The day was July 4, 1826. As John Adams lay on his deathbed in the afternoon, he uttered his final words: “Thomas Jefferson survives.” While in the literal sense, Adams was mistaken because Jefferson had died several hours earlier, in one way he was correct. The work that Jefferson completed on that very day exactly 50 years before – the work Adams helped him craft before the two became archenemies and then friends again – survived another two hundred years. Until now.
July 4, 2020, will be an Independence Day celebration like never before. In fact, it won’t be a celebration at all, but merely a commemoration of what we have lost and hopefully a reminder of what we need to fight for all over again after 244 years. It will be marked not by the grand public displays of fireworks, for those are forbidden by restrictions upon the very liberties expressed in the Declaration of Independence, but rather by the sounds of fireworks being thrown by anarchists against police – anarchists who now dictate our way of life as we the people continue to be locked down.
It wasn’t just the statue of Thomas Jefferson that was ripped down in Portland, Oregon. It was the foundational governing document he helped draft – the guiding light of our republic until it died 244 years later – that has been torn to shreds.
Ronald Reagan observed on July 4, 1986, as he related the story of the reuniting of Jefferson and Adams in friendship, that “the things that unite us – America’s past of which we’re so proud, our hopes and aspirations for the future of the world and this much-loved country – these things far outweigh what little divides us.”
Well, indeed, 34 years later, we can now say with certainty that there are very few things that do not divide us, chief among them whether we are even proud of America’s past or whether we seek to uproot every last vestige of its memory.
In order to understand what we have lost and what we need to fight for again, let’s review the precious document that was signed on July 4, 1776. The product of five great men – Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson – in just the 201 words of its preamble, this founding charter of government established six inviolate principles of the morality of a just governing system – all of which have since been broken:
The first five principles have been abrogated beyond recognition, which leaves us struggling with how to apply the sixth.
Today, we are suffering from a perfect contortion of these self-evident truths – the worst mix of tyranny and anarchy and the most widespread violations of fundamental rights since our Founding. We have a government that undemocratically locks down our physical movement and right to earn a living based on distorted data and flat-earth “science,” while facilitating unequal treatment for favored classes to riot. They strip us of the right to self-defense, while freely empowering their protected people and movements to maim, loot, block free movement, and even kill.
Everything our governments should be doing, they ignore, and everything they are prohibited from doing based on natural law, they elevate to the highest order of governance.
Mobs are allowed to roam freely and dictate policies through fear and intimidation.
Desires of foreign nationals who are not signatories to the social compact founded in the Declaration are elevated above the rights of the citizens governed by the compact.
Government by the consent of the governed? Our government is allowing people across the border to come here to get treated for the virus, then using those hospitalizations as a pretext to place curfews and other restrictions on the liberty and property of Americans.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men …” They are now allowing roving mobs to restrict our movement and attack motorists. In the process, they are spreading the virus, which gives this same illegitimate government further excuse to blame we the people and lock us down. We can’t gather in small groups to work or socialize, while they can gather in the thousands to dismantle our republic. How is that for all men created equal?
As I laid out in my indictment of our illegitimate government, rather than a government built on promoting and protecting inalienable rights for all, we have a government that manufactures super-rights and privileges for some at the expense of foundational rights of the whole of the people. Liberty, according to our illegitimate politicians, now means the right to someone else’s property or a public benefit, instead of freedom from restraint by someone else or by government.
Thus, this is not about a few or or even many policy disagreements. It all stems from the government’s contortion of life, liberty, and property to mean the exact opposite of what our Founders knew them to be. There is no bridging the divide.
This government will not fix itself without deeper intervention and divine guidance. The Republican Party is part of the problem, not the solution. As we grope in the darkness and strategize and pray for a long-term or even short-term solution, we ourselves must never forget our liberty and property rights as well as the right to individual and jurisdictional sovereignty. We must never forget that these truths are still self-evident and that we are still willing to fight for them. We must never agree to this grotesque confluence of anarchy and tyranny as “the new normal.” And we must certainly never legitimize this illegitimate usurpation of our social contract.
They might have torn down Jefferson’s statue and perverted the government built on the contract he wrote, but we still have the actual contract. It belongs to us. And in that contract, Jefferson offered not only the moral imperative to break away from England but also the moral imperative to fight back against future government usurpations of that contract in the future. That contract is eternal, because it is built on natural law from God.
As Abraham Lincoln said following the Supreme Court’s dreadful Dred Scott decision in 1858:
The assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, not for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.
Those infallible rights we are endowed with are inherent and don’t come from government. They cannot be covered by a mask. They cannot be taken away.
So, where do we go from here? As we formulate a long-term solution to a problem that is much greater than any of us can deal with alone, we need to build an immediate movement and take steps. The first step is to rise up and fight back. Until now, only the mob’s voices have been heard, because there is nobody else on the playing field. Nobody is representing us. To that end, we need to think beyond just the electoral process and take back our government under the following short-term propositions:
Finally, it’s time we organize citizen defense groups the way our Founders envisioned. No, we are not going to attack and harm innocent people as the governing mob is doing, but we will reclaim our right to defend our lives and property. We all respect law enforcement, but local police departments can’t have it both ways. They can’t abdicate their duties and throw us to the wolves but then swoop in when we try to fill the vacuum for our own protection or punish us for not wearing diapers on our faces even outside.
Just like the Minutemen of the 1770s, we need to form at the local level citizen defense groups to defend life, liberty, and property. After all, what made this great document we commemorate this week more than musings on paper was the signers’ resolve to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” That pledge must be renewed at the local level in parts of the country where patriots are most common. Block by block, city by city, state by state, we must take our country back from the violent modern French revolutionaries and create another great American revolution that will make our Founders proud.
Eleven years after the signing of the Declaration, many of the same patriots assembled in the same hall in Philadelphia to codify the system of government based on the blueprint of this social compact. During the final day of triumph on September 17, 1787, Benjamin Franklin rose to speak. In his notes on the convention, James Madison captured his words as follows:
Whilst the last members were signing it [i.e., the Constitution] Doct FRANKLIN looking towards the Presidents Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. I have said he, often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.
Over two centuries later, we have come full-circle, just as the Earth rotates on its axis, and we no longer have a rising sun. We have a sun that has already set. But the good news is that through darkness comes light, and from storm clouds come the growth and sustenance of rain. The same God who birthed us with these inherent rights constantly accords us numerous opportunities in life to defend and renew those rights, just as yesterday’s sunset gives birth to a new sunrise. All we have to do is show up and fight for it.
It won’t be easy, but it wasn’t easy the first time around, when the patriots were in the minority and most were loyalists or indifferent. As John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, the day before he signed the great contract of American sentiment, “I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory; I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph.”
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” ~Proverbs 4:18
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.