The Keystone of American Freedom
The keystone of American freedom is something that is hinted at in our Constitution:
Congress shall make no law … …shall not be infringed. No Soldier shall …
It’s more directly referred to in the Declaration of Independence:
whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Yet we very rarely put it into words.
To those who fight in the courts for freedom, it’s like water to fishes. We don’t even think about it; it’s just the way it is.
But to most people it’s not intuitive. To people at both ends of the traditional left-right political spectrum, it’s upsetting. They will admit that it is true in this case or that, but they can’t generalize the rule. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Not everyone gets it. People who are grateful to the government, for letting them in or for giving them stuff, are less likely to get it.
White people in the suburbs who are grateful to government for keeping them safe from the brown people are less likely to get it.
People who come from people where they were less free and less safe are less likely to get it, because they are grateful to the U.S. government. Their appreciation of being more free interferes with their recognizing the keystone of American freedom. They don’t look the gift horse in the mouth.
Gratitude to government is corrosive to this keystone.
I see this in jury panels: jurors who are first-generation transfers from less-free societies are more likely to reflexively side with the government (“the name for the things we choose to do together!). After a generation or two, maybe the gratitude has disappeared, and people are ready to be members of a free society. But it seems to me that people who are grateful to have fled hardcore tyranny, happy just to be here, are less likely to resist a leisurely softcore decline of freedom.
This may have some importance to the immigration discussion; I dunno.
America has become less free since its founding. The Founders would never have countenanced investigative detentions or civil forfeiture or even sovereign immunity. Nobody can prove that immigration hasn’t slowed the deterioration of American freedom, but everybody who comes here brings a bit of their culture, and where that culture is less free (as most are) those little bits can’t, I think, help but contribute to freedom’s decline.
To someone whose culture does not include the keystone of American freedom—The people and the state are forever adversaries—American freedom simply does not compute.
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