You are not free


Today is July 4th. Today we celebrate our forefathers’ victory over tyranny and oppression. Today we are supposed to wave our flags and cheer for our freedoms. But today, if I’m to be honest, I feel kind of like a divorced man on his wedding anniversary. It is an occasion to remember a beautiful and joyous event, but I am left mourning what is lost rather than enjoying what was gained.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got my red shorts and my blue shirt on. I’m going to fire up the grill just like everyone else. I may even light a few fire crackers later on tonight. Actually, scrap the fire crackers. They’re illegal in my town. Someone may burn themselves, you see, or cause a noise disturbance that will irritate the old lady down the street. In any event, I will take part in the festivities, according to the bevy of laws and ordinances and regulations that govern said festivities. And maybe that makes me a hypocrite, because I’m observant enough to know we are rejoicing freedoms that no longer exist and an independence we no longer have. We are not free. You are not free. Wake up. You. Are. Not. Free. Yes, please go and drink to our Founders tonight. And then wake up in the morning with a desire to actually live in the nation they built. That’s how you can celebrate July 4th. Not by pretending that we are free men, but by realizing we are bound, and hating — yes, hating — those chains with the passion and vigor of a true American.

While we are barbecuing and singing songs about our “land of the free and home of the brave,” there’s a guy sitting in jail in Texas for making a sarcastic joke on the internet. There’s a man in Kentucky charged with multiple felonies for standing up to a violent gang banger who trespassed on his property and threatened him. There’s a college student in California who was told by staff at a state university to take off her cross necklace because it might offend somebody. There are citizens being fined and prosecuted for collecting rain water. There are thousands of people in prison for growing, buying or selling a harmless plant. There are farmers nationwide prohibited from cultivating one of human civilization’s most reliable and useful crops simply because it looks like marijuana. There’s a senior official at the IRS — who directed her employees to persecute and bully conservatives — now refusing to testify in front of Congress unless she’s granted immunity. There’s an NSA program compiling all of your phone records and monitoring your Internet activity. There are cops collecting DNA from citizens without a warrant. There are people having their firearms confiscated after seeking treatment for mental health issues. There are parents having their children confiscated for seeking a second opinion about their child’s medical problem. There are entrepreneurs being driven under by regulations and policies that strip them of their basic right to run their own business. There are companies, hospitals and colleges being forced to defy their religious beliefs in order to comply with a blatantly unconstitutional birth control mandate. There are journalists being spied on and prosecuted for reporting about the government. There are government agents at airports groping handicapped children and elderly women. There are corporations and wealthy oligarchs spending tax money appropriated from hard working middle class citizens and given to them by their cronies in DC. There are law enforcement agents with the power to lock down an entire city and conduct warrantless house to house searches. There are lobbyists in dark rooms buying politicians and subverting the electoral system.

There are taxes. Taxes on everything. Everything you do, buy, sell or earn is taxed. You can’t turn on a light, drive a mile in the car, buy a stick of gum, you can’t even die without being taxed. You are taxed for working, for living, for existing. And why? So government can grow, and government elites can live high on the hog and indulge themselves on your dime, and politicians can wage war and buy votes. All of this with your money, taken by threat or force.


Patriot Act.

Compulsory government education.

The welfare state.

The warfare state.






Freedom? No. This is not freedom. And don’t tell me it’s good enough because we’re still “more free” than other nations. Even if I agreed with that assertion — which I certainly do not — it still wouldn’t justify the current state of affairs. When you rationalize that way you sound like an emotionally abused wife insisting that her marriage is fine because “at least he doesn’t hit me.” The fact that he isn’t doing one awful thing doesn’t, of course, justify the awful things that he is doing. And the only reason that he isn’t physically assaulting her is that he’s found his emotional and verbal abuse to be effective in producing the results he desires. For now. We are suffering from a collective Battered Wife Syndrome in this country. Call it Battered Citizen Syndrome, I suppose.

