Tyranny is defined as a cruel and oppressive government or rule. It is what our Founding Fathers stood firmly against when they signed and sent the Declaration of Independence to King George. In it, they wrote:
“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”
They believed that no one in the British government represented their needs. They saw the King as the general enemy of freedom, liberty, and self-reliance.
And they beautifully penned these words:
“...All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
They fought long and hard to break away from a tyrannical government for these rights.
It’s been 246 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Our country has grown. Our borders have expanded. And times have changed.
The Founding Fathers had to have known this would happen. After all, every country grows and evolves. That’s why they created the Constitution as a framework to govern by – and to make sure these basic “unalienable rights” were upheld.
Sadly, decade after decade, we’re watching our basic freedoms being eroded.
Because here’s the thing about freedom: You have to keep fighting for it. Otherwise, you lose it.
Freedom is a precious and delicate thing that, over time, can easily be eroded from poor leadership, nearsighted policies, greed, and power plays.
So, on this 4th of July, let’s ponder what it means to be independent from tyranny and celebrate the freedoms we still have. In order to do this, we need to look at government overreach and abuse of power through the decades.
Abuse of Power: Harassing the People
Our Founding Fathers had a beef with the King and put their laundry list of grievances directly into the Declaration of Independence.
One of these grievances states:
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass [sic] our people, and eat out their substance.”
To combat blatant overreach, they set up our three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial – and clearly outlined the specific powers and duties in the Constitution.
These checks and balances have been eroded over time – putting the freedoms and liberties early Patriots fought so hard to obtain in jeopardy.
Just take a look at unchecked US government overreach that’s been going on for decades.
NSA Spying on Americans
In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been collecting Americans’ telephone records in bulk – meaning, they were scooping up data indiscriminately rather than targeting individuals or groups.
The nation was aghast. But, despite Snowden’s revelations, surveillance of American citizens continues.
In 2015, Congress passed legislation that ended the NSA’s program and sought to prohibit bulk collection when the government is acting under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).
Think this stopped government agencies? Not a chance.
CIA Is Still Secretly Spying on Us
Just this year, in February 2022, Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich – both on the Senate Intelligence Committee – revealed that “the CIA has been conducting a bulk collection program and searching through the resulting data for information about Americans.”
The Senators requested the declassification of a report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board about the collection program. After some time, a portion of it was made public. It reveals, “The CIA has secretly conducted its own bulk program. [...]” and that it is “entirely outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection, and without any of the judicial, congressional or even executive branch oversight that comes from [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] collection.”
This bulk collection program is authorized under Executive Order 12333 – not through a law passed by Congress. This order, which establishes the framework for the country’s national intelligence efforts, was originally issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and updated and re-issued by President George W. Bush in 2008.
Related Read: How to Protect Your Digital Privacy Including Your Address
IRS Playing Political Favorites
In 2017, the Justice Department settled a case involving 41 plaintiffs who, in 2013, accused the IRS of targeting organizations that applied for tax-exempt status with the word “patriot” or “Tea Party.”
Basically, they claimed they were targeted for their political beliefs and were subject to delays and scrutiny, and asked for copious amounts of information that might not otherwise have been requested.
The court ruled against the IRS, and the IRS admitted wrongdoing by screening applications based on policy positions.
The settlement document said: “Senior management within the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division was delinquent in its responsibility to provide effective control, guidance, and direction over the processing of applications for tax exempt status filed by Tea Party and other political advocacy organizations.”
The IRS also issued an apology. However, no criminal charges were filed against IRS officials.
After the ruling, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions made this statement: “We hope that today’s settlement makes clear that this abuse of power will not be tolerated.”
A Weaponized FBI
If you think this is a recent thing, think again. The FBI has been used in political warfare for well over a century – starting with the Red Scare raids from 1919 to 1920 when AG Mitchell Palmer allegedly tried to arrest as many radicals and immigrants as possible to help him win the presidency.
He was publicly condemned for using the agency this way, but the FBI didn’t stop. Just a few years later, they were caught reading the mail and tapping the phones of prominent US senators.
After they were exposed, AG Harlan Fiske Stone wrote in 1924 of the incident: “A secret police system may become a menace to free government and free institutions because it carries with it the possibility of abuses of power which are not always quickly comprehended or understood.”
Stone fired the FBI chief, and J. Edgar Hoover was the chosen replacement. We all know how that played out – the FBI grew more powerful, more secret, and more dangerous during his 48-year term.
Free Speech: Maybe Not So Much
The First Amendment... it’s what truly makes America unique:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube aren’t government entities. However, the government has asked for Big Tech’s help to suppress free speech and eliminate certain voices from the public “social” square.
They aren’t trying to hide it, either. They even admitted publicly that they’re doing it.
On July 15, 2021, then White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters of the government’s role in policing social media.
“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff and also members of our COVID-19 team. [...] We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s Office. We are flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” Psaki said during her daily briefing.
Then in April 25, 2022, in response to the White House stance that more scrutiny online “could prevent the spreading of false information on political issues and COVID-19,” Psaki told reporters:
"We engage regularly with all social media platforms about steps that can be taken. That has continued, and I'm sure will continue, but there are also reforms that we think Congress could take."
Two-Tiered Justice System
The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” These same 11 words are found in the Fourteenth Amendment to describe a legal obligation of all states.
The Constitution is clear in its “assurance that all levels of government must operate within the law and provide fair procedures to all its citizens.”
Sadly, the fundamental right of due process of law outlined in our Constitution has eroded over time.
- Congress enacts laws that don’t pertain to them or writes laws they blatantly ignore (like the Stock Act).
- Governors and mayors seem to the average citizen to have their own set of rules.
- The wealthy and well-connected don’t always have the same punishment as those without money or connections.
- And then there is identity politics, which has resulted in two systems of justice.
We could go on and on with more examples, but you get the drift.
What You Can Do about It
Some days, it may feel as if there’s nothing we can do to stop government officials and their friends (aka Big Tech) from taking away more of our liberties.
But there are some things you can do to take back your power:
- Educate Yourself and Your Family – Get a copy of the Constitution and read it – all of it. Learn about where liberty and freedom are being eroded.
- Get Active – Call or write Congress. Get involved and educate others.
- Become Even MORE Self-Reliant – NO ONE is coming to save you when things get tough – especially not the government. Grow your own food, invest in long-term emergency meals, and learn new skills that will help you and your family gain more independence.
- Embrace a Preparedness Mindset – With freedom comes personal responsibility – and this is at the core of a preparedness mindset.
Have a fun and safe Independence Day, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply