On the Fourth: Mourning America's Lost Independence and Freedom
July 4, 2017
Ron Paul / The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity & Thomas Knapp / The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
Commentary: Some 241 years after the American Revolution, we live in a country that is oppressive, with a government that increasingly views its citizens as the enemy. The US intelligence community has robbed us of our privacy. The military industrial complex stifles peaceful research and development. The US dollar has lost 98 percent of its value over the past century. Today's children can't remember a time without metal detectors, bag searches and a state of perpetual fear.
We Must Declare Independence
Ron Paul / The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity
(July 4, 2017) -- As Independence Day comes around again we should spend a few moments between barbecue and fireworks to think about the meaning of independence. The colonists who rebelled against the British Crown were, among other things, unhappy about taxation. Yet, as economist Gary North points out, the total burden of British imperial taxation was about one-to-two percent of national income.
Some 241 years later, Washington claims more of our money as its own than King George could have ever imagined. What do we get in this bargain? We get a federal government larger and more oppressive than before 1776, a government that increasingly views us as the enemy.
Think about NSA surveillance. As we have learned from brave whistleblowers like William Binney and Edward Snowden, the US intelligence community is not protecting us from foreigners who seek to destroy our way of life.
The US intelligence community is itself destroying our way of life. Literally every one of our electronic communications is captured and stored in vast computer networks. Perhaps they will be used against "dissidents" in the future who question government tyranny.
We have no privacy in our computers or our phones. If the government wants to see what we are doing at any time, it simply switches on our phone camera or computer camera -- or our "smart" television. Yet today we continue to hear, "I've got nothing to hide."
In a recent interview on our Liberty Report, Edward Snowden made the excellent point that, "saying that you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say."
Think about the TSA. The freedom to travel is fundamental, and our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is the law of the land. But if you dare to exercise that right by purchasing an air ticket, you are treated like a Guantanamo Bay detainee.
Don't dare question as the TSA agents commit acts that would be crimes were they done by anyone else. Yet so many Americans still believe this is what it takes to be "safe."
Think about the military industrial complex. The US government spends more on its military empire than much of the rest of the world combined. Our so-called mortal enemy Russia spends ten cents to every dollar we spend on weapons of war. Yet we are told we must spend more!
Imagine the amazing peaceful scientific discoveries that might be made were so many researchers and scientists not on the government payroll designing new ways to end life on earth.
Think about the Fed. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the US dollar has lost some 98 percent of its value. Is the destruction of our currency not a cruel form of tyranny, hitting hardest those who can least afford it?
I think it's time for us to declare our independence from an oppressive government that seeks to control our money and our lives in ways unimaginable to those who rebelled against the British Crown in 1776.
Our revolution is peaceful, and it concentrates on winning hearts and minds one at a time. But it marches on. We must reclaim the spirit of independence every day and every night and intensify the struggle against those who seek to impose tyranny upon us.
Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.
Mourn on the Fourth of July, 2017
Thomas Knapp / The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
(June 29, 2017) -- I visited Washington, DC for the first time in 1980. I was 13. Jimmy Carter was the president.
My family only had one day to see the sights. As I remember it, we went through what seemed a somewhat sketchy neighborhood (I was a country boy, so it may have just been nerves about The Big City), turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue, and drove past the White House and Capitol before taking in selected bits of the Smithsonian and visiting Arlington National Cemetery.
Then we proceeded to Andrews Air Force Base, where my brother was stationed, and just for fun drove past Air Force One.
I saw a lot of really neat stuff that day, but right now I'm thinking about the stuff I didn't see, or at least didn't notice.
I don't recall seeing a single police officer anywhere, although I'm sure I must have. The only man with a gun I noticed at Andrews was the gate guard, who checked my brother's ID and waved us through. Nobody seemed to give us a second glance as we passed within a few hundred feet of the president's plane.
I don't recall any security checkpoints, barricades or traffic barriers along Pennsylvania Avenue, and I think I would have remembered those.
This was in the middle of the Iran hostage crisis and only a few months after the Unabomber's attack on American Airlines Flight 444 as it flew into DC from Chicago. Central America was in the throes of successful and unsuccessful revolutions and the US wasn't terribly popular there. Carter was preparing to re-institute draft registration in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
And yet (aside from a surplus of marble monuments), Washington seemed on the whole to be a normal, American city.
When did the East Germans take over?
You can't drive past the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue today. It was "temporarily" closed to motorized traffic after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and that closure was officially made permanent after 9/11.
Seldom a week passes without breathless reports of a "security incident." Someone touched the White House fence (everyone panic!) or was shot to death by police after making a wrong turn or panicking at a random roadblock. Air Force One? You can still see it. On TV, anyway.
You can still visit Washington, but if you plan to fly in, count on multiple instances of being required to show your papers and get felt up at the airports. My own kids can't remember a time without metal detectors, bag searches and dire warnings even at the entrances to such attractions as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
I guess every generation of adults feels like things have gone downhill since they were kids. But as someone a little too young to have understood Vietnam or Watergate and just exactly old enough to have exuberantly celebrated the nation's bicentennial, these days I find each 4th of July to surpass the last as an occasion for mourning an America that no longer exists.
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. He lives and works in north central Florida. Reprinted from the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.
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