I recently spent several weeks in Philadelphia on business. The downtown area near the river was actually rather pretty and my time there was considerably more pleasant than my previous visits to other Northern cities. While there, I couldn’t resist going by and seeing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, two great symbols of American freedom.
I found myself pondering the historical significance of this place and its role in the founding of the United States. My thoughts also ran to a sight not far from here and its historical significance to America: Gettysburg. In this region of Pennsylvania are two great sites in American history. One is where the foundations of the concepts of true liberty were established, and the other marks the turning point in the battle between states rights and centralized control of the people.
How ironic it is that two of the greatest symbols of the American idea of freedom, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, are housed in Philadelphia, a city that is part of the Northeast big-government movement to eliminate that freedom. There are a number of statues of great Americans in this town. One of them is of Benjamin Franklin. I believe that if the statue of Ben Franklin that graces this city was to become possessed by the spirit of that great man, it would surely rip itself up from its pedestal and make a beeline Southward for the Mason-Dixon Line.
Anywhere the ideas of limited government, local control and self-determination are cherished is the true home of the great men and women that founded the United States. Today the only place that these ideas are widely held, on this continent, is in the South. If the founding fathers were alive today, they would all look to the South for what is left of the legacy bequeathed to us.
While historically Philadelphia has a right to possess and display the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, philosophically the city, and the state of Pennsylvania, has lost the right to claim any kin to what those two objects represent. Until the Northern states decide to turn from advocating bigger and more intrusive federal government and support the sovereign rights of the states, the display of these historic symbols makes a mockery of their true meaning.
My visit to Philadelphia was a good thing. It made me think. It made me realize how far the United States has truly drifted from what was intended by the founding fathers. It also made me realize how far we have to go to get back to where we belong if true liberty is to ever be realized in America again.
June 28, 1999