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Cultivate Liberty

Jul 7, 2016 — by: Dennis Linthicum
Categories: Culture, Economy, Natural Resources, Politics

How was your Independence Day Celebration?

You probably never gave a thought to Hillary’s crimes, the $19 trillion dollar national debt, local unemployment, the unbridled money printing schemes of the Federal Reserve, the bad science and policy oozing from every corner of the federal bureaucracy or whether your conversations were being recorded – Good for you!

Our day was full of fun and festivities. It included family, friends and friends of friends.  Our celebration, like America’s in general, was sidetracked by other details – the parade, decorations, food and drink, who picked up the sparklers, where’s the best fireworks show?

For Diane and I, our attention was also proudly divided between a love of America’s exceptional triumph in Liberty and a joyful celebration our first grandchild’s one-year birthday.

Others of you may have had equally worthy distractions and I caught myself wondering about the future and how I might infuse a realistic dose of Freedom’s requirements into our modern hectic lives.

John Adams wished for the same as he wrote to his wife, Abigail:

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

In this correspondence Adams is referring, interestingly enough, to July 2nd, not July 4th.

Why July 2nd? Adams knew that the real meat of the event happened with Richard Henry Lee’s resolution on July 2nd:

“Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

Even this Resolution was brought to the floor thirty days earlier, on June 7, 1776, for discussion and debate. I will argue that June 7th, July 2nd or July 4th are dates when Liberty rose to take the standard but Liberty had been cultivated in  hearts and minds for centuries.

Bushels of fruit do not magically spring into the marketplace.  Land must be acquired, cleared, prepared, planted, irrigated, nourished and protected. Then the crop has to be harvested, sorted, packaged, and freighted to distribution centers. Now, you might already be dreaming of fresh produce for your upcoming family picnic. However, your market must still put it on display, price it and sell it. Then, and only then, can you tootle over to the market, purchase, prepare, share and enjoy this bounty.

The same is true for our American concepts of Liberty, self-governance, individualism and the consent of the governed. These ideas need a lot of thought, preparation, watering and cultivation to bear fruit.

Unfortunately, we, in modern America, are a little too accustomed to shopping at Costco. Americans expect Liberty to be stocked in a never ending supply of jumbo-sized, shrink-wrapped packages.  “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.”[1]

Liberty takes effort – a lot of effort. Let us never forget that our Freedom belongs to us.

What are we willing to do today to support our Tree of Liberty? – Clear, till, plant, weed, water, protect or distribute?

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men,
undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

–Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

[1]  Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837


  1. WOW! Well said…a great motivator for those of us who are tired of government adding burden after burden to our backs, & about ready to “throw in the towel.” We have been so disheartened since Ted Cruz bowed out of the race for POTUS!!

  2. Thank you Dennis for that gentle poke in the ribs. We have certainly become lazy and expectant when it comes to our freedom. Isn’t it interesting that Thomas Paine was well aware of this when freedom was so young. Will we be lulled into complacency until there is nothing left to defend? We have become the proverbial frog that if put in hot water would immediately jump to safety recognizing the danger but if placed in cool water and slowly increase the temperature, will stay right there until he is boiled.

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