by Daniel Gardner
March 23, 1775, in St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia, the Second Virginia Convention met to discuss continuing oppression of colonialists by the British Crown. While many among the representatives advised patience and hope that the British would grant petitions filed by states, Patrick Henry pointed out what had become obvious after ten years of petitions.
Henry knew his opinions would likely offend many in the convention, but knew also the price they would likely pay if he failed to opine, saying, "Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings."
Our founders had tasted liberty and freedom, but realized the British were slowly infringing on their God-given rights in the name of loyalty to government. There is a huge difference between loyalty to government and patriotism for country, and Patrick Henry knew that difference. He said, "For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery…."
Many are asking today how close we are to similar circumstances with our government infringing our rights to free speech, freedom to practice religion, freedom to bear arms, and freedom to raise grievances against our government for those infringements. Is our progressive government enslaving us in the name of caring for us and providing for all our needs, calling these needs 'entitlements' and 'rights?'
No doubt, the mood of the country as measured by polls shows Americans are fed up with Washington's interference with our businesses and daily lives. Has it become 'a question of freedom or slavery' as Henry argued? I believe so.
What are we slaves to if not those things upon which we have become dependent? Are we dependent on the government for money, food, housing, utility bills, disabilities, child welfare, and on and on? Then, we're slaves to the government. Do we make the government do anything? Or, does the government dictate to us how we have to do everything … for the common good, of course?
Someone said, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." Washington has long since abandoned serving the people and has become a fearful master.
Today as in Patrick Henry's day, the government is ruling over us with taxes and onerous regulations. We the people have no control over government ruled by career politicians and bureaucrats who are not held accountable.
Hopefully we can regain control over government through the ballot box. But, so many are dependent on government for their livelihoods, we're likely to see elections won by political royalty who promise to care for those enslaved to 'entitlements.'
Henry closed his famous speech with these three sentences: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
Independence from government oppression, love of country, and reverence toward God are founding values in America. God bless America!