Wednesday we celebrate Independence Day. We commemorate our independence from tyranny, and we remember the blood that was shed and the lives that were lost in the formation of this exceptional country. This Independence Day, however, we should open our eyes to the steady regression from individual independence our country has undergone.
The America I know and love -- the land of the free and the home of the brave -- did not come without a cost. The first Americans, disadvantaged in almost every way, stood toe to toe with the British army. They had no government, no financial system, no army, no navy, but they fought anyway because freedom meant that much. They fought just for the opportunity to succeed and prosper; they died to leave their children a better tomorrow. And, as their children, how have we expressed our gratitude?
Today, we see images of Americans -- lying in the streets in filth and waste occupying Wall Street. They protest and demand the government give them their fair share. The hard work and struggle that gave them the right to protest have long been forgotten, supplanted by entitlement and sloth. Certainly a far cry from the shed blood and sweat at the foundation of this country.
Entitled America, whose attitude is embodied in groups like Occupy Wall Street, seeks to change the very core of America. Rejecting independence, personal responsibility, and self-help, Entitled America instead opts for dependence, enslaving themselves to the subjective whims of a dysfunctional government.
Alexis de Tocqueville had it right when he wrote these words: Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
The first Americans sacrificed their very livelihood seeking equality in liberty. Entitled America -- knowingly or unknowingly -- demands equality in restraint and servitude. Entitled America fails to see that, in demanding the government ameliorate any hardship, they are enslaving themselves to the very entity our forefathers fought to be free from; and, in doing so, they are losing the individual independence we ought to cherish, guard, and protect.
Perhaps President Ronald Reagan said it best.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
It is up to us to continue the battle for America's soul.
Kayleigh McEnany is a writer and political activist who graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and studied at Oxford University. She is the founder of www.RealReaganConservative.com. She writes every Tuesday for the International Business Times.