“If You Can Keep It”

We are losing our freedoms real fast:

One of the more significant things purported to have been said by Benjamin Franklin involved an exchange he had with someone who asked him, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” He is said to have responded this way: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Whether these are the actual words of his can be a matter of debate. But the truth that lies behind them is not debateable. No free nation is guaranteed permanency. Republics and democracies and other forms of limited government always have to be worked at and carefully defended.

They are continuously being threatened from within and without. And while the threats of external enemies are always an issue, the real problem may be the threats from internal decay, exhaustion and collapse. History makes this all too clear. One famous discussion about the fate of democracies by the English writer and historian Lord Macaulay (1800-1859) puts it this way:

From bondage to spiritual faith.
From faith to great courage.
From courage to liberty.
From liberty to abundance.
From abundance to complacency.
From complacency to selfishness.
From selfishness to apathy.
From apathy to dependency.
And from dependency back again into bondage.

Simply forgetting our own past is a big part of this. We sure see this clearly with the ancient Israelites. Despite their miraculous beginning as a nation with the Exodus, they soon enough forgot their past and forgot their God. As a result they kept getting into trouble, climaxing in the period of captivity in foreign lands.

Modern-day Australians, Brits, Americans and others are in the same boat. We are too forgetful about our past and too indifferent to the things that matter. We simply assume we will always be free and prosperous people in free and prosperous nations. Sadly, we are just dreaming here.

This is especially the case with Americans. How many of them know anything about their own glorious past? How many of them know anything about things like the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution? Very few I suspect. And that historical forgetfulness, coupled with an emphasis on self and on pleasure, will lead to America’s downfall.

A few years ago Eric Metaxas wrote an important book called If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (Viking, 2016). He of course used the Franklin story as the springboard for his discussion. Early on in his book he discusses a church candle that he recalls at Easter services when he was a child, and he says this:

What the founders gave us is like that flame. There is something holy about it, but once they passed it on to us, their job was done. They could only hope and pray that we would guard it and tend it and keep it, so that it wouldn’t go out. That flame was passed from them to others, who passed it to others, who passed it to others – and it is at this moment in history in our hands, yours and mine. The burden of “keeping it,” as Franklin said, is excruciatingly important. And here is the main reason for that: Once it goes out, it goes out forever. If the flame given to us goes out, we will not only lose the light ourselves forever but will also lose the ability to pass it along to all those others who are waiting for it. That is what makes keeping it so important and the thought of letting it go out so terrible and tragic.

Image of If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty
If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Metaxas, Eric (Author) Amazon logo

One ominous example of how we can lose it all

Just earlier today I penned yet another article on the really frightening prospects of mandatory Rona vaccines and vaccine passports. Anyone who loves freedom and is concerned about preserving our basic human rights should be gravely concerned about where we are heading with this. See my earlier piece here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2021/05/19/vaxx-passport-madness-is-getting-out-of-control/

I am not alone in sounding the alarm here. Just today Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of the US-based Liberty Counsel sent out an email warning about these very matters. His letter begins as follows:

We warned about tracing, tracking and health passports last year. Now, multiple governments and industries are pushing these digital passports. The goal is to require this passport to work, shop, travel–or even to worship. This is absolutely shocking. Even if you have already been vaccinated, or plan to be, we cannot give up our freedom to travel, work, dine, shop or worship. Our freedom is under the fiercest attack I have ever seen in America.


Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore city health commissioner and president emeritus of Planned Parenthood, appeared on CNN to say, “We have a very narrow window to tie reopening policy to vaccination status because otherwise if everything is reopened, then what is the ‘carrot’ going to be? How are we going to incentivize people to actually get the vaccine?”


This CNN contributor said, “Make it clear to them that the vaccine is the ticket back to pre-pandemic life. The window to do that is really narrowing. … [Because states are reopening, the government] needs to come out a lot bolder and say, ‘If you’re vaccinated, you can do all these things. Here’s all these freedoms that you have.’ Because otherwise people are going to go out and enjoy these freedoms anyway.”


We must not give up our freedom so easily.


