Losing Our Liberty

In the time of the Founding Fathers, the colonists suffered under tyrannical rule and understood the consequences of being subjects to government.  As a result, America was originally structured around the Articles of Confederation – a document one step to the left of anarchy on the political spectrum.  Recognizing the document’s lack of sustainability, the Founders realized while drafting the Constitution that government had to have limited power.

And yet, in the past century, the United States has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of federal government power. Whether it’s the creation of the Federal Reserve, the establishment of Social Security and other entitlement programs, or the implementation of No Child Left Behind, the federal government has found ways to infiltrate every aspect of our personal lives, robbing us of our liberty in the process.

It is important to note that liberty is not a commodity given by any government or any document; the Founders recognized liberty comes from a higher power. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.”

The United States of America was founded as an experiment. Those brave men who rebelled against King George did so for a better life for generations to come.  Men like George Washington and James Madison lived under the tyrannical rule of a monarch.  Instead of accepting the notion that their rights stemmed from the throne, our Founding Fathers said that we derive our power from the Almighty.  No person, no government, no law has the power to take away our God-given rights; our rights are inalienable.

Whether it’s the PATRIOT Act or ObamaCare, TARP or Dodd-Frank, Democrats and Republicans alike are to blame for the destruction of liberty.  Government expansion is a bi-partisan concept in our nation’s capital, no matter the political rhetoric of the day.  The sad truth is that both political parties have become plagued with corruption and greed, increasing governmental control of our lives to further their own selfish ends, thereby poisoning the very foundations of American society in the process.

Even governmental programs who have admirable stated goals have grown wildly out of control. As Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute points out,

“Social Security taxes have been raised some 40 times since the program began. The initial Social Security tax was 2 percent (split between the employer and employee), capped at $3,000 of earnings.  That made for a maximum tax of $60. Today, the tax is 12.4 percent, capped at $106,800, for a maximum tax of $13,234. Even adjusting for inflation, that represents more than an 800 percent increase.”

As outlandish as it may seem, government in the United States has not always been leviathan.  However, Americans today willingly give away their liberty.  Whether we give it away because we support tyrannical government under the guise of “crucial legislation” that expands government power or because we choose to remain silent, Americans have forgotten the beginnings of this nation.  We have forgotten that government is not our master; our rights do not stem from Washington, D.C.  Until we realize that government is not the answer to every problem, we will continue to lose our liberty.

Some may even question the importance of liberty.  Some may argue that wealth redistribution or free education or outrageous environmental regulations are more important than personal liberty.  Again, Thomas Jefferson puts everything in perspective: “My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy.” Do not allow your armor to be stripped in exchange for the tattered rags of tyranny.

If bigger government isn’t the answer to our problems, what is?   The Founding Fathers knew the answer, which is why they placed it at the beginning of the U.S. Constitution: “we the people.”  You see, more government will always result in more constriction of our liberty.  If we are to actually save ourselves from the destructive path we are currently on, we must return the United States of America to a limited republic, just as the Founders intended.

We have to choose.  Will we finally see that the people are the answer, bigger government only creates more problems, and the necessity to take the reins in order to secure America for centuries to come?  We need to have the courage to do what is right, no matter the personal cost.  We owe it to those 56 brave men who put their lives on the line for an idea greater than themselves to choose liberty over tyranny.  We must find the courage within ourselves to be the people our Founders were– selfless individuals united together for the common cause of freedom and who put God, family, and country above all else.

Joseph O. Turner :: Mary Washington College :: Fredericksburg, Virginia :: @OdieTurner



  1. Ah, good old Thomas Jefferson, slave owner til the end, talking about liberty!

  2. Joseph, good article….Write more…. Your voice needs to be heard….Ron

  3. Joe, you would do well to stop downgrading TJ. Sure, he owned slaves. So did hundreds of others, and guess what? The blacks in Africa mostly sold them to us! That was the rule of the day; just be glad it was finally overturned. We used to think mental illness was the devil too. Look how many good, wonderful women were burned at the stake for being “different.” The world is a much better place because of Thoman Jefferson. Study this:
    “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world” -Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped.
    At 5, began studying under his cousin’s tutor.
    At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.
    At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.
    At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.
    At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
    At 23, started his own law practice.
    At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
    At 31, wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America ” and retired from his law practice.
    At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
    At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
    At 33, took three years to revise Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
    At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.
    At 40, served in Congress for two years.
    At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
    At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
    At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.
    At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party.
    At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.
    At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation’s size.
    At 61, was elected to his second term as President.
    At 65, retired to Monticello.
    At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
    At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.
    At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams.
    Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:
    John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
    “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe .” — Thomas Jefferson
    “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson
    “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” — Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

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