Perspectives: Are we still celebrating freedom today?

OPINION – Independence Day is a curious holiday. Next to Christmas, it is likely the most eagerly celebrated holiday in America.

John Adams, in a letter to his wife, spoke of the toil, treasure, and blood that would be required to secure and maintain the independence being declared by the states. He also commented on how future generations should view this decisive action.

Adams wrote, “It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

In gaining deliverance from an increasingly unresponsive, tyrannical government, the people were asserting their innate right to create a legitimate government. This means a government that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. It means a government whose powers are limited by law through checks, balances and separation of those powers.

Most importantly, it means a government that exists for the purpose of protecting and guaranteeing the inalienable rights of the people.

With these criteria in mind, could someone please tell me, what exactly are we pretending to celebrate this year?

Are we free people living in a free country? Or are we doing our best to avoid a painful truth that is growing more obvious by the day?

Our government currently claims the authority to spy on us, torture us, hold us incommunicado indefinitely; all without due process or evidence. Our president has kill lists of individuals who may be assassinated by drone strike on mere suspicion that they are a threat to national security.

In a free country, does the state use its agencies to punish and intimidate political opponents? Should a free people have to submit to arbitrary searches of their person and their belongings in order to travel?

Why must we pretend that such things aren’t transforming our formerly free country into a police state? It’s as if our parades and pageants have become a tool for blinding us to the reality that freedom is in eclipse.

Harry Browne once wrote:

 The holiday oratory deceitfully describes America as though it were the unique land of liberty that once was. Politicians thank the Almighty for conferring the blessings of liberty on a country that no longer enjoys those blessings. The original freedom and security have disappeared, even though the oratory lingers on.

In denial, we pretend that everything is all right because we’re made to feel guilty for criticizing the government. Even worse, we often conflate government with country by forgetting that they are two separate and distinct things. Love of country is consistent with patriotism; love of government carries the reek of nationalism.

Our government likes to constantly remind us that there are worse places to live even as it treats us like potential enemies.

As Joseph Sobran said, “It’s as if an alcoholic, adulterous wife-beater were to keep reminding his wife that she’s fortunate he’s not O.J. Simpson.”

It’s one thing to mindlessly go through the patriotic motions of the Independence Day festivities; but few people are likely to actually ponder what we’re celebrating. It’s sobering how little freedom remains in a nation that, despite increasing evidence to the contrary, stubbornly claims to be the freest on earth.

Albert Einstein summed up the value of freedom when he said, Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”

Liberty is a natural right, but freedom can only exist where societies of people voluntarily agree to uphold it. Of course, freedom has many associated duties. But only free people are willing to bear those responsibilities.

In explanation, Oliver DeMille said that “those who stand for freedom must honor the inalienable rights of all, and they must also take responsibility for standing up and helping ensure that society succeeds. No truly free government directs this free and voluntary behavior, but without it freedom decreases.”

This Independence Day, we would be wise to focus on the role that each of us should play in maintaining our freedom. Like John Adams, must be capable of seeing that “the end is more than worth all the means” when it comes to freedom.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • Katelyn July 4, 2013 at 10:42 am

    This is what many would call “1st world American problems.” It’s where our lives are so good that we start making up problems. People in others countries have to worry about “what if I get raped today then stoned for committing adultery?” or “is today the day that they are going to shoot my family to death?”
    Now I agree that in a country where gay people have to be granted the rights to marry, that we are not completely free. But we are getting there, and we are still a free country. You have a right to post this article without getting sent to jail. I have a write to comment on it and disagree with you and not get shot. These are the freedoms that I am celebrating today. The freedom to have an opinion, the freedom to work and go to school even though I’m a woman, the freedom to go to any church you choose and not go to church if you choose not to, and so many other freedoms that many take for granted everyday.
    So yes, today is a day to celebrate our freedoms that so many do not have. I’m proud to be an American and proud to live in this amazing country.

  • Alex July 4, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Could the author please explain what service he has done for our country? Secondly if the author doesn’t think he is free why wouldn’t he leave the US for a country where he is free?

    • Roy J July 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      “If you don’t like it you can leave” sounds very little like democracy. It sounds alot like despotism, which always says things like ‘It’s my way or the highway”, “Take it or leave it”. Despotism only equals freedom for bullies.

  • Ron July 5, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Katelyn is right on the mark. I am so happy to live in this country. I can pretty much do what I want to do, travel where I want to travel, and say what I want to say (including calling the President names and accusing him of all sorts of scandalous behavior) with no fear of reprisals or repression. Yes, there is some petty stuff to put up with, and I’m sure Brian could point out some areas where I need government permission to do certain things, but I’ve been to countries where people live in fear of saying the wrong thing or associating with the wrong people. We have periodic “regime changes” without violence. Our vote is still confidential. America is still a wonderful place to live. Just look at all the folks from elsewhere who want to be part of it.

