The U.S. Capitol building has been an iconic symbol of democracy for well over two-hundred years, much like the U.S. itself. It has remained so through the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and too many lesser crises to count, all while remaining largely accessible to the citizens whose interests those that work there are supposed to represent. However, this Independence Day found the Capitol off limits to all but a select few. Our elite overseers can’t be expected to open themselves up to a possible “insurrection,” can they? Sad.
The tragic events of the past year-and-a-half and our “representatives” reaction to them, as well as our own response, have left me wondering what the Founders and other astute political observers might say to us now, if they had the chance. Then I realized they would say pretty much what they said back then. Here are some of the most profound, universal-- and yet timely-- words of wisdom ever uttered in regard to societies, governments, and freedom:
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”-- Benjamin Franklin. COVID-19?
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”-- Benjamin Franklin. Sound familiar? I wonder what Franklin’s preferred pronouns were.
“For true patriots to be silent, is dangerous.”—Samuel Adams.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”—Thomas Jefferson.
“But a constitution of government once changed from freedom can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”—John Adams. We might want to take this one to heart.
“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”-- John Basil Barnhill. One of the great truisms of all time.
“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”-- Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson was a Democrat. He would’ve been summarily canceled today.
“Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.”-- Hubert H. Humphrey. Trigger warning! Humphrey was a Democrat!
“When plunder has become a way of life for a group of people living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it.”-- Frédéric Bastiat. We are seeing this now with our elites on Wall Street, in Big Tech, and in government. So sad.
“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it.”-- H.L. Mencken. The most accurate description of leftists ever stated, in my humble opinion. No truer words have ever been spoken.
“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”-- Ronald Reagan. Absolute and irrefutable.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”-- Abraham Lincoln.
“We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”—Abraham Lincoln.
The last quote was from Lincoln’s message to Congress on December 1st, 1861. It is just as true today. We are once again at a tipping point, an existential moment.
And I leave you with another quote, this one from Toby Keith’s new song, Happy Birthday America: “Seems like everyone’s pissin’ on the red, white, and blue. Happy birthday America, whatever’s left of you.”