My Country, ‘Tis of Thee

Today, we celebrate the United States of America and the declaration of the greatest expression of human freedom. Today 237 years ago, America was a collection of colonies under British rule. The government had become oppressive and sought to use the colonies as a cash cow to fund remote projects and interests in London. “Taxation without Representative” was the battle cry for the American Revolutionary patriots. Today 237 years ago, a collection of men gathered to shrug the oppressive rule that refused to acknowledge the inborn dignity that every human has rights given to them by God. These rights are negative rights; they are rights against the tyrannical nature of man to seek control and authority over one another. The preamble of the Declaration of Independence proclaims that the derivation of power is not from one man to another, but “to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them”. The gift of liberty is given to man by Nature’s God; a being created in his own image.

It is true that both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are a charter of negative rights, a protection and barrier to protect the people against any government. They considered government a necessary evil and that government(s) are “instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. They understood, and the Colonial generation understood, that to perpetuate a free society it required a well informed citizenry capable of critical thinking and skepticism of government. This was and is not subject to any evolutionary process – it is a first principle of human nature – fixed as any law of physics.

Play forward the tape of time to today, where the current discourse surrounding the merit of a government that believes it can penetrate the said charter for purposes of “national security”, “safety”, or “just forms of equality” should be met with the same criticism. It should be made pristinely clear that the notion of Patriotism is NOT a wholly allegiance to the government. Teddy Roosevelt stated this in definitive stature:

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extend that by inefficiently or otherwise he fails his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

The tenet of patriotism is the same as the merit of any law. It pays the greatest respect to just laws to defend against and denouncing un-just laws. Martin Luther King Jr. further expounded this with his letter from a Birmingham jail. A Patriot holds their allegiance to their country. That means the principled tenets and foundational values of that country, not the temporal passions that run against said principles. In the case of the United States, that is the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. As George Washington made clear during his Farwell Address that it is the duty of our fellow countrymen to:

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

It is healthy to distrust government. Certainly when government is seeking the proactive expansion of its power and influence in matters it does not have the edict or authority to weigh in on. It can be said, with increasing validity, that there is not much difference between the operation of modern day Washington D.C. and 1776 London. And those Patriots wrote then “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [natural rights], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”. They state further that this should not be done for “light and transient causes”, but that it is likely for the nature of man to suffer under oppressive rather than to shrug it to seek the natural equilibrium of personal liberty. We are living under of the guise of progressive relativism that is nothing less than soft tyranny. A philosophy that roots itself in something vastly different than the principles that laid the foundation of this country. The Progressive agenda is history on repeat – the pursuit of man’s ambition to find Utopian on earth. It is a path that has and never will be obtainable. Our founding generation understood this and rightfully constructed a framework that would form the most legitimate government possible – a government from man to man.

The spirit of American patriotism is perhaps best summed up by a song written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, titled America:

“My country, ‘tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of thee I sing;

Land where my fathers died,

Land of the pilgrims’ pride

From ev’ry mountainside

Let freedom ring!

 

My native country, thee,

Land of the noble free,

Thy name I love;

I love thy rocks and rills,

Thy woods and templed hills;

My heart with rapture thrills,

Like that above.

 

Let music swell the breeze,

And ring from all the trees

Sweet freedom’s song;

Let mortal tongues awake;

Let all that breathe partake;

Let rocks their silence break,

The sound prolong.

 

Our father’s God to Thee,

Author of liberty,

To Thee we sing.

Long may our land be bright,

With freedom’s holy light,

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God our King.

As we celebrate our Independence Day, remember that it does the greatest honor to those who sacrificed everything for a brighter tomorrow to be critical of a government that is using a general ignorance of history and a maligned language to seek its own interests. Interests that don’t truly serve We the People. May God Bless the United States of America.

– MLP

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