"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
Will this be America's last birthday?
America is the first country in history to be founded based on individual liberty. The principles of liberty are timeless. The concepts apply as much today just as they did over 200 years ago.
Our founders knew firsthand the misery and suffering caused by tyranny. They came from societies where government controlled its citizens with an iron fist. They had a solid understanding of the consequences of unchecked power.
The founders also understood human nature. Throughout history, oppression and subjugation had been the norm. They recognized that power hungry people seeking to dominate others would always exist and be a constant threat to our free society.
Our Constitution was crafted specifically to limit the scope of government to prevent its infringing on individual liberties. It has numerous checks, balances, and safeguards designed to prevent the rise of tyranny.
But our Constitution is only a document. Maintaining a free society requires vigilance and participation. There will always be those seeking to subvert the Constitution in order to seize control.
The power hungry claim the Constitution is out of date. They assert it doesn't apply to them. They violate your constitutional rights while claiming to act in your best interest.
An apathetic and gullible populace facilitates the rise of tyranny. Tyrants depend on people's ignorance, inaction, or apathy in order to confiscate power.
Tyrants are cunningly deceptive. They claim their mission is so altruistic that it is worth giving up your liberty on the pretext of being in your best interest. Tyrants operate by suppressing liberty in small steps under false pretenses.
They target one group at a time. They depend on those unaffected remaining silent because the lost liberty doesn't affect them. But as liberty incrementally disappears, every group will ultimately be targeted. In short order, freedom is lost by all.
Tyrants exert the power of their position to silence opposition. Liberty thrives on the open flow of ideas in a free society. Totalitarian regimes require the suppression of opposing viewpoints.
It's difficult for good and decent people to comprehend the nefarious intent of the power hungry whose sole objective is the subversion of their liberty. These tyrants lie about their objectives. They publicly proclaim to have only benevolent intentions while working persistently behind the scenes on their malevolent goals. This insidious strategy conceals their real purpose under the guise of fairness, safety, health, and national security.
America has more liberty than anywhere else in the world. However, those who have grown up with abundant liberty often take it for granted. When freedom is all they have known, they don't truly appreciate its irreplaceable nature. They have so much freedom that they are not alarmed when their freedom is gradually smothered. By the time they realize their freedom has vanished, it's too late. Once liberty is lost, and those seizing it firmly entrenched, it is extremely difficult to recover.
Our freedoms are unalienable rights, not privileges granted by government. Every item in the bill of rights is a precious jewel designed to ensure the immortality of our liberty. Don't allow anyone to subvert your liberty.
Stand up for and speak out in defense of your rights and the rights of others. You must say NO to those who would take your freedom or your neighbor's freedom. Freedom lost by anyone impacts everyone. When freedom isn't insisted on for all, freedom will exist for none. All freedoms are essential, not just the ones you benefit from or believe in.
Once one freedom starts to fall, a chain reaction begins that consumes all liberty. Your freedom is hard to get and easy to lose. Although it takes vigilance to protect it, it takes so much more effort to get it back once it's gone.
Only you can ensure that this Independence Day is not America's last birthday.
"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
Bryan is the author of "Dare to Live Without Limits."