Already, VAERS [the US government Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System] reports as of May 7, 192,954 adverse reactions, 4,057 deaths, 11,572 hospitalizations, 25,603 urgent care visits, 32,803 office visits, 9,175 severe allergic reactions, 1,262 heart attacks, 940 anaphylaxis cases, 939 thrombocytopenia/low platelets and 275 miscarriages. This injection MUST remain a free choice.


The push for a digital health passport is much broader than COVID. This agenda has been in the works long before COVID….

His concerns are spot on. Everywhere in the West we see our ruling classes, along with woke capitalists and others pushing these things. Coercion is the name of the game, no matter how much they might speak of things being voluntary.

Indeed, here’s the scoop: when politicians and leaders try to tell you that the Rona vaxx will not be mandatory, but they insist that states and businesses can refuse customers, deny basic services, and prevent things like travel, education and entry into venues, guess what: we DO have mandatory vaccinations!

Whether it is a carrot or stick approach, it is all about COERCION. Free choice is effectively being denied to everyone who has any legitimate concerns about the vaccines. Those who comply will be rewarded. Those who dare to say no will be punished.

Little did many of us know a decade or two ago that the main means by which tyranny would replace freedom and democracy in the West would be via a public health crisis with draconian overreach by governments to ‘keep us safe’.

But that makes perfect sense. Dictators have always run with a crisis – or made one up – in order to instil fear in the population and further consolidate power and control. It works like a charm every time. The masses of sheeple will happily go right along with it all.

As F. A. Hayek put it some decades ago: “‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded – and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed such emergency powers to see to it that the emergency will persist.”

Another quote purported to be by Benjamin Franklin puts it this way: “Those who give up liberty for security deserve neither.” That is exactly where we are at today. Panic over a virus has reduced most folks to a flock of sheep who will suspend all critical and moral judgment and simply go along with whatever their overlords tell them to do.

Who will resist Big Brother statism and stand up for liberty and basic human rights? I sure will.

[1331 words]

17 Replies to ““If You Can Keep It””

  1. The Commonwealth of Australia is neither a republic nor a democracy. It is a Constitutional Monarchy.

    Our founding fathers wrung a Constitution from Queen Victoria in 1900 and later passed in the Imperial Parliament which avails Australian citizens to write the laws by which we are governed. The Constitution was formally adopted in Melbourne (Exhibition Building) in January 1991.

    In short, we Australians write the laws that the Monarch guarantees and enforces.

    Section 128 allows Australians to amend the Constitution by majority vote. No one else may amend the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK).

    However, the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act remains and always will be an act of the Imperial Parliament.

    The Constitution does NOT avail for Australians to become a democracy nor a republic as it entrenches the Monarch as the head of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand.

    Any notion by any sworn Minister or member of Parliament or the Senate that in any way promotes a republic or democracy pertaining to Australia or New Zealand commits treason as each swears allegiance to the Crown before taking their seat. That Oath or Affirmation is specified in the Constitution.

    In evidence, each State of the Commonwealth of Australia is governed by a Governor representing the Crown and so too the Federal power.

    It is treason to claim that a Premier or Prime Minister runs the Commonwealth of Australia or any of its States.

    If Australians understood this then they would also understand that it is not possible by the strength of our Constitution that in any way Australia will ever be anything other than a Constitutional Monarch.

    John Abbott

  2. This is absolutely right, Bill. May people be awake and aware of what is happening – it is too easy to keep things at arms length, thinking (hoping) that these things may somehow not affect us too much. May we all walk in the discernment and courage that comes from God. Thank you, and God bless.

  3. That is true. The government is eroding more of our freedoms under the pretext of protecting us in a ‘crisis’. We have also seen our most significant freedoms (freedom of worship) being taken away from us.

    On the other hand. We must obey the government in all things, so long as they do not force us to disobey God. That causes me to question your last few lines. How do you intend to resist? By writing articles, fine. But at the end of the day, if the government was to make vaccines compulsory, God would expect each of us to obey.

    I may just have misinterpreted your last lines, but I think some clarification would be helpful.

  4. Thanks Johannes. I have written dozens of articles on these matters, so you may want to check them out. See these two pieces for starters: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/05/15/the-state-is-not-absolute/


    Indeed, I have 31 articles in this section that you can further explore: https://billmuehlenberg.com/category/politics/resistance-theory/

    So I differ with you: you take passages like Romans 13 and make them much more restrictive than they were intended to be. The Christian is under no obligation whatsoever to take a medicine that he has conscientious reasons to refuse. The state is NOT absolute and is NOT to trample our religious and political freedoms.

