Getting from where we are today – living under the largest government in history – to a real “land of the free,” won’t be quick or easy. But, by following the advice and strategy of the founders and old revolutionaries, we can move things forward on the path to liberty.
Here are 5 main areas that will help us break free from the monster state.
It’s nearly impossible to advance and defend liberty without first knowing much about it.
Benjamin Rush put it this way in 1786, writing, “Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights.”
That’s why people with power prefer an ignorant people, as Samuel Adams understood, writing that “It is in the interest of tyrants to reduce the people to ignorance and vice.”
Thomas Jefferson echoed this view as well, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”
Our first step is education to counter both the relentless propaganda and widespread ignorance that have gained such a strong foothold through the government-run education system.
Out of ignorance, many will blame the Constitution for the monster state we live under today. But constitutions don’t enforce themselves – never did and never will.
Roger Sherman understood this when discussing a potential bill of rights during the ratification debates:
“No bill of rights ever yet bound the supreme power any longer than the honeymoon of a new married couple, unless the rulers were interested in preserving the rights.” [emphasis in original]
James Madison referred to Constitutions as mere “parchment barriers” that needed enforcement. And John Dickinson explained that even the best constitution could only “promote” but couldn’t guarantee “a good administration.”
And in those situations where there is a “bad administration” (which sure sounds familiar)?
The answer, Dickinson noted, was to be found “before the supreme sovereignty of the people.”
IT IS THEIR DUTY TO WATCH, AND THEIR RIGHT TO TAKE CARE, THAT THE CONSTITUTION BE PRESERVED; Or in the Roman phrase on perilous occasions—TO PROVIDE, THAT THE REPUBLIC RECEIVE NO DAMAGE.
(all caps in original)
In short, it’s up to the people themselves to protect and preserve their own constitution and their own liberty – whether the government likes it, or not.
Hoping that the right people will get in power, or waving a document at those who want to expand power, only guarantees that power will continue to grow.
James Iredell knew this, noting that, “The only resource against usurpation is the inherent right of the people to prevent its exercise.”
Not just a mere good idea, but the only way to deal with violations of the Constitution.
Even Alexander Hamilton agreed, writing in Federalist 33:
“Acts of the large society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers…will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.” [emphasis added]
This echoed the views of James Otis during the Revolution, who wrote in 1762: “So long as people will submit to arbitrary measures, so long will they find masters.”
Fear has always been one of the greatest roadblocks to liberty.
That’s how John Adams described it in 1776:
“Fear is the foundation of most governments.”
As long as people live in fear – of foreign or domestic dangers – they’ll run to government to supposedly “protect” them, the very thing that Benjamin Franklin so famously admonished:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
But people also live in fear of the government itself. It certainly is powerful, but courage, coupled with smart strategy (mentioned below) – is the path forward.
Thomas Paine put it this way: “The strength and powers of despotism consist wholly in the fear of resisting it.”
5. Good Strategy
All that said, smart strategy is absolutely essential. And patience is a big part of that, too. There is no silver bullet that will solve the problem that is the largest government in history in one fell swoop.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1790, “The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, that we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time, and eternally press forward for what is yet to get.”
Reiterating this approach following passage of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson wrote to James Madison
“I enclose you a copy of the draught of the Kentucky resolves. I think we should distinctly affirm all the important principles they contain, so as to hold that ground in future, and leave the matter in such a train as that we may not be committed absolutely to push the matter to extremities, & yet may be free to push as far as events will render prudent.”
Putting it all together, Samuel Adams may have summed it up best:
“All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.”
- Constitution 101: Supremacy Clause - January 29, 2024
- Benjamin Franklin’s Finest: Top Views from the “First American” - January 17, 2024
- Breaking Free from the Monster State: 5 Essential Principles - January 15, 2024