By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– As we honor the principles of the Declaration of Independence this Fourth of July holiday, it’s worth assessing the state of Freedom in our country.
Countless Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have fought and died for the cause of freedom. And I believe it is the duty of every American to cherish, teach and defend liberty here at home in our daily lives.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote, freedom is not the gift of government, but of our Creator. Yet increasingly, Americans are feeling the heavy hand of government in their lives. A Gallup poll published this week shows Americans who are satisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives has declined from 91 percent in 2006 to 79 percent in 2013. The number dissatisfied with their personal freedom more than doubled from 9 percent to 21 percent in the same period. Compared to 120 nations polled by Gallup, the United States ranked 36th, behind Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates.
A study by the Mercatus Center titled “Freedom in the 50 States” examines the tax and regulatory environments as well as state interference in personal lives. Sadly, California ranks 49th.
The declining state of freedom is due to the growing power of government – a dangerous phenomenon that Jefferson and other Founding Fathers warned of more than 200 years ago. America became prosperous because of our freedom — freedom to enjoy the fruit of our labor; the freedom to pursue happiness as we see fit; the freedom to save and invest without the heavy handed governmental regulation and taxation that stifle jobs, and a rising standard of living. The founders knew that the freer people are, the more the economy grows and the people prosper. But too many have forgotten this.
The ballot box is our key to preserving freedom and turning back policies that fuel an over-reaching government. The fight for freedom began on July 4, 1776. And it continues today.
Robert A. Lovingood is a member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, representing the First District.
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