The land of the free? It’s inalienably less so

The anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil has me thinking about freedom. Like you, I can recall exactly where I was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and I first saw the images on my television.

I had just returned home the night before from a trip to Seattle visiting and golfing with friends from Michigan and had also been told that same night my wife was pregnant with my first child. All I could think was, “Just what kind of world am I bringing this child into?”

In many ways, it’s a pretty bad world that my children have been born in to. But it’s also a pretty great world. My daughters live in what I still consider the greatest country God has ever placed on this earth. But since that fateful day in 2001, I’ve watched government at so many levels take away the same freedoms that made this country great in so many ways.

Then again, that’s what the leviathan known as government does: grow and grow for its own devices and power, all the while taking away the rights that were the basis of our founding, along with their inalienable attachment to citizens. This made the United States different from every form of government that had ever existed. The whole basis for our greatness stems from property rights.

You see, before our Constitution, citizens weren’t allowed to own their own property. All of the property was owned by the king, the state or a strongman in charge of a particular country. What our Constitution did differently was allow each man, woman and child to have their own pursuit of life, liberty and property. The founders inserted “the pursuit of happiness” instead of property as a compromise, and I would gather many would see that as a mistake today. The founders recognized property owners have to be much more active in the governing process because they’d be stakeholders in preventing government overreach and cronyism based on money and buying votes. Then again, they only wanted those owning property having the right to vote as well.

And the inalienable property rights our founders of were so fond of go way beyond physical “stuff.” The intellectual right to think as we may is the ultimate in freedom. It allows us to disagree with anyone and everyone, particularly with those we put in charge as it relates to the taking of our rights based on their decisions. That’s the main reason we have a Constitution, so that those at the highest levels of the federal government don’t have to “think.” It’s also why almost every state and local government bases their operations on this great document. I mean, seriously, look at what happens when governments think, all in the name of helping and protecting of us, and how that affects our rights while transferring power to them. And the government doesn’t just use events like 9/11 to do this. Almost any disaster or crisis will do.

Since 9/11, the federal government has created a program to spy on its citizens without their knowledge that, as we continue to discover day by day, is more intrusive than anyone imagined. Look at how the TSA and all of its tentacle agencies have reduced our rights in terms of illegal and unreasonable searches. How about folks who’ve been detained without being charged because the government perceives them as a threat or didn’t like what they had to say? And how about our president firing missiles to kill U.S. citizens without due process?

We’re at the point where if you take a video of a cop, protest to close or to vocally near the president, store food, grow food, pay cash, own gold or do something someone in power deems unsavory, you can be suspected of “terrorist activities” or even arrested. 

Worse yet, if you don’t think like certain groups you get labeled as racist, bigoted, homophobic, a religious zealot or anything else those groups determine you to be while they take away your First Amendment rights at the same time. How long will it be before laws are passed that make how you think illegal? You only need to look to San Antonio to see such a law implemented. It now could be against the law to hold certain religious or traditional views. This “anti-discrimination” law is rife with problems, not the least of which is taking intellectual property away from Americans. How long will it be before someone is arrested for not agreeing with another individual or group?

Finally, in Colorado, our brilliant lawmakers have said owning a certain gun, a certain size magazine or “assault weapon” is not an inalienable right for law-abiding citizens. But in typical government fashion, they take away rights incrementally while saying they’re keeping guns out of the hands of bad guys. Um, we have laws to keep the guns from bad guys. They don’t work.

Look at it this way. Washington, D.C. imposes some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet still constitutes a war zone for its citizens. Then again, Washington is also loaded with folks to whom the laws they pass don’t apply. How’s that working out for you and your rights?

Since June of 2000, Craig Hall has been the owner/publisher of the Grand Valley Business Times. He can reached at 970-424-5133 or
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Posted by on Sep 10 2013. Filed under From The Publisher, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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