Are we really free?

By William R. Toler

Americans, in general, often laud our freedoms. Usually, the freedoms most openly discussed and debated are those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America.

But it begs to question: Are we really free, or do we just have the illusion of freedom?

Are you free when you have to ask permission to do something? A quick, logical answer would be no.

So, another question arises: Are permits constitutional? My answer is no.

Let’s start with the First Amendment, one of the most mentioned and debated of the lot. We are guaranteed, not given, the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom of religion and a redress of grievances.

If these rights were not infringed, there would be no permits for peaceful protests. Liberals who protest against what they see as unjust wars, and conservatives who protest higher taxation should not have to pay a fee and ask permission to exercise their God-given rights which are protected by the First Amendment.

One of the most daring offenders in denying these rights are public learning institutions. If these freedoms were permitted, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education would not exist. However, it does exist because college campuses across the nation seem to have a problem with the freedoms outlined in the First Amendment. For 10 years, FIRE has been taking on public colleges and universities that have enacted “speech codes” and have stringent rules as to when and where students can exercise their rights, if at all.

 As Evan Coyne Maloney showed in his documentary “Indoctrinate U,” some students — and even professors — are chastised for having opposing viewpoints. One student featured fought expulsion for being offensive. His offensive speech: a flyer for an upcoming speaker for the Young Republicans group. The flyer had a picture of the speaker, black conservative Mason Weaver, and part of the flyer read, “Author of the book ‘It’s OK to Leave the Plantation’.” Some brain-dead students were offended by the word “plantation” and the student was nearly expelled.

Now let’s move on the other contested freedom, that mentioned in the Second Amendment: the right of the people to keep and bear arms. As stated in the amendment that right “shall not be infringed.”

So, any form of gun control—except for using both hands—is unconstitutional. This would include permits, sales restrictions and carry laws. If we were in compliance with the amendment, everyone in the country could walk around with a .357 on their hip and/or a 12-guage strapped to their back. Why? Because of not only the right to “keep,” but the right to “bear arms.”

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I do support restictions on felons, especially violent felons. At some point, a felon viloated the rights of another, so in turn the felon should be limited.

Most gun control advocates claim that strict laws keep guns out of the hands of “the bad guys.” Newsflash: weapons laws do nothing to deter gun crimes by those who commit them. Most of the guns they use are usually “illegal” to begin with. So all gun control really does is make the populus more vulnerable against criminals and despots.

The film “Innocents Betrayed”—produced by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership—goes into the history of gun control laws in the 20th Century. Those laws were enacted by tyrannical governments—including the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, Cambodia and Uganda—which destroyed more than 70 million lives through genocide.

Moving on to another often repeated mantra: The military fights for our freedoms.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. No disrespect is meant to those serving. I have several friends who have donned a uniform of each of the four branches. But I have yet to see how they are fighting for my rights. They feel it is their patriotic duty to serve, just the same as I see it is my duty to inform the public of government misdeeds.

Want more?

Some would argue that while the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery, in a sense, the 14th made us all slaves…or at least indentured servants by stating that the “validity of the public debt…shall not be questioned.” Congress later passed—in 1913—both the Federal Reserve Act and the Income Tax Act.

In the past 100 years the federal government has grown exponentially and we now have a Nanny State. There are more regulations telling us what we can and can’t do, as if we can’t make decisions for ourselves.

Granted, we do have more “freedom” than those in other countries, but can it be better?

The decision is up to us.



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0 Responses to Are we really free?

  1. Nice job. I disagree with some premises but that is desirable in this country, I think. I still don’t know what freedom means, and I think too many of us believe it means “I should be able to do what I want when I want,” a self-serving and sophomoric position. Maybe a contrast with the governmental system that came before our radical constitutional experiment might be enlightening on the definition of freedom. Are we guaranteed freedom “from” or freedom “to?” What is your take on the remainder of the sentence you quoted from 2d Am – well-regulated militia, etc? I’m interested in hearing your opinion, as I have been thinking of this a lot of late.

  2. Richard

    The freedom to do as I please, as long as I do not harm someone, do damage to others property, prevent others from doing what you want. Just the basic.

  3. “Prevent others from doing what you want.” What does that mean?

    There’s nothing basic about this question. I begin to think the difference in loss of freedom to the government and loss of freedom to plutocracy are the same thing, but because of our unique system of government, the two aren’t always one and the same in our country. We cede our freedoms to private companies who have more power than we comprehend, and who actively hide the extent of their influence. That’s why the definition of freedom matters to me, and why I think a simplistic definition cannot be assumed. This is one of the few times in history when anything like “freedom” has ever existed, so we should explore the nuance of a concept we think should carry the day.

  4. Richard

    “Prevent others from doing what the want” If some one wants to walk down the street, I have no right to stop them, if they cause me no harm. If some one wants to build a 100 foot tower on their property they can but they take responsiblity for that tower.

  5. joanna

    “any form of gun control—except for using both hands—is unconstitutional.” i agree with that wholeheartedly. i have always been one to believe that anyone who is not a felon should be given the right to own any kind of gun they wish without having a permit. and to those who argue about gun control and violent crime involving guns, i’d like to add this: in switzerland, where every man above the age of 18 (and honestly i forget the cap age) is automatically in the military and is issued a gun. so every household with a male over the age of 18 has at least one gun. however, they have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world. apparently they have no problem with finding a middle ground. i would imagine that most criminals there would think twice about shooting someone knowing that they’d probably get shot right back. if it was easier to allow guns into the hands of law-abiding citizens, we may have the same results here.

  6. Jarome

    I belive our government is getting more and more comunist as we speak look what these assholes do to us makeing their self rich in the process

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