Although we think of independence and secession as a group action – this is really NOT the case. As Tom Knapp recently pointed out, NO “institution” or “government” or “organization” really does anything except through the actions of individuals. Even when it is individuals who are forced by other individuals (usually acting in groups, admittedly) to do or not do something. Liberty is, at the bottom, an individual thing.
One of the failures of American independence in establishing and preserving liberty is the failure to understand and apply that concept.
The Messiah Jesus once taught, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The Founding Fathers had that knowledge and also needed only look above them (literally) to what even then (in 1776) was the Liberty Bell. It had cast on its surface Leviticus 25:10: “proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Clearly, an individual action and condition is necessary. Acting along with other people, of course – but in the final sense a personal responsibility.
This is no easy thing to understand, any more than the concept of non-mandatory, voluntary “government” and the key component of “self-government.”
No matter that this is an ideal, and even more difficult to apply than it is to understand. However much Americans (and others) have striven to achieve that goal, we have consistently failed to do so. Rather, we have substituted (and settled for) a pale imitation: mandatory government in various ways with “limits” imposed that are quickly ignored more and more.
But we ALWAYS have that choice, as individuals, to strive to achieve that ideal: the concept of individual independence – liberty with responsibility for ourselves. Some of us have achieved that – and not just by becoming a hermit or a far-ranger in remote regions. And even in today’s tightly-knit society and economy, it is still possible. To “go Galt” or “turtle” – to secede from an intolerable situation and seek freedom individually and cooperatively with like-minded people.”
But, as the name of this publication reminds us, there is a price. Not just vigilance, not just the blood of patriots and tyrants. Convenience, even what today are considered essentials of life, are part of the price that we might pay for personal independence, for liberty, for ourselves. And those that work with us. How much do we value liberty? How much are we willing to pay?
With all the faults of those 53 men who signed that document, who voted for independence (and to secede) on 2 July 1776 and confirmed that decision by approving the publication of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776? They understood the price they might have to pay. NOT as a group, but as individuals. Even if empowered to act on the behalf of other people – of governments of colonies which were becoming nations and would be entitled as States. It was STILL individual action – and individual consequences. No doubt much of that day (3rd of July, 246 years ago) between was spent in sober consideration – and even more prayer and meditation – of those possible consequences. I think they understood.
Do WE understand what price we may pay, we must pay? For personal independence, for individual liberty and freedom? For the opportunities for our families, our friends and associates to choose liberty and independence for themselves now and in the future?
The choice is ours.