A prophet of old once said "my people perish for lack of knowledge." Today, our stunning lack of knowledge of what it is we're really celebrating this weekend means we could be the generation that sees liberty perish in America.
Look at what happened this week. Arguably our biggest "win" since the Scott Walker recall came from the Supreme Court abiding by the actual wording of the First Amendment in the Hobby Lobby case, but only by a scant 5-4 margin. The fact we even had to win the argument at all, that government can't force you to do something that violates your moral conscience, like directly pay for the killing of innocent persons for example, is proof positive large pockets of Americans really have no idea what Independence Day is all about.
Our Founding Fathers intended this holiday to be about much more than barbecues and camping trips. They intended it to be a commemoration of American Exceptionalism. Consider this excerpt from a letter Founding Father John Adams sent to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:
"(Independence Day) will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. 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 more. You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that Posterity will triumph in that days' transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not."
Nowadays, if you're a community that attempts to take John Adams' advice, you end up in court for violating the so-called separation of church and state. Why have we strayed so far from the path to freedom our forefathers blazed for us?
I believe it's because most of us have never truly read, studied, and thus understood the words in our founding document — The Declaration of Independence.
In my opinion, the Declaration is one of the greatest treatises ever written. Given what was at stake, and the history that was riding on its every syllable, it had to be. It's formatted like a legal argument, which is exactly what it was. There is the opening argument which lays the groundwork for the case, followed by the presenting of evidence that reinforces the case, and then it concludes with the closing argument with the verdict to be rendered by history.
Much of its terminology and ideas are sadly foreign concepts to those of us worked over by political correctness and statism, but they remain every bit as true and inspired now as they were when the ink first fell from the pen of Thomas Jefferson 238 years ago.
It begins "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…"
Right away Jefferson is letting you know this is a document of separation, or secession. These United States are seceding from the British Crown.
Jefferson continues "…and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them…"
Now Jefferson is making the case that there is a higher law than the laws that bound the colonies to England, and he invokes the highest law of them all in justifying this secession—"the Laws of Nature and Nature's God."
Then, Jefferson writes what essentially becomes the mission statement of American Exceptionalism: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. That among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
In a nutshell, Jefferson says this: There is a God and it's not government. Our rights come from Him and not government. Therefore, government's only duty is the protection and preservation of those God-given rights, and a people doesn't have to consent to being governed by a government that is derelict in that God-given duty.
Jefferson then enters into evidence 27 grievances, or what he calls "repeated injuries and usurpations." This is a list of documented injustices committed by King George III, which are in violation of not just good government, but also the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God." Worth noting is that abuse of the judiciary is the most-named violation, similar to how Leftists today use the judiciary to usurp the Constitution.
Finally, Jefferson notes in his closing this act of secession is not being taken lightly, but only as a last resort once the Crown made it clear they won't waver from their tyranny. Jefferson writes, "We therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do in the Name, and by the Authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be Free and Independent States."
Jefferson concludes by noting the hope of these newly free and independent states comes from "a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence" and mutually pledging to one another "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor."
Sadly, we are no longer free and independent states, but all are wards of the welfare state. We are no longer a people of honor, but a people of entitlement. We no longer rely upon divine providence, but tolerance—tolerating everything other than obedience to the Creator in whose image we are made. We no longer model this Declaration to the rest of the world, but rather the Hegelian Dialectic instead.
In my book "Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again," I cited the results of a poll of Americans who had been elected to public office, which was done by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The poll found:
Only 49 percent could correctly identify all three branches of government. Only 46 percent knew Congress, not the president, has the power to declare war. Only 15 percent knew the phrase "separation of church and state" never actually appears anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. Only 57 percent knew what the Electoral College was, and 20 percent actually thought it was for "training those aspiring for higher political office."
That aforementioned prophet of old is still right. We are perishing for a lack of knowledge. An ignorant people cannot be a self-governing people, which is why we've traded one tyrant an entire ocean away for thousands of tyrants right here at home.
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