Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
When the United States was first founded, it's authors and defenders were those intellectual revolutionaries who were well aware of the face of tyranny. These are the men who appear on our money…Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Franklin and others. We subconsciously see their faces every day when buying groceries, yet it is with a certain irony that their words are as foreign to most of us as those of Mao Tse Tung. We do not speak their names in conversation, nor do we revere their intentions. Their message has been lost in history and somehow not emphasized in most public schools. In fact, the revolutionary spirit which permeated such men and women, particularly during the revolutionary war with Britain, bears absolutely no resemblance to the attitudes of the modern American.
To the writers of the Constitution, patriotism was about independent thought, self sufficiency, freedom of expression, self governance and the spirit of revolution, all working toward the elevation of the human condition.
"The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be
our first object."
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
Today, patriotism is brazenly defined by the media as; intentionally suppressing independent thought, being totally dependant on government for everything, censoring free expression and caring nothing at all for self governance. This "patriotism" is the very personification of fear and mass-paranoia, emphasizing military and police-state protection against a host of "evil-doers out to get us" rather than civil liberties, careful reasoning and logical, practical analysis of world and domestic problems. Debate is dead in as much as talk show hosts are paid to stifle the questioning of government policies, while encouraging those speakers who support unquestioned authority. Our media and its employees are owned by a mere handful of corporate conglomerates, which is why its essential message almost always lies along the same vein of "fear before reason". Such fear before reason is useful only for the sake of their special interest aims, because it is the most profitable. The reason it is profitable is because when people are afraid, they will easily agree to participate in unjustified wars and unreasonable control placed over their persons, just like a ball and chain.
"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her
seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because,
if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
The corporate-state owned television and newspapers tell us how to fearfully think, what to feel, (fear) how to react, (with militarized paranoia) and most importantly, what to do, (support aggressive war-making and more restrictive laws/civil penalties).
"Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)
Patriotism today means being politically correct, getting in line when you are told to, and obediently following orders without question. Interestingly, such attitudes are the same as those advocated by tyrants and monarchs to control their subjects throughout the ages, up to the present day. They have nothing whatsoever to do with the spirit or intent which was written into both the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The authors of these documents understood very well how fear, egotism, selfishness and imperialism all fit together into the picture of old Europe. They had left Europe and the tyranny of kings for this very reason.
"It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong."
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
They founded a country which stood for the humanitarian and spiritual principles of equality amongst all peoples of the land, recognizing that only through freedom of thought and self governance, can a people truly find their utmost potential fulfilled. Never did they advocate patriotism as defined by not questioning anything, censoring the press or taking away civil rights under the guise of "protecting American interests". Never did they condone secret trials, military tribunals, invasion of privacy, unbridled war or the imprisonment of persons without trial or legal representation. All of these things were the trappings of old Europe, and they were the very symptoms of imperial corruption which motivated the writing of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in the first place. The new legislation known as the "Patriot Act" is a perfect example of where we have gone wrong.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor
"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never
for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. "
"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
In the present day we find the common attitude amongst our people; "that we have to give up our freedoms for the sake of safety and national protection", or at least so we are told by the modern American government. The very fact that our government would make such a statement, is by itself both evident proof of its lack of understanding of our founding fathers, and of its wholesale corruption from within. We're expected to believe that the very premises of freedom and civil rights don't apply any more, because "our safety" is more important than an obsolete Bill of Rights. Our people are not happy, their lives are in ruins due to both corporate scandals and government mismanagement. Liberty is something never spoken of…
"Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is
the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government."..
Thomas Jefferson (The Declaration of Independence)
The two party system of government currently in place, has become for all practical purposes one party, and one party alone…the secret name of this party is MONEY.
Supposedly our welfare hangs on a thread, one worn bare by the base threats against "democracy" made by Muslim barbarians. [Yet, we no longer live in a "democracy" because government no longer represents the will of the people. On the contrary, this government makes every effort to bend the will of the people to exist in accord with its own will…that of corporate welfare.] This is an old and tired political game, which has been played out over and over again by this country and others throughout history. It seeks to find a "bogeyman" to blame for social ills generated by the government and its own people. Any bogeyman will do, so long as it can serve as a distraction from the rampant mismanagement, corruption and wanton greed of those who are calling all of these shots in the name of the people. In the 50's and 60's it was "better dead than red" via McCarthyism and the communist scare. In the 80's and 90's the "bad guys" were those who used and sold those drugs not mandated by the FDA, with the mantra "Just say 'no' to drugs" and the "War on Drugs". Now we have the "War on Terror" which equates all Muslims with terrorists and the "axis of evil" list of governments, which supposedly deserve to be destroyed and replaced by our righteous military the world over. Iraq and Afghanistan are only the beginning…dozens more countries around the world are slated for extermination. The American government is now bent on the military conquest of all the resource-rich lands of the world, just as Britain, France and Spain once were. In essence we have become the tyranny and the tyranny-supporting empire, which we sought to escape and overthrow in 1776. We are our own worst enemy. Our country's actions are every bit as much the cause of terrorism, as they are the prevention of it. Just as the people believe we must exchange our freedoms, our Constitution and Bill of Rights to be "safe", so too do we lose what made our country the nation of freedom and true human progress that it was meant to be.
