Liberty or death. Seems like an out-dated notion today. We are free...or are we? Is it freedom when criminals have more rights than honest citizens? Is it freedom when people have to ask the government's permission to start businesses? Is it freedom when person's income is taken in taxes to support a social agenda he disagrees with? Do we have real freedom or have we just become so comfortable with slavery that we just accept it?
Most of us have heard of Patrick Henry's famous words Give me liberty or give me death! It would seem few people today value freedom so highly. Many of us would rather hide in our corners and hope not to be noticed rather than to stand up and risk everything on doing what is right. There are some exceptions. Have you ever wondered what led up to those famous words about liberty or death? Read on...
"One day Patrick Henry rode into the small town of Culpeper, Virginia and witnessed a scene which horrified him. A minister was tied to a whipping post in the town square. He was being beaten with whips laced with metal until his back was bloody and the bones of his ribs were showing. What terrible crime had this minister committed to be brutalized this way? He had refused to take a license from the British Government to be a minister. Three days later this minister was beaten to death for his refusal to be licensed. Not long after, Patrick Henry penned these immortal words: Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies have bound us, hand and foot? There is no retreat but into submission and slavery. What would they have? 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!" Author Unknown
How many of us would simply have shaken our heads at that minister and said "Why didn't he just get a license and play by their rules? Was it really worth a painful death?" What did that minister see that we miss? Why did he cry liberty or death? He had a heart for freedom, while many of us are too comfortable [or fearful] to have anything, but a heart for slavery.
Before you are tempted to give a quick reply, let me ask, "Is the situation any different today?" In our supposedly free western countries we can't even operate a legitimate business with asking some government's permission and getting a license. If you don't pay your property tax, you find out very quickly who really owns your property. You can be arrested and have your property stolen by the government if they even suspect you have anything to do with drugs or terrorism. Even if after much expense and hassle you are proven innocent, most of the time your goods are long gone. What about being suspected of tax evasion - you don't even get a jury trial - you are assumed guilty and have to prove your innocence! And if you think your private affairs are private...think again. The government can quickly and easily find out anything they want to about you. New anti-terrorism laws in Western countries have very little to do with terrorism and a lot to do with increasing control over innocent citizens.
We in the West have an illusion of freedom, but even that is vanishing like smoke from a magician's stage show. Many are still mesmerized by the show, others have discovered the deceit behind the scene. Their hearts have begun to cry for liberty or death. They have begun to search for ways to become truly free.
There are actually people who prefer to live in bondage rather than live free. The cry liberty or death would be a horror to them. And not being content to be slaves themselves, they often want everyone else to be forced into slavery, too!
Little souls wish you to be unhappy. It aggravates them to have you joyous, efficient, and free. They like to think that fate is disciplining you. It gives their egos wings if yours are clipped. You can ruin your life in an hour by listening to their puerile opinions. David Seabury
These people [and governments] with infantile minds simply do not want to grow up and face reality. To be mature means to take responsibility. These people do not want to accept responsibility. Liberty is not free, and they are unwilling to pay the cost.
While governments do have a place in society, massive welfare states, such as Canada and the USA, are no better than gigantic slave owners. Through deception their slaves think they are free - that is until they cross one of Big Brother's pet projects. In North America, as well as most countries of the world, people have through ignorance, laziness, and greed surrendered their freedom to the all-consuming, never-satisfied State.
A tyrannical state always limits a man's use of his property, taxes it, or confiscates that property as an effective means of enslaving a man without necessarily touching his person. R.J. Rushdoony
The process has been slow and most people would take offense if you called them slaves and State worshippers, but truth is not served by telling lies. That is exactly what they are, including many who would consider themselves Christians. They have sold their souls in order to keep ineffective government handouts coming. Many don't even stop to think the only money the government has is taken from its people. Oh no, these good people would never think of stealing from their neighbours, but they don't think twice about demanding the government steal it on their behalf! A thief is a thief whether he does the robbery himself or has others do it for him.
To lay with one hand the power of the government on the property of the citizen and with the other to bestow it on favored individuals...is none the less robbery because it is done under the forms of law and is called taxation. US Supreme Court in Loan Association V. Topeka 1874
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it. Frederick Bastiat
But the government is like a boomerang. You throw it at others and it comes back to knock you out. The government is engaged in an active war against its own citizens [with the full cooperation of many of them] and it especially targets the freedom-minded. In western society it has almost come to the point where it is safer to be a criminal than an innocent civilian. The government can put up with criminals - it fears a free and thinking public especially if that public is wealthy.
In spite of all this people clamor for more government and its intervention in their lives. They have fallen into the government's trap of being dependent on the government. They fail to realize that he who pays the bills makes the rules...and the government fully intends to make and enforce all the rules.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. William Pitt
A man's liberties are none the less aggressed upon because those who coerce him do so in the belief that he will be benefited. Herbert Spencer
Why do people prefer slavery? Why don't they cry liberty or death? They don't want to be responsible for themselves, their families, their education, their future...or anything else. As long as they can live immature, selfish lives with the government promising to look after them from the cradle to the grave, they are happy.