Look, I’m not trying to rain on your parade. Go ahead, throw that parade. Party. Celebrate. But know that you are celebrating the IDEA of freedom, not the reality of it. July 4th is a commemoration of an important historical event, and now it is also a call to arms in the present day. Don’t say that we are free. We are not. But remember why you want to be, and then strive to achieve it.

Happy Independence Day, my fellow patriots. We’ve got work to do.

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28 Responses to You are not free

  1. Kim says:

    Well done. I was just saying to my co-workers the other day that this is the first “Independence” Day in which I am more depressed about the sheer irony about this supposed holiday than hanging out and barbecuing with my friends and family.

    • JR Nation says:

      Yep. It’s going through the motions because my daughter looks forward to family times like we have done for July 4th. For her, of course we will go watch fireworks and have a little barbeque, but it is a shallow feeling of loss…like losing a loved one…as you always have to carry on.

  2. Vance Phillips says:

    Matt,Councilman Vance Phillips from Delaware.  Great stuff, man.  Thought crossed my mind… maybe we no longer deserve freedom, ie.  50 million babies. Vance

    • Mike Miranda says:

      I love how the intellectually inept turned this pretty good piece into a discussion about religion, abortion, and literally everything but what the article is talking about. It’s because of this majority that no one is free. And to the people like Scribbles, who must have been named after it’s writing, you are the least free of all.

  3. theresapumpkin says:

    I am visiting my home country right now (thirty years of ex-pat existence in Norway) and am shocked by the insidious nature of the mindset that has infiltrated this great country. Good people are arguing with me on why Snowden is a traitor and the NSA a necessity, why abortion is wrong but the decision should be left up to the woman, how same-sex marriage is strictly a question about love. What veil of ignorance and deceit are Americans living under? I can’t help but feel these good people are dancing on their graves.

  4. A quite honest and appropriate laying out of how things are. I wish it was not this way! I’m reposting this on my blog.. Enjoy your precious family, Matt!

  5. Erica says:

    Thank you, as soon as I turned on my computer and checked my phone today to see all the “happy 4th!” messages all I could think is that we aren’t free, and the celebration is towards an idea not our reality.
    Very well written, I’ll be sharing this. 🙂

  6. Pingback: You are not free, happy Independence Day

  7. Pingback: Are we really free? | Syrin's Blog

  8. Thank you for this. Thank you.

  9. Nancy says:

    If you’re so unhappy here, you are FREE to move to another country…

    • Pahinui says:

      UH, CHYAH Nancy, my fathers fore and forefore fathers cut theyre teeth fighting and stealing land for the eventual Safety and FREEDOM of those peoples. i aint gunna leave MY country because an arrogant corrupt, faction with an agenda has materialized by way of overzealous, GREEDY bankers, politicians, and worst of all earth sacrificing lobbyists. but the idea of living somewhere the people just decapitate leaders who STEAL from them is sounding more and more appealing. LOVE IT Or fight to make it great again. If Matts right about anything its this… Dont Settle for an adulterous husband, especially if hes allowed to change the prenup whenever he wants.

  10. Dave says:

    Totally agree. I was at the Lexington Legends game two nights ago and a beautiful girl with a great voice sang “God bless America.” Instead of making me proud, it depressed me. It depressed me for the same reason you stated here- what she was singing about was a past idea. The country she was singing about was actually something God would
    bless. That country is long gone, and the one we have now is something I don’t recognize. It is certainly nothing that God would bless. Great blog.

  11. Mike says:

    Well written, my friend. Keep fighting the fight. This country is blessed to still have people like you out there doing what you do.

  12. Pingback: Looking Back and Forward After the 4th | Consider, Reconsider

  13. Pingback: You are not free | The Matt Walsh Blog | I Was Misinformed

  14. Dave Sowden says:

    The problems are clear, what I want to know is what are the solutions?

