Free Speech

Ode to Patrick Henry: We’re Still Fighting to Protect Our Liberty Today

from Daily Signal,

Americans who are fighting the left’s attempts to restrict our liberties, destroy our culture, and manipulate our society using the imperious power of the government sometimes may forget that we’ve been struggling to preserve our liberty and freedoms from overbearing governments since the beginning of our nation. Nearly 250 years later, we bemoan that government has sunk its claws into almost every aspect of our lives, including our families, our professions, and our businesses. Henry’s 1775 speech, and his defiance, helped inspire the colonists who were rebelling against the all-powerful British monarchy that had sunk its tightening claws into almost every aspect of their lives, too. Harrison voiced opposition, though, saying Henry’s resolution was “rash and inexpedient” and that Virginians “should do nothing hastily, offer no provocation.” Edmund Pendleton agreed, arguing that the colony should “proceed slowly before rushing Virginia into war,” while Robert Carter Nicholas said Henry was being “hasty, rash, and unreasonable.” But Henry was having none of it. Americans should take heart from him if they have been silenced by school boards, university administrators, liberal media pundits, social media censors, and others who are trying to restrict any speech that doesn’t fit within the political orthodoxy of the radical left because it is “offensive.” “Should I keep back my opinions at such a time through fear of giving offense,” Henry said, “I should consider myself guilty of treason toward my country and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” The forces arrayed against us today, including Hollywood, social media and news platforms, academic institutions, corporations such as Disney, and government bureaucracies, may seem overwhelming at times. But Henry and his fellow Americans faced the world’s largest, strongest empire and military power. As Henry said: They tell us, sir, that we are weak—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of Hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. … The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. … 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! Unlike Patrick Henry, we’re not facing an armed oppressor (at least domestically). But we are facing a formidable array of forces internally that want to abolish our precious heritage of individual freedom and liberty, rewrite our history with their propaganda, pollute the minds of our children, and transform us into their version of a socialist “paradise” (everyone else’s version of a nightmare). The overwhelming majority of Americans want and work at every day: building and preserving an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.

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