Before you rush in and insist, “Of course, we are!” I suggest that you take a brief journey with me through the annals of history and take a cursory view of what is happening in today’s America. We have as one of our treasured beliefs, and as is inscribed in our national anthem that we are the “land of the free”, but are we? Lee Greenwood’s song has the line, “at least I know I’m free,” but are we truly free in 21st century America? I am incredibly serious in my question.
I would argue that rather than living in a free society we live in a ‘relatively free’ society. If you are one that asks, “What is the difference?” I will be glad to offer my definition in the following paragraphs, so bear with me. Why do most Americans believe they are free? What is it about our society that engenders that view. I agree, that we are supposed to be free and that is what the Constitution sought to provide, protect, and preserve, but are we? I suggest that we are ‘relatively or marginally free.’ We are free in some areas but not in all. We are free in some sectors of our lives but not all, especially when it comes to governmental control and regulation.
We live in an internet, technologically driven world with a microwave mindset where everything is instant or quick and easy. We can subscribe to internet and television providers and enjoy more channels and options that we can truly use or enjoy. Is that freedom? We can sit in the confines and comfort of our own homes and play video games or do whatever our hearts desire, but are we truly free?
I would argue that the encroachments of the federal government and various governmental agencies make us only “marginally free” not FREE! I have heard the term “free society” most all my life and the more I try to define that in modern terms, the more disappointed I become with both the mindset of people and the reality of the looseness of that term when applied to today.
There are Constitutionalist and Libertarians who hold the view that a free society is one that is free from aggression and that the only role of violence is in defense of person and property. I do not disagree and although I do not identify as a Libertarian but a Christian who is Conservative and a Constitutionalist and support Limited Government.
My views, at least in my view, are rooted in the Bible and biblical principles as well as common sense and civility. Every encroachment by the federal government into our freedoms, rights, and liberties is a violation of the spirit and intent of the Constitution. We have so many government encroachments today that I find it impossible to declare that we are a free society but a marginally or relatively free society.
When we, Americans, approved and ratified the 16th Amendment authorizing the federal government to levy and collect an income tax from all Americas we surrendered a significant portion of our Freedom. The federal income tax, unlike direct taxes, does not have to be shared with the states.
The 16th Amendment legalized what had been done before such as the tax during the Civil War where anyone making more than $800 was levied a 3% tax. That morphed into 3-5% on income over $600. Does that sound familiar? Any time the federal government finds a way to take our money it rarely goes down but increases because the insatiable appetite of politicians and bureaucrats to spend, spend, spend never diminishes. Money is Power! Income is Life and in taxing our income they are taking a portion of our lives. Is that Freedom?
If we are guaranteed by the Constitution the Freedom of Speech, Religion and the Right to Property as well as Defense of ourselves and our property how are laws that regulate who we can or refuse to do business with Freedom? According to the spirit of the Constitution, any business owner should be able to discriminate against anyone for any reason with no explanation.
Before you call me a non-Christian over that statement let me clarify. I believe that you have the right to say what you believe, and you have the right, as a private business to do business with whomever you please. If your actions are racist, bigoted, and laced with a phobic attitude of some kind the public, those who engage in your services or buy your goods can also choose to not do business with you. You have the right to be a bigot and they have the right to make you pay where it hurts, the pocketbook.
Is it freedom when the federal government criminalizes speech and regulates who you can refuse service to regardless of your personal convictions or faith? Some argue for Limited Government and less regulation will not agree with this but as much as I hate ‘price gouging’ that also should be the choice of the individual or business. In a truly Free Society, you can charge whatever you choose, and I can decide if I want to purchase your product at your price or not. If I don’t like your price I can either go somewhere else and if there is no other outlet for your goods or service, I can pursue alternatives or seek to provide those goods and services at a more reasonable price. That is True Freedom!
I realize that what I’m saying will cause some to attempt to pigeon-hole me politically as something I am not. I am not a proponent of No Government but a strong advocate for Limited Government. The Founders placed in the Constitution a duty or responsibility of the Federal Government to “provide for the common defense.”
In Article 1, Section 8 the federal government is mandated to pay the debts of the nation. No, I did not say pay the people of the nation’s debts as seems to be the mindset of some disciples of Barack Obama and those embracing the entitlement mentality of the Socialist offerings of the Democrat Party today. They were to pay the debts not continue to increase the national date and spend us into oblivion. They were to regulate commerce between states and other nations. They were to coin money, and a few, very few, other enumerated duties. But today our federal government bears no resemblance to the Constitutional Government authorized by our Founders.
The Nobel-prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek wisely taught, “We shall never prevent the abuse of power if we are not prepared to limit power in a way which occasionally may prevent its use for desirable purposes.” I believe that when we’re talking about matters that lie outside those few areas that constitutionally belong to the federal government, we should leave it to the states. It may take longer, but the outcomes will be more effective, longer lasting and more affordable.
Are we truly Free? If you are talking about the freedom to choose the people you associate with socially, yes. If you are talking about what television programs you can watch in your own home, yes. If you are talking about what you believe, yes. But, if you are talking about the full spectrum of life, including the invasion of your privacy and the encroachments by the government, NO!
How do we return to being a free society? In my view, there are only two pathways I can endorse. One is by returning to our moral moorings and in that I mean return to God and once again become a Christian nation. I believe that it is a need and requirement that those who pray become intercessors and intercede for the nation. That may not be your cup of tea, but I believe it strongly. The second pathway is at the ballot box and in maintaining a constant watch on the activities of our elected officials and when they violate our trust, help them find other employment.
I hope you will join me in the pursuit of True Freedom in America again! God bless you and God bless America!