One may inquire, “How can any concept as mighty and forceful for a millennia be so fragile and susceptible to mischief, trifling and assault?” Millions have sacrificed and died for the cause of liberty. “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Patrick Henry cried out before the Second Virginia Convention in 1775. This concept of liberty, according to John Stuart Mill’s, “On Liberty,” began with ancient Greece and Rome, proceeding to England. In the past, liberty meant primarily protection from tyranny. Our Framers hoped for more. It proved to be gigantic leap forward, that only God foresaw.
John Adams, our second president, understood that liberty, under law, was essential for this grand experiment to endure. He was persuaded to write a book, in 1787, “A Defence of the Constitution of Government of the United States,” by his old adversary, later friend, Thomas Jefferson. Adams had no exaggerated opinion of the wisdom and virtue by the mass of mortals. Knowing that, perhaps more than anyone, he kept the American government one of laws, not of men. We are the benefactors of such wisdom. Liberty’s nature is extremely fragile. Recently, Senator Rand Paul, a clear voice for individual liberty, wrote to “Fellow Patriots” warning of the threat to our Second Amendment via the U.N. “Small Arms Treaty,” a back door assault by President Biden to ram it through the Senate, and unceremoniously grab our guns.
Adams isn’t widely read these days. It’s to Hamilton that most turn when seeking a conservative among the Founders. Some still hold that the best of Federalism, it was John Adams that held great sway in its perpetuation. He understood that genuine liberty must be anchored in the law and virtue, not aristocrats or political elites. Adams didn’t argue that men don’t posses moral motions, which is God given. However, he understood, like Madison, they are not angels. It’s interesting that Adams used the word “liberty” less frequently than many public men of his day. Not because he valued it less than those of his era. In his book “Defence” it appears his concern was that human weakness would confound liberty as a license. Adams preferred the concept of virtue driving liberty. He didn’t believe the first excluded the second. On the contrary, enduring liberty is the child of virtue. Without virtue, liberty is unanchored, he feared. His stern warning for checking legislative “ambition” echoed Madison’s Federalist 51 on separation of powers.
Many are familiar with Madison’s quote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Samuel Adams believed liberty is more than just a proclamation, but heroic efforts by a few brave souls, that the love of liberty is interwoven within their soul. Adams, like Edmund Burke, understood that true, genuine liberty is understood by a minority, going as far as to say that the masses are indifferent to it-not unlike 2021. There’s no paucity of “liberty talk.” Adams believed patriotic citizens must be compelled to understand liberty is like a delicate plant, that even watering it with the blood of martyrs is a dubious nutriment. He knew that liberty must be under law. There’s no satisfactory alternative or substitute. Liberty without law endures about as long as a lamb among wolves. Even civil laws are insufficient to safeguard liberty. Freedom, that internal longing, and liberty, the external exercise of that longing, may be infringed upon if virtue is absent.
In 1798, John Adams wrote that, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Therefore, without virtuous and moral leaders, liberty will not last, just as Samuel Adams warned. As we elect leaders and political figures who dismiss virtue and moral courage as a prerequisite to run for office; liberty’s severely diminished, eroded, and eventually evanesces. Like Rome, our Republic decays at the core.
What are the major threats to liberty today? From Benjamin Franklin’s memoirs, this quote reminds us of our quest for liberty, “They who give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.” COVID-19 revealed the vulnerable chinks in our armor. Within three months from the Wuhan virus, nearly every state in the union citizens surrendered most liberties without a whimper, with a notable exception of South Dakota. Exchanging liberty for safety-steak for porridge. Obeying the rogue CDC, state and local unelected health officials, millions behaved like dutiful masked robots. How does Marx’s grim nightmare appear once again as a dream?
Such consideration of causes generate more heat than light. Most dangerous to one’s individual liberty is apathy. December 15, 2020, marked the 227th anniversary of the ratification of the First Amendment. For the masses, as Adams warned, it went unnoticed. Celebration of our First Amendment should’ve been a unifying factor for all Americans. Apathy appears to have won the day. Some argue we’ve taken our liberty for granted. Contrary to popular opinion, liberty isn’t self-perpetuating.
Listening to the 24/7 hostile-to-liberty mainstream news outlets, to include the leviathan big tech oligarchs, who run rough-shod over freedom of speech, has been a bane to liberty for at least the past five decades. Unbridled social media doesn’t pretend anymore, as they bludgeoned our rights. Removing a sitting President’s Twitter account draws applause by a venal and virulent press, acolytes for the Far Left.
Failure to inculcate into our offsprings the truth of individual freedom and liberty are worth celebrating, fighting for, and, when required, giving one’s life because others attempt to destroy what God Himself created for us to enjoy and perpetuate. We’ve paid a high price for failure. Christian fervor’s indispensable to fanning liberty’s flame.
Radical activist are obliterating our First and Second Amendments, with powerful and well funded political groups like LGBTQ, Antifa, BLM, pro-choice and anti-gun advocates. Historically America was composed of diverse peoples who had the right to peaceably assemble. Today, lawless masked radicals torch our cities with impunity.
Devastating is our failure to recognize a malevolent coalition of fear and cowardice. History informs us that the former, unchecked, often turns into the latter. Fear of a roaming grizzly is understandable and wise. Cowardice of marauders attacking one’s family or Christian heritage isn’t. For such a time as this, one should bow the knee to our Lord, who promises to be with us always, then rise to action. Mills spoke of a third kind of liberty; to join other like-minded individuals for a common cause. The ruling impulse of tyranny won’t be thwarted by dormancy, denial or dereliction.
We’ll need common mortals-flawed-but resolute. Captain America’s first appearance was months before America’s entry into the Second World War. Average boy, turned super-hero takes on Hitler. One needn’t be a super-hero to join us as we stir the caldron of individual liberty, under God, in Natrona County. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org