  • Mary July 5, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I think people in the US take for granted much of what we have. As Kaitlyn mentioned, here we don’t have to worry that today the government might show up and kill our families. Women can walk down the street without a chaperon, they can hold jobs and own property and they can divorce their husbands. Here women have rights. Here children are protected by the laws, if you beat your child you will be punished. Here we are for the most part, safe. And people take that for granted.

  • Kat July 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Here is the US, we DO have to worry about the government coming into our homes and killing our family’s, or detaining them without due process, (NDAA) We do have to worry about the safety of our children on a daily basis thanks to false flag attacks perpetuated by our own government and its long list of alphabet agencies (FBI, NSA<,TSA<,CIA ect) who so often violate our personal freedoms in the name of "security". We do have to worry about being harassed, abused and illegally searched, clothing AND body cavities when trying to travel through our "free country". We do have to worry about being detained at points and demanded of to show proof of citizenship and be detained unlawfully, in what seems to be a very similar situation as what was within Nazi Germany. We do have to worry about our property being taken from us from our government for no reason. Our rights are systematically being taken away from us and those who still believe that they live in a free country are exactly the kind of sheeple who are still asleep and have not woken up to the truth, whether because they are scared to accept the massive reality that is our current situation or because they refuse to accept anything other than the guise of a republic that we no longer live under as still being in practice. Read up on what the TSA can do to you at any airport, see what immigration officers can do to you at any "immigration" checkpoint, (which by definition are illegal under the constitution). Check out what the Federal Government can do to you under the patriot act, and the extensions of it, and inform yourself on how the federal government can justify indefinitely detaining you without ever trying you, or even charging you with a crime! I'm sorry, but we may not live in a country where we have to go about in a veil and robes(although we do live in a country where if you do you will be harassed and stereotyped by it's own citizens) and being demonized and blacklisted with certain expectations for "being a woman" but I call bullshit! When we abuse ourselves to the point of physical pain and financial ruin to perpetuate a certain standard of unrealistic beauty that utterly consumes and defines us as woman (as well as men, its really applicable to being relevant to the physical preconceived notions of what we are expected to be like or physically portray in general). Woman are just as oppressed here as in these "third world or terrorist filled countries" to which everyone who has commented on so far has reinforced by there very ignorant and cliche American answers. Do some research on what rights you think you are celebrating, understand what rights you DO NOT have because of direct actions taken and done by your country. America used to represent freedom, that is no longer the case, we have the highest ate of incarceration in the world, we have some of the lowest numbers on education and we have let our elected leaders systematically take down this country and create by action and definition a massive laughingstock of the world. We cannot even trust our government to stay out of our phone calls, our emails, I cannot practice freedom of speech for fear it might be interpreted with bias and then, in the name of security, be arrested. Read the Constitution, read the Bill of Rights, and then tell me what freedoms I am supposed to be celebrating that have not already been taken away! What part of "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" DO YOU THINK YOUR GOVERNMENT DOESN'T UNDERSTAND? Do some research and then tell me, without the generic, cliche cookie cutter responses of an ignorant and brainwashed nation what rights I am supposed to be celebrating? I love and stand by my country. I do not stand by our current government nor does it represent the best interests of its people, and if this country cannot see that, then maybe its better off for those sheeple to remain placid and comfortable, eating their overly processed garbage and fast food, drinking there flouride filled water, getting unnecessary vaccines(literally putting poison into their bodys) shopping for their XXXL sized clothing they don't need made in other countries by slave labor to fill an insatiable need to consume from global company's that destroy local business and economy so they can use it once, break it, and then go out and consumeristically buy buy buy, and buy some more. Go ahead and read about the Kardashians stay amused and distracted and criticize each other and keep up with the Jones and pay for what they cannot afford and already bought and drown in a sea of debt that will chain them to unfullfilled jobs and lives because thats easier than accepting the truth and making a change!!!!!

  • Kat July 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    This is a well written article that brings up many interesting truths about what it is to be an American Citizen today. We must always remember what liberty and freedom means and that, we the people hold the true power, and I’m sure the government knows it!

  • Chris July 10, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I have to question whether the U.S. has ever been “our formerly free country.” The ” Day of Deliverance” referred to by John Adams provided freedom only to white, male, Christian landholders. Everyone else was still oppressed by the government for much of the next two centuries.

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde July 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Keep in mind that by establishing the proper role of government, the Founders clearly established the flow of political power.
      .
      Our rights are inherent and we are endowed with them by the Creator.
      .
      The people institute government by their common consent to protect life, liberty and property.
      .
      Government is delegated certain limited powers to guarantee and preserve those inherent rights.
      .
      This pecking order made it possible to correct wrongs such as chattel slavery. Unfortunately, we have all become slaves to a government that oppresses us much more equally.

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