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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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This Independence Day liberty-loving Americans had much to be grateful for. In the first half of 2018, champions of freedom have accomplished some of the biggest victories in decades. As freedom advances and tyranny loses ground, the battle for the soul of America seems to be headed back in the right direction.

Throughout the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society and the Obama presidency, the massive growth of government has jeopardized freedom. For the last one hundred years, the trend in American government has been more spending, more regulations, and more taxes.

No wonder many Americans have lost hope in what President Abraham Lincoln called “the last best hope of earth.” Yet fear not, ye Americans. As the 4th of July approaches, and we celebrate the 242nd birthday of this great nation, we have much to rejoice.

On July 4, 1776 a group of brilliant and brave patriots signed the document that unshackled us from the tyranny of King George. The Declaration of Independence was the clarion call to the world that people have natural rights and government is established to protect those rights. The government designed by the Founders included novel ideas such as the rule of law, popular sovereignty, checks and balances, federalism, individual rights, and separation of powers.

Although Thomas Jefferson stated “The natural progress of things is for the government to gain ground and for liberty to yield,”—it appears Jefferson’s maxim has been put on hold. For the first time in decades, freedom is resurging.

How so? Well just consider what has taken place in the last six months under each branch of the national government—let alone what is happening at the state and local levels.

Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress has increased economic freedom for all Americans. By allowing individuals to keep more of their earnings and business owners to reinvest in their business and employees, the federal tax cuts have unleashed the American economy. Consumer confidence is skyrocketing, the unemployment rate is plummeting, and economic growth and innovation is expanding once again. After a decade of economic struggles partially due to more taxes, Americans are finally reaping the rewards of economic freedom due to fewer (and reduced) taxes.

Thankfully, Congress is not the only branch of government working towards rolling back the leviathan state. The executive branch has done a fantastic job cutting burdensome, costly, and unnecessary regulations. Due to President Donald Trump’s pledge to cut 10 regulations for every one new regulation (it’s actually been 22 to one), more than 1,500 ridiculous rules have been eliminated since his inauguration. The savings from these regulatory reductions now exceed $8 billion. These savings alone have allowed business owners to expand, hire more employees, and reward current employees. After years of businesses being constrained because of the massive onslaught of regulations, the tide has turned.

While the president and Congress have done much to further freedom, the U.S. Supreme Court has arguably done more in the past few weeks than in the past few decades. In a handful of significant rulings, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the First Amendment’s freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. In one particular landmark decision—Janus v. AFSCME—the Court dealt a devastating blow to government unions by no longer forcing workers to pay union dues and fees.

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy opens a huge opportunity to secure more freedom while preserving the freedom we currently enjoy. The Supreme Court has become the last defense against the advance of tyranny. Any and all future justices ought to adhere to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the spirit of freedom.

Lennie Jarratt ([email protected]) is a project manager at The Heartland Institute. Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.