Written by Daniel Greenfield
What do we celebrate when we celebrate the Fourth of July?
Is it the independence from being ruled by an out of touch government thousands of miles away, taxed at their pleasure, and told to be grateful for it?
Is it home rule under our own elected officials who can't be trumped by the decision of some political appointees whom we never voted for?
A victory won by militias that don't exist anymore, on behalf of freedoms that are constantly under assault from the nation's own capital?
Is it at the very least-- national freedom, to be part of an independent nation that does not have to follow the laws of other countries or be part of a larger union of nations?
We don't have those things anymore. We're barely holding on to the rest by the skin of our teeth. Every generation the fireworks get bigger and we lose more freedoms. Bread and Circuses? We get welfare and fireworks. Social workers and outdoor BBQ's. Government subsidized jobs and a day at the beach.
So what specifically are we celebrating? How about these words; "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". Sounds good, except our ruling class no longer believes in a G-d that endowed men with anything, let alone rights. It doesn't believe that men are born equal. It believes that men are born unequal and that it is the task of government to remedy that inequality with positive discrimination and tolerance training.
"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". We have the liberty to be told how to live our lives. And so long as we find happiness in that, it's all good. But we better not get any ideas about trying to pursue happiness on terms that the authorities disapprove of. When the fireworks go up over New York City, those celebrating will be living in a place where smoking, salt and sugar are banned. Pursuit of happiness? As long as there's no sugar in it.
"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". Now that was an important one. Right? It was the arguable basis of the entire revolution. So how's that working out for us now?
In the last month, federal judges have struck down laws passed by legislatures over and over again. Forget the consent of the government. That doesn't matter anymore. You can elect whomever you want and pass whatever laws you want, and His Majesty's Servants will still strike them down. Political appointees call the shots. We don't.
A Federal judge has more power than the population of the entire state, its governor and its legislature. One member of Obama's cabinet trumps every governor, every legislature and the people of every state.
Think about that for a moment and then think about what the American Revolution was really about. And then consider how apt the term "Czar" has really become.
The King's political appointees are back. And they are the ones in charge. The day will come when as in Russia, governors are appointed in Washington D.C. And then we really will be in pre-revolutionary times.
Look at that part about "Just Powers" again. And then let's get back to a system where the Commerce Clause gives Washington D.C. the power to compel the public to do absolutely anything. Even against their own will.
"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".
What kind of crazy anti-government extremists wrote this thing anyway? Don't they know that you can't just "abolish" governments. Governments exist for the public good. These people probably hung around with militias, owned guns and read the bible. Talk like this means they have plans to overthrow the government. Someone needs to dial Janet Napolitano's government hotline, 1-800-EXTREMISM and report this immediately.
"But 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."
Hello, 1-800-EXTREMISM? I've come across a very disturbing document written by anti-government extremists? It's being handed out in schools to our children, right next to wholesome things like condoms and A People's History of the United States. Something has to be done about this soon or our kids will get the idea that they can overthrow the government whenever they please. Some man named John Hancock signed his name to it. But there are probably others. Wikipedia says someone named Thomas Jefferson was also involved. He's in Virginia and we all know they're right-wingers down there. Put out an arrest warrant for him immediately, before they act and ruin our 4th of July weekend. We're celebrating our independence, you know.
"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance." Certainly nothing like that is going on today. It's not like we have a country ruled by czars and taxed to death to fund a massive bureaucracy which can never get enough.
"He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws." It's called the UN, the ICC, the WTO, the IMF and about four hundred other acronyms, empowered by treaties which are binding on us and increasingly supersede our laws.
"Imposing Taxes on us without our Consent"? Don't you know that taxes are for your own good. We can even make you pay those taxes to private insurance companies, because your refusal to pay them affects interstate commerce. Your refusal to stop complaining about it also affects interstate commerce. Stop protesting at once. In the name of the Commerce Clause!
"For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever." Who knew King George III had his own Federal judges.
"He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people." Yes, but at least his golf game keeps him occupied the rest of the time.
"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." Now known as the DREAM Act.
"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." And conversely a free people who allow a tyrant to rule over them lose that name.
And so we come right back to the question, why do we still celebrate the Fourth of July?
In many ways we have less freedoms than we did in colonial times. For the moment we retain some of the most basic Constitutional liberties. But they're provisional. And they haven't stopped a level of petty interference in our daily lives that no American colonist from the 18th century would have ever accepted.
The Nanny State with its absolute mandate of the public good has rendered the Constitution irrelevant. It's still referred to by the judiciary, the way that English judges may mention the Magna Carta. To the liberal judiciary, the Constitution provides precedents, it is not absolute law.
We are no longer an independent national union. American law is now derived from and answers to international covenants that do not merely govern relations between nations-- as is their proper place, but also govern our domestic internal affairs.
We are no longer a union of states. Our governments no longer derive their power from the consent of the governed. Elections are still held and those who win them can govern-- so as long as they do so within the marked out limits. If they pass laws that the shadow government of judges and bureaucrats disapproves of-- then the laws will be struck down by the shadow government of liberalism.
Right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? We have a right to live, until a death panel says otherwise. We are as free and happy as our rulers allow us to be.
Our local governments answer to state governments which answer to the federal government which answers to international world bodies that are not elected by anyone. The only mandate of all these levels of authority is the public good, which they define for themselves in terms of their own institutions. The public good is themselves. Their own authority. And this is blatant tyranny.
So what exactly are we celebrating?
In New York City, where fireworks were outlawed long before transfats, crowds of people will be herded behind police barricades, where crowded against each other they will search for a glimpse of the fireworks through the buildings blocking their way. Then following police orders, they will once again march in file through the barricades, when the show is over, pleased that they have been permitted to passively celebrate their independence in the approved way.
If any of them try to independently shoot off fireworks, they will be arrested. Because fireworks are dangerous, like guns. Guns and fireworks can only be operated by government employees or those licensed by the government. People gathering to view fireworks displays independently is also dangerous. Everything is dangerous, except following orders.
Like sheep, tens of thousands of people will allow themselves to be herded between fragile police barricades that strongly resemble makeshift sheep pens, with the police as the border collies. They will look up to the sky, and watch the corporate fireworks overseen by the municipality and celebrate their independence. But what independence are they celebrating? Where in their lives is there any independence.
Tomorrow they will open the Daily News, the New York Post, the Village Voice or the New York Times and read articles and editorials telling them who to be angry at, what to think and what to feel. The newspapers will tell them that their own leaders are great, that the stores are full of things on sale and that it was another great 4th of July celebration. And they will nod to each other, and think, "Isn't it wonderful that we live in a free country?" And they will all say, 'Yes", except for those who read newspapers that tell them to say, "No". And they will know that next year there will be more fireworks and more sheep pens. More taxes and another blockbuster movie weekend. Because isn't that what freedom is really about?
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.