It is customary on July 4 to reflect on the founding of the United States of America and the precious words set down in their Declaration of Independence, but I have no words better than those of Thomas Jefferson:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Last July 4 I posted what amounts to the manifesto of The Imaginary Revolution, the book I was writing that tells the story of two revolutions, one that merely replaced one tyrant with another, and one that brought true change. Here is a link to that document.
The bottom line is that freedom is the default setting of a human being. Government does not grant you freedom; you were born with it. A government may be formed with the intention to secure that freedom, but government is also the most powerful tool for crushing freedom by force. In the end, however, no one can take your freedom without your consent, because freedom is a state of mind.
As I wrote around this time before the 2008 presidential election, “Freedom is not about having the right ruler. Oh, wait, yes it is. Freedom is understanding that I am the boss of me.”