Jim Brown

Thursday, June 30th, 2011
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Independence Day to most Americans means a three day weekend with gatherings of family and friends, barbecues, parties, games, food, parades, baseball games and fireworks. Traditionally, most of us know that July 4th is the recognition and celebration of our country’s independence from an oppressive government. But this mid-summer special day is really only about one thing. Freedom.

Most Americans agree on the importance of safeguarding basic freedoms protected by the constitution. But here’s where it gets a little murky. Do we have to give up certain of these freedoms to be safe and secure? The current and past presidents, one Democrat and one Republican, think that there are tradeoffs, and that individual freedoms have to be compromised for the sake of security. In order to combat crime and terrorism, they say, it is necessary for the government to take away certain freedoms and civil rights. In the realities of the 21st Century, is our constitution “out of date?” Both parties in Washington would have you believe so.

In the opinion of a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in Washington, freedom has to make way for safety concerns. That disturbing view manifested itself in the recent passage of the so-called Patriot Act. In the name of fighting terrorism, members of congress drove a stake through the heart of the Bill of Rights.

Here is what members of congress did in their Patriot Act vote. They authorized and empowered federal agents on their own, in violation of the Constitution, and without you knowing it, to obtain records about you from your accountant, bank, boat dealer, bodega, book store, car dealer, casino, computer server, credit union, dentist, HMO, hospital, hotel manager, insurance company, jewelry store, lawyer, library, pawn broker, pharmacist, physician, postman, real estate agent, supermarket, tax collectors, telephone company, travel agency, and trust company, and use the evidence thus obtained in any criminal prosecution against you.

Congress, both Republicans and Democrats alike, at the behest of President Obama, tightly embraced the less-freedom-equals-more-security false prophecy. So here’s the tragic irony. On this special 4th of July weekend, when we celebrate our independence and our right to be free, we are being told by our leaders in Washington that, yes, America fought a war with the British, and over the past 230 years continued to fight wars to protect our freedom from foreign governments. But nevertheless, now, we have no choice but to let our own government compromise these same freedoms that we have sacrificed so much to maintain and protect.

Constitutional scholar Judge Andrew Napolitano hit the nail on the head when he said on Fox News recently: “President Bush argued frequently and forcefully that his first job was to keep us safe. He was wrong. The Constitution tells us that his sole job is to enforce the Constitution: and that means keeping us free. Free from tyrants who sought and claimed power from thin air: free from prince-like federal agents who could behave without constitutional or legal restraint: free to live with a government that obeyed its own laws. Any president who keeps us safe but unfree is rejecting his oath to the American people.”

Lenin’s words concerning freedom would apparently find solace with a majority of members of Congress. “It is true that liberty is precious, so precious that it must be carefully rationed.” And that’s the rub. Or politicians want to control our basic liberties in the name of security. The more security the bureaucrats in Washington try to impose, the more freedoms are taken away. You see, freedom and security are not the same. The most secure citizens in American are in jail. That’s why it’s called “maximum security.”

When we hear all this talk of our members of congress fighting to protect American freedoms, a paraphrase of George Carlin’s observations comes to mind. “Crime fighters fight crime, fire fighters fight fire, so what do our supposed government freedom fighters fight?”

When I was studying at the University of North Carolina back in the early 1960s, poet Robert Frost came to speak. He talked a good bit about individual freedoms and the challenges of speaking up to protect constitutional freedoms. “Don’t leave it to the politicians,” he said. “Freedom is just too important. He went on to say that protecting freedom from within is hard work. “You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness.”

So is there some nefarious plot by congress and the president to undermine basic constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of the American people? No. But as is often the case, we allow a fictitious notion to grow that the government is only looking out for our own good. C.S Lewis, in his essays on theology entitled God in the Dock, addresses the issue head on:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the food of its victims’ may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity many at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Your congressman will no doubt protest that he or she is seeking the worthy goal of keeping you safe. The reply of the true patriot is, “Yes, but at what cost?” Is the benefit of some perceived (but often unproven) measure of safety worth, in this constitutional tug of war, the sacrifice of the basic liberties that American citizens have enjoyed for the past two centuries? Thomas Jefferson would argue no. Principals matter. The Bill of Rights matters. The Constitution matters. The best way to keep us safe is to keep us free. That’s the message on this Independence Day. And for every other day of the year.


Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty or security.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers and websites throughout the South. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.

13 thoughts on “Jim Brown”

  1. As the people in the desert with Moses grumbled and rebelled to return to their captivity in Egypt because they were ‘tired’ of eating the free manna every day, so it seems the American citizen has become accustomed to being herded like Sheeple by their ‘provider-protectors’ and will choose that captivity with its increasingly limited freedom over self-determination and responsibility. There is no safe harbor without freedom, only the tryranny of the latest Harbor Master. Write On Jim.

