“The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.” –Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
The American dream has been a part of humanity long before there was ever an America. History is filled with stories of how people, once enslaved and oppressed, sought freedom for themselves and their loved ones. From the Israelites prayers for freedom from their Egyptian oppressors in the Bible, to William Wallace’s fight for Scottish independence in the 13th century, to the Boston Tea Party to protest taxation without representation, to the songs of freedom by African slaves working in fields here in the United States, the human soul cries out for freedom in a deep and primal way. Freedom is in our DNA.
Pilgrims didn’t come to the New World for welfare handouts or government-run health care. Instead, they risked their lives and everything they had for just a shot a freedom – a shot at being left alone by an abusive and meddlesome government. They knew full well that starvation, disease, or any number of cruel fates could befall them, but for freedom they came anyway. More and more people flocked to the New World for the same reason. It is this unwritten right to be left alone by one’s government, sink or swim, that permeates the U.S. Constitution. No human document can be perfect, but this dream the Founders gave us in the form of the Constitution is the closest humanity has come to fully unleashing the power and splendor of true freedom in this world.
Our Founders had a profound understanding of human nature and of the burning desire for freedom that is planted in the very essence of who we are as human beings. This is why the Constitution was written so as to allow that yearning for freedom to flourish and grow. Our Founders knew that each person would have the best opportunity to achieve their potential when not chained by an oppressive government. Barack Obama’s statements that the Constitution is a “deeply flawed” document only serve to reveal his deeply flawed and naive understanding of human nature, and what it means to be a truly free people. Not only that, but he has completely missed the point of the Constitution, and the precious American dream that our Founders bought for us with their sweat and blood.
Assaulting the dream left to us by our Founders, we now have proponents of a nanny state who would have us give up our freedoms because they say it is too hard to be free. It is too hard being free to make a living, so instead we should have the government take from those who do earn and redistribute it to us. It is too hard to be free raise a family on our own as we see fit, so we should abdicate our roles as parents and let the government school systems and day cares raise our children as they see fit. It is too hard to be free to provide for our own health care and retirement in the best manner for us as individuals, so we should just abandon personal responsibility and choice, instead settling for a blanket one-size-fits-none health care plan that tells us what is best for us. Would Americans really rather be lazy than free?
We’ve been told for far too long that it is too hard to be free. Our Founders showed us how to be free in far more difficult times than we are facing today. They were willing to sacrifice their lives if necessary so that we would have precisely these choices that nanny state proponents tell us are too hard for us. The Founders weren’t willing to sacrifice their freedoms just because times were tough and they would be appalled today that some Americans are willing to lay down their hard-won freedoms because of sheer laziness. Welfare, government-run health care, and a cradle-to-grave nanny state is NOT freedom, it is the essence of captivity and tyranny.
We are beginning to see the pendulum swing and Americans are beginning to fight for their liberties and the American dream. The Tenth Amendment movement is one of the latest manifestations of the age old fight for freedom. We can press on knowing that we have the weight of human history behind us as we fight for the American dream. Tyranny may win for a season, but in the end the human “yearning to breathe free” will rise. This encoding of freedom into humanity’s DNA is why tyrants can never truly win.
Lesley Swann is the state coordinator for the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center and founder of the East Tennessee 10th Amendment Group. She is a native of Anderson County, Tennessee.
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