Column #448       March 29, 2024Patrick Henry “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”

Do you remember the first time you heard Patrick Henry’s famous quote, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”? Was it in middle school or high school? Or do you even remember him or the quote that was attributed to him when he spoke at the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia?1

I first learned about him and his speech in middle school and it had a big impact on me. Here was a famous American patriot who literally stood up in defiance to the British Empire by stating he’d rather be dead than live under tyranny. Of course I didn’t fully understand all that he stood for at first. I just knew he was one of our nation’s Founding Fathers involved in the Declaration of Independence and the struggle to create a new country out of the 13 colonies that would be governed by its citizens. Interestingly, even though Patrick Henry was inspirational in the writing of a Declaration of Independence, he along with George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, all typically counted as "Founding Fathers,” for a variety of reasons did not sign the Declaration of Independence.

Patrick Henry was definitely a revolutionist, but when it came to the original U.S. Constitution of 1787 he was very opposed to the strong central government it envisioned. His very vocal concerns about the direction of the country led to the addition of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution. He feared big government and was one of the original Anti-Federalists.2

The Anti-Federalists were primarily from Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia. In North Carolina and Rhode Island they prevented ratification of the Constitution until after the new government had been established. In 1791 they became the nucleus of the Jeffersonian Republican Party (subsequently Democratic-Republican, finally Democratic) as strict constructionists of the new Constitution and in opposition to a strong national fiscal policy.

It was a fear of tyranny that was behind the Bill of Rights becoming part of the Constitution. Today, the Bill of Rights has never been more important–yet most of the rights are being ignored by the Biden administration. In researching this column I ran across a chilling article titled “16 Signs That You Live In A Tyranny” by Jon Roland. He wrote it 15 years ago while Obama was president. In brief his 16 signs were:
●    1. Control of public information and opinion
●    2. Vote fraud
●    3. Undue official influence on trials and juries
●    4. Usurpation of undelegated powers
●    5. register or restrict the possession and use of firearms
●    6. Militarization of law enforcement
●    7. Infiltration and subversion of citizen groups
●    8. Suppression of investigators and whistleblowers:
●    9. Use of the law for competition suppression:
●    10. Subversion of internal checks and balances
●    11. Creation of a class of officials who are above the law
●    12. Increasing dependency of the people on government:
●    13. Increasing public ignorance of their civic duties
●    14. Use of staged events to produce popular support:
●    15. Conversion of rights into privileges
●    16. Political correctness3

During the past three years daily news broadcasts have reported on an endless litany of government dictates that are violations of nearly each and every right that’s in the Bill of Rights. It’s glaringly obvious that what Jon Roland described as tyranny under Obama is now far worse under Biden.

Many Americans see that our country is sinking under the yoke of socialism. Yet the MSM covers for the government in such a way that a huge percentage of Americans believe our deep state actors need their support. In recognition of the current social trends Hillsdale College recently put out an appeal to donors describing our nation’s descent into tyranny.

The Constitution established a limited government in which the people ruled through their elected officials. Under this form of government, America became the freest and most prosperous nation in history. Today, however, our constitutional system is one that increasingly exists in name only.

The Constitution of "We the People" is being replaced by an elite, out-of-touch, and unaccountable administrative state that rules without the consent of American citizens. This means we live in an era of growing bureaucratic despotism, manifested in an administrative state that bypasses the Constitution, rejects the separation of powers, and replaces the rule of law with regulations.

But we can't just TALK about the problem. We also have to TAKE ACTION—to DO SOMETHING about it, while there's still time to save our country.

That is why I'm writing to you today. Hillsdale College is committed to returning to the Constitution of "We the People"—before it's too late.

When scholars make appeals like the one from Hillsdale College, we know our government is “off the rails.” Our form of government is called a republic. It differs from a democracy in that in a republic the minorities are protected. In a democracy, the mob rules. Our republic has structured checks and balances that are supposed to protect the minorities from concentrations of governing power in a single branch or office. Obviously, that no longer holds true.4

Biden has deliberately ignored the laws of the land in dealing with border policy and even ignored Supreme Court rulings involving forgiving student loans. He is being investigated for taking bribes from foreign actors. He and his son Hunter seem to be untouchable for crimes such as money laundering, tax avoidance, and the handling of classified documents. Biden is using lawfare to discredit his political opposition. His Justice Department has violated the rights of Jan6 protestors. The Democratic Party jury-rigged the 2020 election and is doing everything it can to water down the vote in 2024. Biden has threatened the Supreme Court with stacking it with more justices. He is using regulations to force car manufacturers to make products consumers do not want. He has introduced diversity, equity, and inclusion into the military, school programs, and his administration. Biden has not only appointed transgenders into positions of leadership in his administration but also in many judgeships. The Biden administration is running deficits at a record clip by promoting the Ukraine war on one hand while hardly supporting our nation’s most important ally in the Mideast—Israel.

How many of the 16 signs of tyranny can you identify in our government today? Are they enough to rile the likes of Patrick Henry? Is our government one that Patrick Henry would fear?

Are you a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist?5

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

For additional reading:

1. Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death by Editors

2. Anti-Federalists by Editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

3. Sixteen Signs That You Live In A Tyranny by Jon Roland from Listverse

4. Preventing "The Tyranny of the Majority" by Edwin J. Feulner, PhD from The Heritage Foundation

5. Competing Visions: Federalists and Democratic-Republicans by OpenStaxCollege