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Wave it or Burn it?

By Rajiv Bhushan  Posted by Bleeding Heart Liberal (about the submitter)     Permalink
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I got the following e-mail from Larken Rose. I thought that the entire e-mail merited discussion at op-ed news -- so here it is

Dear Subscriber,

I decided to delay this message until today, for reasons which will become apparent. Many of you won't like the message, but it must be said. If you don't like hearing that your "free" country is dead, you're free to unsubscribe and go back to a world in denial.

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Today is Independence Day. Today Americans across the country will show great reverence for an empty symbol, while showing disdain for a worthwhile principle. We celebrate with great fervor the signing of the Declaration of Independence, while showing absolute contempt for the ideas expressed therein.

What is it we are celebrating? Independence? Independence from what? We rejoice at having thrown off a tyrant who taxed us at an average of two to three percent, in order to establish new tyrants who tax us at over fifty percent. Having been thoroughly indoctrinated into the insane notion that "our" government supports liberty and justice for all, we schizophrenically condemn the actions of King George III, while remaining silent about the far more intrusive, oppressive, unjust actions of the current tyrants we mislabel as "representatives."

Let us set aside our picnics and parades for a moment, and think back to this nation's birth, and see what it is we should be celebrating. In his famous "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" speech, Patrick Henry stated that "it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope," and that "We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts." How many eyes are shut in this country today? How many Americans today "having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?" On the other hand, how many Americans have this attitude?: "For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."

Few. Very few. And who could say the following today, and not be condemned by the masses as an extremist lunatic?: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

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And what of the Declaration itself? How many Americans who pledge allegiance to a flag today can even remotely relate to the message of that document? The Declaration has become a revered relic, whose words have lost all meaning to most of those who worship it. We repeat the words, but the spirit of the message is long since dead. Let us revive it, put it into the modern vernacular, and assess just what the modern American response to the sentiments expressed therein might be: When a government infringes upon the rights of the individual, instead of protecting those rights, the people have the right and duty to throw off that government, violently and illegally if necessary. How many flag-wavers believe that? One percent? Probably less.

History shows that people will tolerate injustice they are accustomed to, rather than doing what it takes to get rid of a familiar system which oppresses them. Amen. And so it is with the dim, fading shadow of this formerly great nation. As long as we have our couches and our TVs, we will do nothing about tyranny in this land. So long as we are enslaved in comfort, we do not resist.

Much of the Declaration is a list of oppressions and injustices, "injuries and usurpations," committed by King George III. The Declaration proclaimed such wrong-doing to a "candid world," to justify their illegal, treasonous (and righteous) rejection of the government they were under.

In short, the complaints of the Founders against King George III pale in comparison to the complaints modern Americans should have against the far more oppressive regime they now call "their" government. As one example, the Founders complained that the British Crown had "erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance." In contrast to modern America, that complaint seems laughable.

Today almost three million people are employed by the federal government alone: a full one percent of the population. State and local governments employ even more. The level of micromanaging and regulation is far beyond what King George ever would have dreamed of. One look at the Code of Federal Regulations, which takes up an entire book shelf, will tell you that.

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Desperate to hallucinate something superior about this country, people now resort to saying that, though we're not actually free, we're more free than other countries. In reality, however, the U.S. does not have the most freedom, either economically or socially, anymore. In fact, the U.S. has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world.

So what is it we should celebrate about this country, and its independence? There is no substantive reason to celebrate. All that is left is unthinking pack mentality: we "love" it simply because we're here, the same way the people in every other country "love" what they are familiar with--the same empty herd mentality which enables tyrants to perpetually play the game of war.

How many this "Independence Day" will say the following words?: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands." Only the familiarity of those words, and our unthinking repeating of them, hide from us the evil insanity underlying such so-called "patriotism." Blind allegiance to a flag and a government is nothing to be proud of. (The reference at the end to "liberty and justice for all" is now nothing but a sad Orwellian lie.)

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