What Does Independence Look Like Today? [+videos]

By Daniel Horowitz. There’s no way to sugarcoat this. This Independence Day is marred by a thick darkness that cannot be illuminated by the endless fireworks over the weekend.

This week we celebrate the birthday of the greatest nation on earth, marking the 239th year since the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in 1776. What we are truly celebrating is not the mere creation of a new nation and the document of secession from England, but the founding of a country on the self-evident, God-given rights and ideals expressed in the Declaration. It is those ideals that gave birth to what would become the greatest nation in the world and would distinguish the American Revolution from the many other rebellions that led to the formation of new countries throughout history.

The Importance of the Declaration – even more than the Constitution

These revolutionary ideals we celebrate are self-evident truths “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That in order to protect these rights people are entitled to popular sovereignty – to form a government that derives its powers “from the consent of the governed.” The Declaration concluded “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” for success in establishing this new nation constructed upon the foundation of God-given rights.

The subsequent crafting of the Constitution was built upon all the principles of the Declaration and any ambiguity in the law must not countermand any of the self-evident truths expressed on Independence Day.

President Calvin Coolidge noted in his July 4, 1926 speech commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Declaration that although the Founders knew that the times and technology would change and progress, the ideals expressed in this document were to be interminable. In his own words:

If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

While Coolidge was clearly taking a veiled shot at the progressives of his time who were beginning to alter the framework of our Founding, he was still able to confidently assert in 1926 that “America can fairly claim that it has remained true to the principles which were declared 150 years ago.”

How far have we strayed from those self-evident truths?

Standing here today 89 years after Coolidge’s seminal speech, what can we say about the state of the principles declared 239 years ago? In this era of hyper-progressivism and paganism, which Coolidge rightly observes as regressive, there is indeed no equality, no rights of the individual, and no rule of the people. Not only has our system of government been hijacked by those who stray from these principles, the ruling elite have bastardized these very principles to justify their new order – an evolving philosophy that is antithetical to the self-evident truths of nature and nature’s God.

Equal Rights and Pursuit of Happiness

Equal rights? That ideal has been replaced by the pagan Gods of political correctness, established and guided by a tiny ruling elite, which has granted special rights to selected protected groups at the expense of the individual. In one fell swoop, the Supreme Court has enshrined “disparate impact” into our Constitution, mandating subjectively equal outcomes for their favored groups in all areas of private life and punishing what the Thought Police perceive as “unconscious prejudices” – an anathema to the true ideal of equality expressed in the Declaration. The most irrational repudiation of natural law has allowed this growing trend of super-rights – invented rights granted by government instead of God – to infringe upon the pursuit of happiness and private enterprise of those who reserve just the inherent rights granted by God.

This fringe ruling class has concocted special rights for transgenderism, homosexual marriage, and other specious ideas that run counter to the laws of nature – “rights” our Founders could have never fathomed. These special rights are creating a brush fire of tyranny that is threatening to violate all forms of religious liberty with the vitiation of private property rights and the imposition of involuntary servitude.

And this assault on religious liberty to benefit a fringe libertine minority, which is unprecedented since our nation’s founding, is in itself rooted in the erosion of the ideals of civil liberty and property rights (pursuit of happiness). With the ability to tax and regulate almost every act – and in the case of Obamacare, even inaction – government, not God, has become the benefactor of those rights. It was only a matter of time before this 100-year march towards government control of private property and commerce (pursuit of happiness) would inevitably lead to the curtailment of religious liberty.

As John Witherspoon presciently warned, “there is not a single instance in history, in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage.”

Life

And what about life? Once again, the culture of extirpating God from the consciousness of this nation has led to the loss of life for nearly 60 million babies since 1973. For all the talk about how they feel “progressive” values can supplant inherent rights and create new rights not expressed in the Declaration or Constitution, the Left regressively ignores modern technology that shows babies fully formed in the womb as a human life, certainly after 20 weeks.

Popular Sovereignty

What does a government that derives its powers from the consent of the governed look like? We now have a Congress that is impossible to replace through the electoral process, irrespective of their mandate from the people. Because Congress has abused its enumerated powers from its original scope as laid out in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, the cycle of money and politics allows the congressional leaders of both parties to use the boot of government to entrench their own political interests.

What’s worse, Congress has outsourced most of its legislative mandate to an unelected executive bureaucracy. They won’t even wield the power of the purse to reign in an imperial president from fundamentally transforming America through immigration, something that even King George lacked the power to implement without the English Parliament during the times of the revolution. Indeed, James Madison referred to the power of the purse “as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.” Yet, with a corrupt Congress that has outsourced their job to the executive, we now have governance without representation and a legislature that has permanently abdicated their responsibility.

Furthermore, we now have a Supreme Court that has given full license to the Executive Branch to legislate as they see fit, and in the event that they need help, the Chief Justice is more than eager to legislate himself. They have become de facto legislators, except that they have lifetime appointments with no practical way of being held accountable. Hence, a government that does not derive its powers from the consent of the governed.

The Brush Fire Against the Foundation of the Declaration of Independence

Nowhere is this rapid abandonment of the principles asserted in the Declaration more evident than with the growing brushfire in this country against religious liberty.

How ironic that the ideals expressed in the Declaration, which were rooted in the inviolable truth of natural law and nature’s God, would be countermanded 230 years later by a relentless war on God and natural law. How tragic that religious liberty – the very impetus for the creation of America – is now under assault by a powerful decadent elite who seek to eradicate religion, not just from the public square, but from private institutions and businesses – and in short order – even from one’s home.

Liberty-loving Americans have watched the slow erosion of their God-given rights and Founding principles for close to a century turn into a brushfire over the past few years, threatening to destroy every principle, tradition, and civil societal institution we hold dear. With religious liberty in the crosshairs of the fringe elite, for how much longer will the patriots continue playing checkers while their opponents play chess? (“What Does Independence Look Like Today?”, originally posted HERE)

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Smaller Majority “Extremely Proud” to Be an American

By Art Swift. As Independence Day approaches, most in the U.S. say they are proud to be an American, including a slight majority, 54%, who are “extremely proud.” The percentage saying they are “extremely proud” is slightly lower than in recent years and down from peaks at and around 70% between 2002 and 2004, after 9/11.

In addition to the 54% who are extremely proud to be an American, 27% say they are “very proud,” 14% say they are “moderately proud,” 4% are “only a little proud” and 1% state that they are “not at all proud.”

These data are from a June 2-7 poll. Gallup has asked this question regularly since 2001. The highest percentage saying they were “extremely proud” to be an American came in 2003, in the months after the Iraq war began and not long after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans’ patriotism surged. It is likely that the aftermath of 9/11 may have produced an anomaly in the levels of “extreme pride” in patriotism.

Older Americans, Southerners and Republicans Lead in “Extreme Pride”

While most Americans are proud to be an American, certain groups are especially likely to say they are extremely proud. “Extreme pride” rises for each succeeding age group, from a low of 43% among those under 30 to a high of 64% among senior citizens. (Read more from this story HERE)

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Citizens Don’t Know What Country We Seceded From in 1776

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