Like spoiled brats they will cry, pout, strike, riot, or whatever their undeveloped minds can think of when someone even hints at smaller government and more individual responsibility. Oh, they may agree in theory as long as it is some other person that is getting cut back, but as soon as it affects them - watch out! Temper tantrums supreme! They would never think of starting to look after themselves.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. Johann W. von Goeth
What is this thing called liberty which stirs the deepest emotions of men and women? The word "freedom" is like the word "love" - everybody claims to know what it is but few can define it.
Thorndike Barnhart Dictionary defines it like this: ...2. power to do, say, or think as one pleases...3. free use...5. ease of movement or action... Syn. 2. Freedom, liberty means being able to act without interference or control by another".
In practical, everyday language, how do we know we are free? A good, simple definition of liberty is: The ability to do what is right. Whenever we are hindered from doing what is right - either by others or by our own attitudes - we are not free.
Different people and governments have differing views of liberty. The bottom line is there is always some kind of freedom. The big question is who will be free [allowed to do what they think is right] and who will not be free. Who will have liberty or death? Take a quick look at the following concepts of liberty and see where you fit!
STATISM - is the belief the State or government holds the answer to all the problems. If we can only get the State involved it will solve the problem and everything will be alright. The forms of Statism to a greater or lesser degree declare the State should be free and the citizens are slaves of the State. Most would not put it that bluntly, but the basic idea is the State makes the rules [laws] and everyone lives by them or else!
COMMUNISM - is a violent form of Statism. The State is totally free to do what it wants and the people are compelled to obey. The State owns everything. Liberty is for the State, slavery is for the people.
Every Party member, every branch of work, every statement and every action must proceed from the interests of the whole Party; it is absolutely impermissible to violate this principle. Mao Tse-Tung [Quotations, 154]
SOCIALISM - which includes the welfare states of Canada and the US - is the form of Statism where the government seeks to control, own, or manage the majority of production and distribution in a country. [To illustrate: in Canada and the US a person cannot even make changes to their private home without getting government permission in the form of building permits and licenses. And a good definition of property tax is: the rent you pay the government to let you think you own your property. If you want to know who really owns your property, try not paying your property tax!] Socialists try to give the illusion of freedom for the people and of working for the people, but when all the trimmings have been stripped away we have just another story of liberty for the State and slavery for the people.
DEMOCRACY - is the form of government where the majority of citizens declare right and wrong. The majority vote is free and the minorities are slaves. In its worse form it is simply mob rule. A democracy degenerates into socialism when people discover they can use the government to get other people's money and possessions for themselves. "Free" public education is nothing more than one group of people stealing from everybody else for the education of their children.
...our democracy today...is nothing more than mob rule - the rule of the majority - where the federal government becomes a criminal, stealing from the productive and giving to the unproductive; where the government makes ungodly laws and politicians play god, relying ultimately upon the force of violence. R.E. McMaster, Jr.
ANARCHY - is absolutely no government. Everyone is free to do exactly what they want to do. Unfortunately, what some people like to do is hurt others. Without government, there is no one to stop or punish them. What happens then is that the most powerful or crafty individuals or groups are free and the less powerful are defenseless victims or slaves.
Freedom must be under law, or it is not freedom. The removal of all law does not produce freedom but rather anarchy and a murderer's paradise. R.J.Rushdoony [Biblical Law, 583]
LIBERTARIANISM - is generally the belief in a small government basically limited in function to the justice system [some libertarians would object to even this] and national defense. Their basic creed has been summed up as: A person should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as they are not hurting someone else. There is no government bureaucracy to interfere in the lives of people. No licenses or permits to buy, no property taxes [very little if any taxation at all]. Here we have liberty for the people and slavery for the government.
Of all the systems we have listed so far, this gives the greatest amount of freedom to the greatest number of people and places the prime responsibility where it belongs - on the individual. The problem with this system is that there tends to be no moral absolutes and therefore no way to judge between right and wrong. Who is going to decide when an action hurts someone else? Lines have to be drawn somewhere. Who is going to draw them? And on what basis? Who is going to enforce them and to what extent? In spite of these problems, the limited government and free market that libertarians suggest would bring prosperity to the majority of people.
The last group we shall consider are called CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTIONISTS. While their main focus in not political, they purpose a severely limited government much like the libertarians. They believe in a free market without government interference except in cases of fraud or force. The main difference is they do believe in moral absolutes as laid down in the Bible, particularly Biblical Law. The only laws a government would be allowed to make would be application laws, i.e. laws which apply biblical laws to modern situations.
only functions allowed to the state by the Bible are defense of its
people and punishment of criminals. To go a step beyond this is
forbidden. Biblical law works to prevent power being concentrated in
any one institution, by creating and sanctioning many institutions -
family, church, voluntary associations, and the state - all of which
have legitimate but limited powers, all acting as buffers against the
other powers, in a system of counterbalanced authorities. David Chilton
Return to Christian Social Theory and Liberty.
Return To Home Page.
Go to Sitemap.