"The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the
following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not
always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly
oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this
oppression upon us."
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
Perhaps George Bush and his ilk should spend more time reading.
"When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property "
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
This he should do, I might add, without forever making demands upon what the congress and senate ought to do, what unlimited powers to make war and policy they should grant him, how the United Nations is inept because it does not immediately bow to his desires, and what the American people ought to believe.
If Franklin or Jefferson were alive today, they would no doubt advocate the same revolutionary spirit of rebellion to an apathetic public, which they did long ago. But today it is not the British empire which would be seeking their heads, it would be our own government who would brand them as "terrorists" and throw them in prison. This is how our society has degenerated into a money and special interest empire, based not on the cause of freedom and the good faith among neighbors and nations, but to one of greed alone as the guiding factor, in a corporate motivated world. As such, it is neither by the people nor for the people. Our government now exists to cater to profit margins in the worship of the Dollar As God.. Our founding fathers as a whole, who advocated the freedom of the people, (and not the dominance of government and obedience to authoritarian policies) would never have allowed such a government to claim any authority over the world, and even less so over the American citizenry.
"That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves".
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
Jefferson and Franklin would no doubt be called "a terrorist cell" who plot evil deeds against the welfare of the American people, for their call to arms against imperialism and police state tactics. They would be outraged by police brutality and an outright contempt for the public which this government displays, especially during peaceful protests and humanitarian advocacy. They would be incensed by the tens of thousands who languish in our prisons not because they are criminals, but because they express certain views, use certain herbs, hold certain beliefs and/or originate from certain nationalities. These are the errors made by empires, not by the live and let live philosophy of humanists, intellectuals, artists and true patriots.
"Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error."
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), Notes on the State of Virginia
Ironically, it is the average American today who would denounce revolutionary patriotism as radical and dangerous. It is the average American who now doesn't wish to be bothered by activism or talk of freedom, civil liberties or justice, because they are too busy making or maintaining their own empire of money. Most of our "patriotic" citizens only value their own personal business, far more than they do such "radical" causes as revolution or civil rights. These things they say, are better left to those "fringe" and psychotic groups or individuals, who deserve to be arrested and imprisoned for threatening the safety of the status quo. Who truly cares about these issues today? Almost no one. Why? Because we no longer value, as a culture, the qualities of freedom and sovereignty which literally defined our nation. [We have traded liberty for a false sense of security…period. "The Office of Homeland Security, police or National Guard will take care of us", they say, and "don't forget to report your neighbor to the FBI for 'suspicious behavior'".] As a case in point, the average reader of this article will peruse these words with some mild sense of interest, and then promptly forget its message within thirty minutes, in favor of the next soap opera, sit com or propaganda-filled news commentary on television. Will they act upon its message? Probably not, because the television has them placated, hypnotized and brainwashed. Let's face it, the issues and values of the founders of the United States, just don't compete with those of greedy consumerism and egotism, which fully permeate the modern world. What could be more important, after all, then making that next car payment or getting that new credit card? As a people we have become programmed to "consume", obey and accept sheepishly, rather than to be bothered by independent thought or action.
"Give me liberty or give me death" has become, "Give me liberty or give me a pay raise".
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I
know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death!"
Modern America believes that the people exist to obey and serve government. This attitude is due to the efforts of corporate propaganda and pseudo-education, based upon their desire for profit and mass-control. It is a symptom of greedy corruption based in anti-democracy. The fact of the matter is, the government exists as an extension of the will of the people. When it does otherwise, it is no longer a government that should remain in place, for it has proven itself unworthy to represent.