  5. Hi Bill,

    We’re losing our freedoms real fast!

    Australians should watch the film – “Sophie Scholl – The Final days” on Youtube, as well as the movie “Alone in Berlin” – Otto & Elise Hempel because these films have highlighted how easy the Nazis removed free speech.

    I am extremely concerned about the increasing power of the state as The Australian recently reported, “A spokeswoman for NSW Health said the agency “supports access to multidisciplinary care for children and adolescents with gender dysphoria that is consistent with Australian and NSW laws and policies.” What happen to best-care being based on the scientific evidence? It is obvious that the Australian federal & state laws and policies have now defined what it means to be male, female, man, woman, girl, boy, married, baby & terminally ill. The Victorian government have created a law against conversion therapy and this is to silence Christian prayers. It is only a matter of time before the state defines the word, “hate.” We have heard the state’s belief about “love” in the marriage debate. What will the state do to silence me from telling the truth? I am sure there will be Victorians who would agree to beheadings for people who say things against the state.

  6. I feel Bill we are in the last stages a bit of apathy, a large dose of dependence and even a bit of bondage depending upon where you are as to what extent of each.

    I will leave here a partial quote from a Babylon 5 episode wear the villain was basically a Nazi (the whole race she was from was a Nazi like race she was the last member): “you and the rest of your kind take BLIND comfort in the belief that we were monsters and that you could never do what we did …….. Not like us?? You will become us!”

  7. We now see the deception in our Prime Minister saying no mandatory vaccines, this has been exposed by his latest speech on vaccine passports to travel between states. This man has no real convictions, he is just saying one thing, but really has other ideas come. For him it is about baying to the anti freedoms, bowing at the alter of the woke, left brigade. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. No to passports as they bring in a two tier system, reward the vaccinated and punish the unvaccinated, so unChristian behaviour. Thanks Bill again. Blessings.

  8. At first the tyrants lobbied and paid off corrupt politicians to enforce their plan. Then they came for mainstream media to use manipulated data to spread fear 24×7. Then they came for freedoms of people through technologies, mandated masks, totalitarian lockdowns and restrictions with tracing. Next they will come for those who question and resist. Unfortunately people who are passive, apathetic or thinking the government is keeping them and us safe are actually enemies of humanity and are actually giant anchors dragging us all down into a totalitarian abyss. Once Covid passports become a thing (surely not?) Is game over. Then new apps will be introduced, your right to freedom of assembly can be crushed, Covid apps may be required to enter stores, sports events and concerts, EVEN churches. People who go along with this and are compliant are actually signing away all their freedoms.

  9. True Philippe. People will convince themselves it is only till Rona is beaten then we don’t need the passports. And Biden is a spry young man! Even if that was true Bill Gates early on was ALREADY talking about the next virus, gee it is like they have these planned and in the pipeline already, so as soon as COVID is done with … Yeah we have our freedoms oh no a new virus is here! And fauci aka Dr doom is ALREADY talking about needing boosters.

    They said 3 weeks to flatten the curve but never really explained anything to us it was with BLIND FAITH with handed over our freedoms to them believing it was an emergency and would only be a temporary curbing of our freedoms and they would be back lickety split. There’s no turning back once you start down the road of blind faith in government. It’s one thing when they can prove giving up your freedoms temporarily will be beneficial but to just say do it is quite another. Governments aren’t in the habit of giving back things they have wrongly taken from you. Man must be ultimately governed from within or without. The Holy Spirit or the state run by man. when you have more being governed by the first there is little need for the last. But when few summit to the HS the state must increasingly grow larger to try to restrain people. Only dictators can govern those devoid of God. When one recognizes no authority higher than oneself the iron fist is the only restraint that can hold you!

  10. Hi Bill
    Thanks for the quotes,
    Here are some I found recently;
    Those who are to smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. Plato.

    Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy more tunnel. John Quinton, American actor/writer.

    A politician is a fellow who will lay down YOUR life for HIS country.
    Texas Guinan, 19th century American businessman.
    regards and blessings

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