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How Independent Are We?


By Rob Olive
This Independence Day, It occurs to me that we Americans may not be that Independent after all. Im not referring to us as a country, but as individuals. We fought a Revolutionary War in the late eighteenth century against King George IIIs England to throw off the yoke of tyranny, and though weve maintained our independence as a country ever since, its equally important to maintain our individual independence. By that I mean independence from our own government. A recent Rasmussen poll indicated that 70% of Americans believe we have more freedom than people in other countries. My reaction? Its a shame that the number is anything less than 100%. We should be the freest country on Earth and one could assert that we still are, despite what many of us view as a steady erosion of liberty. Then again, a strong argument could be made against that assertion, depending on the criteria used. Im not interested in making an argument one way or the other here, but rather in examining why nearly a third of Americans surveyed believe we do not enjoy more liberty than people in other countries. Though the Rasmussen poll doesnt go into specifics as to the reasons for such doubt, I believe it comes down to two words: dependency and control. A person cannot be both dependent and independent (or free) at the same timeone precludes the other. So just how dependent are the American people? There are 47 million Americans currently on food stamps, nearly 5 million on unemployment benefits, and almost half of American households dont pay any income taxes, though many of them collect federal benefits in one form or another. This level of dependency harkens back to Alexis de Tocquevilles nin eteenth-century concept of soft tyranny, a term he used to describe a condition in which the prospect of hope within a community disappears. How can one have hope (or liberty) if he is completely dependent on someone or something else? Can you say Detroit? And how long before that lack of hope spreads across the entire country, to the point that it can never be reversed? Then theres the issue of control. We have centrally-controlled healthcare on the horizon that a majority of us dont want, a tax-collection agency that persecutes political enemies, a security agency that has built a new 1.5 million square foot, 1.7 Billion dollar facility

How Independent Are We?

2 in Utah to collect data on us, and a Justice Department thats admitted to wiretapping the telephones and hacking the email accounts of members of our supposedly free press. Theres also the fact that a number of powerful politicians want to license, register, ban, and even confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens. Americans didnt consider themselves to be independent when under Great Britains thumb in the eighteenth century, so why would we consider ourselves to be such when our own Federal Government treats us the same way? The fact that only 70% of Americans believe we are the freest people on Earth bothers me greatly, not because I think the other 30% are wrong, but because I fear they may be right. We are a unique and exceptional country in many ways, but primary among them is the fact that we were founded upon the principal of individual liberty. We should fight every day, as Americans, to ensure that the sacrifices of our Founders and of so many others since were not in vain. We should also bear in mind Benjamin Franklins warning: Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Those who are dependent and under anothers control have clearly given up Essential Liberty. On July 4thIndependence DayIll be flying my flag while (still) feeling a great sense of pride in my country. But I also know that we should be much freer than we are. I have a sense that weve begun to squander an opportunity given to us almost two and a half centuries ago by people who were willing to risk everything to fight for liberty. And I wonder how many Americans would be willing to do the same today? Rob Olive is the author of Essential Liberty, a novel that presents a disturbing scenario in which firearm confiscation has become a reality in present-day America. Find out more, read Robs blog, and purchase Essential Liberty at www.roboliveauthor.com. Sources: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/june_2013/7 0_say_americans_have_more_freedom_than_people_in_other_countries http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/government_programs/jan-june13/foodstamps_0606.html http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm http://news.yahoo.com/utah-home-nsas-mega-warehouse-data-080502716.html

How Independent Are We?