"Taxation without representation" was a major issue in the revolutionary war, as the people revolted against having to pay exorbitant sums to a government which spent that money not on their welfare, but on its own imperial aims for world domination. Today we have exactly the same situation, and on an increasing basis. The American government today spends more taxpayer money on its military then the next fifteen largest military budgets of foreign nations combined. It spends more on paying off a 6000 billion national debt due to gross mismanagement, than it does on public welfare. 350 billion dollars a year for the military is not yet enough, many say, to "protect our national interests", while at the same time social security funds are drained, welfare reduced, unemployment rises, public schools impoverished, health care spirals downward and costs increase. So whose "national interests" are these government officials talking about anyway? Not the peoples', that's for sure. What they mean by "national interests" are the profit margin considerations of big business, (particularly the oil, communications and pharmaceutical companies) and corporate conglomerates who now literally own the American government. It is these interests which tell the president, (as well as the members of congress and senate) how to shape his foreign and domestic policies. It is they who would have him impeached or assassinated if he didn't follow through with the orders given him. The speeches written for any modern president to spout with supposed conviction to an anesthetized public, are those carefully crafted pro-business, politically "correct" statements, meant to keep the status quo in place, but to never, never tell the truth.
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my
country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the
country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a
few hands and the Republic is destroyed. "
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865), quoted in Jack London's "The Iron Heel"
In essence, we have traded the tyranny of kings with the tyranny of corporate CEO's. The faces and titles have changed, but not the same old issues of inequality and non-representation. If this is not "taxation without representation" then what is it? Does the majority of the public today really care? No. Why? Because they share the very same values of greed and corruption, also known as "success" or "achieving your financial goals", with absolutely no concern whatsoever for the cause issues of justice or humanitarianism, than does the average CEO. As a matter of fact, there are extremely few people who would not literally jump at the chance to change places with the rich, even if this meant betraying family, friends and the cause of civil liberties to do so. From corporate president to peasant farmer or cashier, our society has become permeated with the rot of materialistic values, over and above those of freedom and human excellence. Until these values of worshipping the Dollar as God are changed, we will remain the very nation of oppressors and con artists for hire, which we fought against in the 18th century.
"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), Notes on Virginia
The following statement is made in the U.S. Declaration of Independence;
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, 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,--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.. When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security"
THIS is the true meaning of patriotism. Those who would say otherwise, and contrary to the spirit of free inquiry, honesty and humanitarian action, are no patriots, but conniving despots posing as patriots. It is our need as a people to fully realize our own heritage of justice and freedom, without simply speaking the words, while simultaneously ignoring both their meaning and implication in daily life.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
[Where self-described "patriots" are really just "parrots"….]
Furthermore, if we will only speak the words of liberty without any reflection of them in our daily lives, then we are no more noble than parrots, who copy sounds just for the sake of hollow imitation.
"Well done is better than well said."
What I strongly recommend;
1) That we change within ourselves those values of consumerism and materialism which are the direct cause of the decay of our higher purposes in life. "Consumerism" is just a palatable label for what would otherwise be honestly called, "endless greed at the expense of all else". So long as the people stand for the same values as those which make corporate and government corruption possible, there can be no "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" any more than a disease can be cured by only addressing its symptoms. So long as we live and work for little else but our own indulgence as defined by magazine ads, television commercials and newspaper admonitions of "success", we will never regain the nobility of purpose that literally inspired the writing of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. We must live for far higher aims than these, and on a daily basis.
2) That we educate ourselves, independent of the corporate owned media, and having learned the real facts of life, convey FACTS to as many others as possible. A knowledgeable citizenry is the only one qualified to make true democracy work as it is intended to. Question everything!
3) That we each rekindle in ourselves and our fellow human beings the spark and spirit of revolution, rather than complacency. Revolution starts with a change of each individual mind, which then changes the corresponding lifestyle. Lifestyle creates the demands which supports it…economically, politically, socially and spiritually. Toward this end, a simple lifestyle of but few wants and a vast expanse of freedom is surely a primary remedy for modern ills.
4) That we adopt a far higher standard for intellectual excellence than that which currently exists. To value questioning rather than blind acceptance, logic over blind emotion, careful consideration over propaganda, and clarity over a muddled confusion is what is needed now more than ever. Self knowledge is key to this endeavor.
5) That we educate the young not with the intent of cloning their minds into the mold of corporate benefit and materialistic selfishness, but with the intent of inducing self education through free thought and a free spirit.
6) That we place spiritual, (not religious) values of equality, love, honesty before personal preference, humanitarianism, respect for living things, clarity and freedom of thought to be our foremost goals in daily living.
Let us start the revolution today, in the spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.
Let us do so under the auspices of a spiritual society, rather than a materialistic one.
"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an
ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and
crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down
the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
Robert F. Kennedy
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