Monday, July 4, 2016

My Thoughts on the Fourth of July

When I was a boy, one of my favorite holidays was Independence Day. I was an enthusiastic student of the War for Independence. My favorite book was the How and Why Wonder Book of the American Revolution by Felix Sutton. I spent a lot of my childhood reading about the colonial era, the lives of people like Sam Adams, Paul Revere, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. I learned all about our American forefathers’ struggle for liberty against a king who merely treated them as revenue-generating pawns. I was nine years old when the US celebrated its bicentennial and my mother wallpapered my room with a red, white, and blue colonial American themed paper and I had various prints of famous revolutionary war scenes hanging on the walls. I looked forward every year to the day celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Over the years, alas, my enthusiasm became dampened so that now, if I am exposed to any mainstream media celebrations of Independence Day, I do not feel the joy I once did. Instead I feel more like Charlie Brown at the beginning of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Remember in that childhood classic how, when Christmas approaches, Charlie Brown tells Linus that he knows he should be happy, but instead he always ends up feeling depressed. I increasingly get the same feeling as people gear up for 4th of July celebrations.

Now, much older and perhaps wiser, when I hear the popular media gushing about our freedoms, the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, Celebrate America concerts, and all the rest on the Fourth of July, instead of being happy, I feel a tinge of sadness. I like celebrating the Fourth of July by, say, gathering with friends, teaching my children about the Founding Fathers, reading the Declaration, and watching fireworks, but when I think about where we started and what we have become, like Charlie Brown I end up melancholy. This is because the politicians and the media talking heads clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Most seem to not even know what liberty really is. The only politician at the national level who spoke about freedom and the Constitution with actual conviction was Ron Paul and they laughed him off the stage. Instead, popular journalists and pundits try to make us believe that we are free because we are allowed to have other people vote away our liberties.

At the beginning of every major sporting event, Americans pay lip service to “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” but everywhere they are in economic chains. Last year total government spending was $6.4 trillion. That is $6.4 trillion with a t. That number amounts to over 36 percent of GDP. The Federal budget deficit the past fiscal year was $438 billion. Over the past eight years, our government debt has skyrocketed. By the end of this fiscal year, gross Federal government debt is expected to be over $19 trillion. That will be 106 precent of GDP.

Now, the important point to remember with respect to our freedom is that every single penny of government spending represents government control. When you spend money to purchase a loaf of bread, a tank of gas, or a pair of pants, you become owners of these economic goods and can use them as you see fit. When the government spends money, its bureaucrats gain control of economic resources. And the more of our resources under their control, the less free we become. . . .

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