  2. The loss of freedom is occuring under our noses in LA.
    In 2009 the The SCOTUS limited the warrantless searches of cars.
    In 2011 The LA Supreme Court allows a vehicle search on a hunch. How’s that for leading the nation in stupidity.
    I guess it’s all in the name of “safety”. I can’t figure another reason why this was done.

  3. As long as we are going to wrap ourselves in “the stars and stripes”, I want to remind “The SLABBED Nation” of the continuing TRAMPELING of my constitutional rights by “Government”. It all started on September 20, 2005, in the aftermath of KATRINA, when a GOON SQUAD of State “law enforcement” (what a JOKE) abducted me from my property (after throwing me violently to the ground and bruising my right ribcage in the process), there after turning me over to other State-employed GOONS (prison guards from Angola), who brutalized and tortured me, and illegally held me in custody for “nothing” for 16 1/2 hours. I was pepper-sprayed 30 to 40 times and shot repeatedly 10 to 12 times at point-blank range in both thighs with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with bean-bag rounds. Part of my story is the subject of a video production by former Tulane Professor Carl Bernofsky of “tulanelink.com” and is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt1lgUNKBMQ. See also http://www.tulanelink.com/stories/o'dwyer_10a.htm. On February 19, 2009, my litigation against the only GOONS whose names I knew was DISMISSED by a Panel of the Federal Fifth Circuit consisting of Reavley, Barksdale and Garza. These three, who took an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States held that because I was in my own driveway, sitting at my patio table, at 5 minutes after midnight on September 20, 2005, some 60 feet from the street on St. Charles Avenue, I was in a “public place” rather than on “private property. Additionally, because there was (by my own admission because it couldn’t be seen from the street – the City was PITCH BLACK) a “partially full, partially empty” glass of wine on the table, the GOONS therefore had probable cause to arrest me on my own property for “public intoxication”, something I was not informed about until the end of my 16 1/2 hour ordeal, and a “crime” that i have never been arraigned on much less prosecuted for. So think about Reavley, Barksdale and Garza this Fourth of July weekend, and think of me, too.. If it could happen to me, it could happen to you. Ashton O’Dwyer.

  4. The sad truth is that the US Government is TERRORIZING its own citizens & it doesn’t stop there.
    The Pentagon Papers were “released” (due to Daniel Ellsberg’s whistleblowing) forty years ago today, & clearly document the intentional deceit contrived by US Officials in their mercenary assault on Vietnam.
    Legally sanctioned military executions continue to fuel the football game mentality of voters.
    This government is so clueless, that it fails to recognize its own people as a valuable resource.
    Government consistently demonstrates its disregard for truth, life, common sense & decency.
    It is a guise of contrived fear & unsubstantiated purpose.
    It is the ENEMY.

  5. It has been previously stated on the Slabbed Nation that freedom from tyranny will no longer be fought and won with guns but with blogs.

    Some interesting news about our overly concerned and ever protective government and President who boldly claims he killed Bin Laden. Please go to U TUBE and punch in “Obama birth certificate…100% proof it is fake” and see for yourself that the government does not really protect us, but protects ITS POWER and THOSE IN POWER.

    Common citizen bloggers have not only proved that Obama’s April 27, 2011 released long form, which a Hawaiian records state official previously affied didn’t exist several months ago, to have been doctored and layered in an amateur way, but that it is not of the same color paper and design ; and additionally not in proper sequential number as compared to a true U.S. citizen born one of two twins on August 5,1961, one day after Obama.

    If I was that brave blogger which revealed his name on his real Hawaiian certificate proving Obama’s latest certificate an arrogant fraud, I would camp out a while till the independent cable news media pick up on the story.

    And we thought our JP officials were the most arrogant.

  6. Patricia: Sorry , I just noticed I messed up your (8) upside down flags design under “RECENT COMMENTS”, but the truth concerning our Obamanation needed to be cited.

  7. And we thought Viet Nam’s lies were an embarrassment, that the Warren Commission was a greater one, surpassed then by Nixon/ Ford’s pardon and then topped only by Clinton’s deposit on the blue blouse. Wait till the world audience discovers we, as the self acclaimed leader of the greatest democracy in the world, nominated, elected and maintained in power a phony, illegal candidate as the most powerful man in the world.

    President Karzi , accused to be the most corrupt leader America has ever propped up, you better move out of the way cause you’re about to be a distant second real soon.

  8. Having American freedom is like having your rights read to you. Like we have a right to shut the fuck up! And thats about it. Yeah, America, just look at this fucking monster. Should we go by way of other countries and engage in civil war will ATF beat you to your bolg site and take it all away? Gipplet fuckers.

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