come about immediately following 9/11; not it’s been around since before our Constitution was written. The Federalists used the fear that our nation would dissolve to justify their tossing aside the Articles of Confederation and replacing them with the Constitution; and it worked just as well back then as it does today. If you can generate enough fear over something, you can get the people to grant you almost unlimited power if they just promise to make them feel safe again.
What this tells me is that most people care more for comfort and security than they do their liberty; for if they truly cared about their liberty they would not be so willing to give it up just to feel safe. Our Founders certainly didn’t feel that way. In fact one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite sayings was, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
Most people today mistakenly believe that just because our government enacts a law that they must obey it. Oh, they may disagree with the law, but they still tend to obey it for fear of the consequences of disobedience. Do you think our Founders didn’t know that their actions were a violation of the laws enacted by their government? Do you think the Son’s of Liberty believed that there might not be repercussions for their dumping of all that tea into Boston Harbor? Did the patriots at Lexington and Concord hope that their King would have a change of heart and let them keep their guns, or did they pick up those guns and open fire upon those sent by the King to confiscate them?
From time to time I have seen it commented that had our Founders been as ignorant and apathetic about their rights as the people of America are today that there would have been no American Revolution. I tend to agree with that sentiment as most of the people I come into contact with couldn’t tell you which rights each of the first ten amendments to the Constitution protects; but they could probably tell you the name of every starting quarterback in the NFL.
When Patrick Henry stood before the assembly at St. John’s Church in 1775 and declared, “Give me liberty or give me death” do you think he was just making an idle comment, or do you think he had the courage to put his money where his mouth was?
Do you think those 56 men who voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s resolution, calling for independence did not realize that they were committing what amounted to treason against their government, that if caught they would most likely hang? I believe it was Ben Franklin who half jokingly uttered after they had voted in support of the Lee Resolution, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
These men we call our Founding Fathers knew full well the consequences of their actions, but to them the choice was either fight for their liberty or submit to tyranny and servitude. To them the choice was obvious; the preservation of their liberty was of much greater concern than their safety and comfort. Had it not been so for all those who took up arms against their government the brave soldiers under the command of General Washington would not have endured the hardships and threat of death at the hands of the best equipped and trained army in the world.
How are you to defend your rights if you don’t even know what they are? How are to be aware when your government seeks to deprive you of those rights when you are more concerned with what’s on TV or what’s trending on Facebook than you are what laws your government is passing? How do you dare call yourself a patriot when you bow obediently to the unjust exercise of power over you?
What happened to you America; where did your love of liberty go, along with your willingness to defend it against any who would threaten it? Is your concern that the ‘other’ party might enact laws you disagree with of more importance than the fact that BOTH parties are guilty of trampling upon the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
Samuel Adams had a message for the Colonists of his time who preferred the peace of servitude and submission to a tyrant that could very well apply to the overwhelming majority of people in America today, “If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
In 1912 Woodrow Wilson made the following statement in a speech given to the New York Press Club, “Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of the government. This history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.”
On December 23, 1776 Thomas Paine published the first of his Crisis Letters, stating, “Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.” (Emphasis added)
Is not that the same thing Abraham Lincoln told the South when they sought to free themselves from the oppression of their government? Is that not the same thing our government tells us today, that we must submit to their authority in all cases whatsoever, and to resist it unpatriotic or even treasonous?
And if these statements are not true, then does that not mean that we are slaves. As Lysander Spooner so effectively said, “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.” If you don’t like being called a slave, then I would suggest you stop acting like one by learning what your rights are and how your government had deprived you of them.
Until then, as the old saying goes, “If the shoe fits…”
January 11, 2018
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.