The anniversary of America’s independence is special, because America is special. She is exceptional, not just because she is our country, but because she is unique.
She is founded on an idea—that our absolute rights as individuals are not rooted in the authority of a government, nor dependent on the whims of fallen men, but rather our rights are secure in the unchangeable quality of the Creator.
Because of the very nature of America’s independence, and thanks to her liberating constitutional structure, America has progressed the world farther in the past two centuries than in the previous fifty. America has produced more innovation and prosperity than any nation before her. I believe that the liberty and spirit captured in our nation’s independence is still very much alive today.
However, the forces of tyranny have begun to quell that spirit of liberty. Now, our annual celebration of independence is dampened by the growing sense that our precious liberty is slipping perilously from our grasp.
According to a recent study, Americans’ satisfaction with their freedom has fallen to just 36th in the world. How can we lead if the country itself has lost that confident spirit of freedom?
The words of Benjamin Franklin echo in our minds: “A republic, if you can keep it.”
The implication is that a free republic will not remain free unless the people want to be free. Do we really want to be free? Do we cherish it as the precious commodity that it is, with the reverent knowledge that history demonstrates that nations prefer tyranny?
Franklin said, “There is a natural inclination in mankind to Kingly Government.”
Ronald Reagan understood this better than most. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” he said. “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
We don’t have to look far to see that freedom in America is under vicious assault. The scope of the federal government’s control has reached a tipping point, including a burdensome tax code, a bureaucracy that suppresses economic growth and smothers the individual by issuing thousands of laws a year, a Congress that spends faster than it can tax, and an executive that centralizes power with every act he takes.
As demonstrated by recent government scandals, corruption and abuses of power have infiltrated nearly every level of the government, including the IRS, the VA, the NSA, the DOJ, and the EPA.
Our government has grown to become the very thing our Founding Fathers fought to defeat. Unfortunately, the leadership of both national parties have demonstrated they are unwilling to restrain this growing threat, precisely because they have been complicit in the erosion of our liberties.
The Statists have been largely successful in their century-long march toward a top-down utopian vision that is already sowing the seeds of despotism. Advocates for limited government must recognize that our defensive strategy is simply not working.
This provokes a question that is American in nature: What do we do about it? If we truly love America, and we want to preserve an America that is free and prosperous for future generations, what are we going to do?
First, we must recognize that talk is meaningless without action, and action starts with the individual–with you and me. Secondly, may I suggest that we look to our Founding Fathers to show us the path.
It turns out that the American Framers had the prescience to anticipate this day, and they provided a way back in Article V of the Constitution. Our founding document has been amended 27 times, all via congressional proposal. There is a second method that several framers insisted be included for the purpose of circumventing the federal leviathan.
According to James Madison’s notes, Col. George Mason, a Virginia delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, was one of the leading advocates for this provision, arguing it was necessary for the states to have recourse “if the Government should become oppressive.”
In a letter Madison concurs, writing: “Should the provisions of the Constitution as here reviewed, be found not to secure the government and rights of the states, against usurpations and abuses on the part of the United States, the final resort within the purview of the Constitution, lies in an amendment of the Constitution, according to a process applicable by the states.”
In Federalist 85 Alexander Hamilton writes extensively about Article V, stating: “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.”
There is something we can do, that you can do, beyond electing and promoting constitutionalist candidates for political office. We can petition our state legislators to pursue the ultimate recourse, as prescribed by the Framers.
Is it a long shot? Not as long as you may think. State legislators from more than thirty states recently formed The Assembly of State Legislatures, which is working to craft rules for a future Article V convention.
Leaders in the liberty movement have recently rallied around the Article V process, and a grassroots network has been launched by Convention of States Project. Four states have already passed applications for an Article V convention that would pursue a balanced budget amendment, congressional term limits, taxation and regulatory limits, and other necessary structural changes.
As Mark Levin said recently, “The state legislatures gave birth to this nation, and the state legislatures can rebirth this nation.”
An Article V convention will capture the spirit of our founding, and it’s been there all along, in the Constitution. While there is still time, do we not have a responsibility to defy the tide of tyranny?
On this, the anniversary of America’s birth, let us launch the rebirth that will again awaken our spirits to the blessings of liberty so that America might be that city on a hill, shining the light of liberty to all the nations of the world.
Let it be said of us that we were worthy of the vision of the Founders, who, on a sweltering summer day in 1776, in defiance of the forces of tyranny, forever changed the course of history.