By Chris Rossini
If there's one thing that can always be counted on, it's that all good will be attacked. If there's a garden somewhere, the weeds are always on their way. The ideas espoused by a critical mass of Americans in 1776 and the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence fall into that category. Ever since 1776, and up until the present day, those ideas have come under relentless attack both from foreign and domestic antagonists. What remains of those powerful ideas both sustain us and keep our heads above water.
However, the antagonists never stop. They have whittled away at liberty and will continue to do so until it's completely gone (if we let them). A tried and true tactic is to replace the original meaning of words and events. For example, did you know that "Liberals" were originally those individuals who opposed state power and were champions of individual responsibility and liberty? Of course, the modern "Liberal" believes in the exact opposite today. That's just one of many examples where opponents of liberty have co-opted a term or event.
The Statue of Liberty now has a different meaning than it's original. The Statue was a gift from France, and as strange as it may seem to Americans today, it was given in honor of the ideas of 1776.
The great historian Ralph Raico writes:
The statue was a gift from the French people on our hundredth birthday, in 1876. Her name is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” which is why she’s carrying a torch. What she’s enlightening the world with is shown on the book she’s holding in her left hand, marked “1776″–the ideals of the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence.
Notice the French didn't engrave 1787, the year that U.S. Constitution and a centralized government was created. They definitely had the option. But that wasn't the special year. The creation of a federal government often destroys liberty as power becomes centralized.
The special and very unique year that the French were drawing attention to was 1776. That was the year that powerful declarations were made against power itself.
The antagonists of liberty have now had a solid 240 years to wipe away even what the Statue of Liberty originally stood for. Today, many Americans believe the myth that the statue has to do with "immigration" and "huddled masses."
Ralph Raico again on the truth:
Many people, including some libertarians, misunderstand the significance of the Statue of Liberty. It has nothing to do with immigration, or huddled masses yearning to breathe free (or just yearning to get on the welfare gravy train). That stuff came years afterwards, in a poem by Emma Lazarus tacked on.
The poem from Emma Lazarus was added in 1903 to the Statue of Liberty. The ideas swirling through American minds in 1903 were quite different from those of 1776. This was a time that the weeds of so-called "Progressivism" began to take root. An all-encompassing government coupled with an imperial military empire were sprouting forth.
When the "huddled masses" lines were added to the Statue of Liberty, Theodore Roosevelt, who had an unquenchable lust for war and presidential power, sat at the head of the U.S. government. Needles to say, liberty and the ideas of 1776 were not his thing.
It's now been 100+ years since the weeds of "Progressivism" took root. And as the ancient saying goes: "By their fruits, ye shall know them."
The Statue of Liberty still stands. However, the original intent and meaning behind it have been scrubbed by the opponents of liberty.
They never stop.
Neither should we.
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