The Myth of American Freedom
by Andrew P. Napolitano
Recently by Andrew P. Napolitano: The Presidency and Mythology
Here is Judge Napolitano’s closing argument yesterday on his FreedomWatch.
Does the government work for us or do we work for the government? Is freedom in America a myth or a reality? Tonight, what if we didn’t live in a free country?
What if the Constitution were written not to limit government, but to expand it? What if the Constitution didn’t fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence, but betrayed it? What if the Constitution actually permitted the government to limit and constrict freedom? What if the Bill of Rights was just a paper promise, that the government could avoid whenever it claimed the need to do so? What if the same generation – in some cases the same people – that drafted the U.S. Constitution enacted laws that violated it? What if the merchants and bankers who financed the American Revolution bought their way into the new government and got it to enact laws that stifled their competition? What if the civil war that was fought in the name of freedom actually advanced the cause of tyranny?
What if the federal government were the product of 150 years of stealing power and liberty and property from the people and the states? What if our political elites spent the 20th century importing the socialist ideas of big government Statism from Europe? What if our political class was adopting the European political culture from which our founding fathers fought so hard to break free?
What if our political leaders no longer acknowledged that our rights come from our humanity, but insisted instead that they come from the government? What if you had to produce your papers to get out of or into our once-free country? What if you couldn’t board a plane, a train, or a long-distance bus without providing documentation telling the government who you are and where you’re going, without paying the government, and without risking sexual assault? What if your local police department could shoot down a plane? What if government agents could write their own search warrants, declare their own enemies, and seize whatever property they want? What if the feds could detain you indefinitely, with no visitors, no lawyer, no judge, and no jury? What if they could make you just disappear? What if the government broke its own laws in order to enforce them? What if the government broke down your front door in the middle of the night and shot your dog, and claimed it was a mistake?
What if you were required to purchase a product that you didn’t need, didn’t want, and couldn’t afford, from a company you never heard of, just as a condition of living in the United States? What if the government told you what not to put in your body as well as what to put into it; and how much? What if the government claimed that since it will be paying your medical bills, it can tell you what to eat, when to sleep, and how to live? What if the government tried to cajole and coax and compel you into behaviors and attitudes it considered socially acceptable? What if the government spent your tax money to advertise to you how great the services are that it provides? What if the government kept promising to make you safe while it kept stripping you of your liberties and committing crimes in your name that made you a target of more violence?
What if you didn’t have a right to every dollar you earned? What if the government decided how much of your earnings it will keep and how much it will permit you to have? What if the government took money from you and gave it away to its rich banking and corporate friends whose businesses were failing? What if the government thought it knew better than you did how to lead your life and had no problem telling you so? What if the government took the credit for every success your own human actions helped you achieve? What if the government told you that only it could build roads, run schools, keep you safe, and collect trash even though it’s never been able to do so efficiently before? What if the government spent nearly twice as much as it took in? What if it couldn’t pass a budget on a timely basis and funded itself just weeks at a time? And what if the government kept borrowing money against the wealth of future generations to pay for wasteful programs today?
What if you worked for the government and the government didn’t work for you? What if freedom were a myth? What if we don’t live in a free country? What do we do about it?
From New York, defending freedom; so-long America.
Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel, and the host of u201CFreedomWatchu201D on the Fox Business Network. His latest book is Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History, (Nelson, 2010). His next book is It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom, coming in September.