The American frontier was first and foremost an idea. A unique idea on which no country in the history of the world had ever been founded: the idea that each and every one of us had total control and was totally sovereign over his or her own life. There was to be no royalty, no government, to which man was subservient. It was the idea expressed by the Founders as our “unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of (our) happiness”. it was the idea to which they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
It is the idea which has virtually disappeared in our country. Government has moved with little resistance into virtually every aspect of our lives, setting demands on what we must do and limitations on what we must not do. Big Brother is bigger and more onerous than Orwell ever imagined. The magnificent Constitution, intended to preserve and protect our rights, is disregarded/violated, by those of all major parties with political power…and their unlawful actions approved by our highest courts.
And perhaps worst of all has been the destruction of the American spirit, manifested so beautifully by the early American frontiersman. He courageously forged new paths into uncharted wilderness, into areas in which there was no government, relying solely on his own abilities, recognizing no authority over his life, prepared to defend it with the rifle he always had at hand, asking for and giving no quarter. His philosophy of life was simple and heartfelt:
“What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours”
“Don’t push me around”
With those who abided his philosophy, whether native Americans, pilgrims or others,he was at peace. With those who didn’t, he was at war.
If we are to regain our glorious heritage, we must do more…much more…than simply fixing a particular social or political issue. That will not do it, nor will compromising the exquisite idea on which our country was founded, as so many urge. I recently heard a political commentator on the radio asked by a listener: “What can we do to stop the decline of America and restore it to greatness?” His answer: “Nothing now. We have to wait until the next election and try to put better people into office”.
He is wrong. Totally wrong. There is much we can do. We must again become frontiersmen, and women. We must emulate the Founders’ commitment to the glorious American idea of individual freedom, and be willing to fight for it without hesitation or reservation. We must not sanction, and become accomplices to, the destruction of our great country by doing nothing.
Are you a frontiersman?