  15. Peter Jones says:

    Matt, I am late to this one, Great post. I think there is direct correlation between illegal fireworks and freedom. The more fireworks become illegal the less freedom we have. The answer is to bring back real fireworks. The kind that blow things up and shoot into the sky with a scream and sound like a machine gun. Instead we get wimpy fireworks that “emit showering sparks.” Legal fireworks are just like most Americans, weak, impotent, unable to strike fear in a two year old. Start a revolution. Shoot off some bottle rockets or light a long line of firecrackers.

  16. Seth says:

    Great post Matt…like a few people said “Its a pretty sad feeling when you as an AMERICAN hear our national anthem and it makes you depressed”….knowing what a great country this used to be…the feeling that we americans used to be free from opression and tyranny and boast our opinions without being subjected to rediculous so called laws, rules and regulations. Its time to take our country back from big bankers and corporation who have no interest in “FREE AMERICA”….all there worried about is how fat they can make thier pokets…not giving a shit about who its hurts or how it might affect the future….

  17. Thanks for posting this. Dave Sowden asked a great question earlier. I ask the same.

  18. Pingback: Our Freedoms Cost The Horse’s — Writing of Riding

  19. Daniel Charles Welsh says:

    We’re repeating history like the fall of the Roman empire spread to thin all over the world not charging for our police (mafia) actions and taking care of our own. .I have been smoking since 5 years old, drinking and drugs since 6 years old. I was brought up in a wonderful upper middle class Irish Catholic family. As you can tell by my writing I was the only one of 7 that said I didn’t need college.(That’s a 5 day story) I started working tax based at 12, graduated high school, went to tech school (fluid power and welding..My father and my attorney said Daniel whatever you do be the best. I did that. Life is great. I have a beautiful wife Patrice son Daniel Jr. and Nicole. After 24 yeas at the last place I worked shipping American parts to China to get Chinese bids on American made products. At the same time the American company built a plant in China like all other American companies. Shipped to the door it’s around a quarter of the price it cost us in America two build it (stock holders and CEOs ) are happy. .The next step was to become a 2 from 4+ out of 5 in every aspect of my work like millions of American workers age 45 +.My guess as the fiduciary for a gentleman with 2 herniated discs and 3 three knee operations that were do to hard work on the job was to much for stock holders like millions of others.
    Sorry to whine boys and girls.

    When I graduated in 77 a boy or girl could drop out of school and have the American dream working a factory, cradle to grave with profit sharing, retirement,heathcare,dental,schooling and a livable wage just like our hero’s of world war II or korea.
    I’m not worried about old dogs like me I’m worried about the children.
    Not everyone can be a rocket scientist.
    Thanks for reading.
    Never done this before.
    May never do it again

  20. Joseph Mack says:

    i celebrate advancing abortion rights, gay rights, suppression of the press and spying on citizens.
    usa, usa!

  21. Scribbles says:

    My Freedom is in Christ, and in Eternity. I AM FREE! Regardless of what the Rulers and Authorities say or do, they cannot take that away from us, and they never could. However bound, however oppressed, in slavery or poverty or sickness or weakness, we are free, we are rich, we, we are whole, we are strong, and we are blessed. We are citizens of Heaven first, and citizens of this nation after. I loved your article, but I think you overlooked that.

  22. Lisa Reynoso says:

    You know, that prohibition on hemp farming is the reason our grocery bill is so high. My son is allergic to dairy and soy and all nuts. Our choices for milk are rice and hemp. Rice tastes good, but nutritionally it’s pretty poor, and besides, he gets enough rice in his diet–steamed rice, rice pasta, cream of rice, rice cakes, rice crackers, rice cereal… So we buy hemp milk. By the case. And he drinks it. Two to three times a day, sometimes more. He’s 4 years old, so he drinks small servings, but still, we can easily go through a case and a half a month. It costs $38 a case if I’m lucky, more if I buy it off the shelf, or a little less ($34) if I can get it on sale. If it were allowed to be cultivated here in the US, it would probably drive the price down a bit.


    Oh, and I heartily agree with Scribbles!

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