Not so much, lately. I'm very melancholy. Independence Day has become the new Christmas. It's just another holiday - a day off work - and a reason to have a party. The basis of the holiday has been lost. The reason to celebrate has been mooshed into a sweet, high cholesterol, 32 ounce soon-to-be-Bloomberged treat.
Just as Christmas is no longer about the birth of Jesus, Independence Day is no longer about being independent. It's just more government sponsored Bread and Circuses.
We are such a shadow of our former selves. When I was a kid, it was called Independence Day. We were taught in school about the War for Independence against a large, tyrannical government who robbed the citizenry of its wealth - to be redistributed to which ever special interest the government saw fit. The "shot heard 'round the world" started the whole mess when this tyrannical government attempted to impose gun control on the free citizenry.
We were taught that the blood spilled during that war was spilled to ensure you could make your life anything you wished. The whole, Horatio Alger gig. You had equal opportunity. But it was up to you to take advantage of that opportunity.
We're back to the government taking from the productive, and giving to the special interest group of their choice. The government picking courtiers and serfs. Ol' Remus of the Woodpile Report, once again, eloquently spells it out for us -
For instance, folks were 'poor' rather than 'economically disadvantaged'. The poor were merely poor. It didn't matter how or when they got that way, whereas economically disadvantaged conjures up a no-fault chronic condition, as if someone threw them under a speeding limousine at birth.Our independence is a facade, as is our Constitution. We have politicians, police officials and even government spy contractors who swear an oath to, "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". Yet when they do so - say, when they see a government agency searching the private phone records of American citizens without probable cause or warrant - they are cast as traitors.
The economically disadvantaged are also understood to suffer more than the merely poor because they're also burdened with 'challenges'. By that they mean oppression and injustice. And by that they mean anybody who is not poor.
Really? You're a traitor when you expose an unconstitutional act perpetrated by your government?
The talking heads will retort that we have laws - FISA, USA PATRIOT, RICO - all upheld by the Supreme Court - that says what the spy agencies are doing is A-OK, and are all within Constitutional bounds. The SCOTUS allows for certain leeway when National Security is at stake.
The problem is, the Constitution does not allow it. Other than a handful of specifically described occurrences, (i.e. insurrection) the only way the restrictions imposed or the powers vested by the Constitution can be legally changed is by the amendment process. Not by one arm of government saying the actions of another arm of government are legal.
Dictators, fascists, communists and tyrants have always understood that there are ways to bend the law to their will. Sell it to the people that what you're doing is in their best interest.
A conversation with Hermann Göring during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1946 -
Göring: Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.I remember back in March 2003 when we were getting ready to invade Iraq. I wrote a post back then about what a mistake it was, how the Bush administration was just making stuff up as they went along. How, if you just opened your eyes, you could see the lies.
Me, some guy with no "intelligence assets" could see - and prove - that Saddam posed no threat to America. When I'd write these things on pro-Bush blogs, I was denigrated as a commie and unpatriotic SOB. The most common line was, "I'd rather we fight them 'over there' than here on American soil."
Very convincing, on the surface.
But if you just scratched the surface a teeny-tiny bit, you'd see it was all crap. How were these desert fighters going to attack - en mass - the good ol' US of A when they were lucky to get a ride in a truck on their way to their next sand-pile ambush point?
But the American people were still shaking in their boots after 9/11, and the politicians took advantage of the opportunity to expand their power. They followed Göring's words as gospel.
Freedom and independence have risks. As a child, every year on Independence Day, some kids would blow off some fingers playing with firecrackers. I remember seeing the stories throughout my youth. My parents would make sure I heard the stories, admonished me to be careful, then would hand me a brick of firecrackers, a handful of M-80's and a couple packs of matches. The same thing happened in every household in our neighborhood.
As a society, we learned from past mistakes. The whole idea of, "risk versus reward". We were taught the lessons about how certain unwritten rules were there for a reason, and if you broke those rules, there would be consequences for your actions.
Like getting the nickname of, "One Eye" or "Stumpy". No one wanted those monikers, so we were careful.
Now, government attempts to remove risk. Cover us in this plastic bubble of perpetual safety. Worse, we punish those willing to take the risk. We've lost our ability to be an individual. We've become The Borg - our sole reason for living is to care for the cube.
Can you imagine what would happen today to the parents who handed over a brick of firecrackers to their kids?
At a minimum, their children would be taken away from them. How can a supposedly independent, free society that is based on personal responsibility devolve into a true Nanny State in under 40 years? In two generations, the exact same act goes from a, "teachable moment" to a child endangerment felony.
That's not a free, independent society. That's a tyranny, any way you slice it.
If you read at all - outside of the Mainstream Media - you can see a strong undercurrent of dissent. A very real and growing Willful Disregard for the law. People pick and choose - as they see fit - the laws they will follow.
And I'm not talking about the traditionally defined, "bad guys" - people whose actions infringe on the rights of another citizen. I'm talking about regular mom-and-pop folks who simply have had enough of the heavy wet blanket of government.
They've come to realize that even if you try to follow all of the rules, you can't be successful in doing so. If some arm of government has a hard-on for you, they'll find a way to make your life miserable.
They see a kid in West Virginia who wears a pro-freedom t-shirt to school. He refuses to give up his right to free speech by removing the shirt, gets charged with "obstructing a police officer" and is threatened with a $500 fine and a year in jail. They then see another arm of the government - the court system - placing a gag order on the case, under the threat of "obstructing justice."
What they really see is the First Amendment getting double-tapped by the government. The police and courts didn't even bother with the whole, "National Security" ruse. They just brutishly required compliance with their demands.
How is this just? How is this Constitutional?
Perhaps one of the most prevalent actions being taken is more and more people working, "under the table" jobs. True, some of it was originally out of necessity, but much is now by choice. Once they get a taste of the full benefit of their labors, and don't have to pay a vig to some "legal" protection racket, they kind of grow cold to the old ways.
Forget permits, or licenses, or occupational certificates. They get more business because of the quality of their work, not a piece of paper from the government. They don't feel the need to ask for the permission of government to feed their family and pay for a roof over their heads.
To these people, freedom - real freedom - is more important than following the rules. They understand that freedom has risks, and they're willing to shoulder that burden. They understand that, "staying off the ridge line" - keeping their newfound market activities out of the line-of-sight of the freedom-takers - is the key to their success.
A Willful Disregard for unjust laws is what founded this country. Celebrate your Independence Day in the same tradition.
Semi-off topic item, but not really: Since the Department of War was replaced by the Department of Defense in 1949, we have not won a single war. Not a one. One of the few mandated federal government obligations - bringing hell down on the heads of those who wish to harm us - has morphed into a, "win the hearts and minds" social club.
The only thing wrong with that is that our enemies didn't get the memo. They still kill our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen like it's a real war. It's real to them. To us, it's a game of chess designed to last forever. Guess who's going to win. Guess who's going to have a bunch of broken chess pieces.
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