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Don’t Tread on Me, But Let Me Tread All Over You: The Credo of Personal Freedom and Limitless Greed


Don’t Tread on Me, But Let Me Tread All Over You: The Credo of Personal Freedom and Limitless Greed

Steven Singer

Every neighborhood has one.

A yellow flag showing a coiled spring of a snake above the motto, “Don’t Tread on Me.”

In my usually well-manicured suburb, you’ll find it waving bravely over the garbage house.

There’s three broken down RVs sitting on the lawn, a busted sofa in the back yard, a rotten picnic bench and several rusted out vehicles in various states of disrepair.


“The motto “Don’t Tread on Me” has come to mean radical individual freedom.”

As in the right to figure out their own means of transportation not requiring roads, which are, of course, socialized demons.

The right to get to the hospital in an emergency absent the involvement of the socialized demons operating the ambulances.

The right to “educate” their children and thereby inoculate them from the socialized demon known as science.

Good luck to them. If God looks like a snake, maybe they stand a chance. From what I remember of their book, God probably doesn’t resemble the snake.


Ive been more disturbed by the large numbers of white young men who have embrace the 4chan / extreme right symbol of Pepe the Frog and the ‘Feels good man’ meme. It goes beyond the don’t tread on me individualism to expressing a sense of pleasure in inflicting abuse on others.



Good ole American iconography, they should do a time-line.


The only statement from this article I take umbridge with is yet another false equivalency that the voices of the Left are somehow as radical as those on the right. And to even imply that they reach the same decibel level is ridiculous. After all, when was the last time you heard the main stream media blather on, day after day, about single payer healthcare, or a woman’s right to choose?
The voices of the left, while representing clear majority of Americans, have been muted by the corporate media for four decades now.
The rest of the piece is spot on. Since the 1980’s the white ruling class has known that their days as a majority in our melting pot were numbered. Thats why they bought the media. They needed to control the message and get the their not so subliminal message out on a daily/hourly basis. The Oligachy knew they were vastly outnumbered. They knew that the only way to maintain the current white, Eurocentric power structure was to, as Jay Gould once postulized, get half the poor to kill the other half. Or at least get enough of them and their racist, sexist, xenophobic views to the polls so as to counterbalance any progressive voting initiatives.
And now we live in a 21st dystopia. A place where a very small group of wealthy people control every arm of government and nearly all of the media. A place where only 25% of the population helps those same wealthy people control the other 75%.
We as Americans do indeed have the right to shout racist epithets in public. We have the freedom to do some of the most heinous and awful things to each other all in the name of our constitution. The shame is that about 25% of us choose to do those terrible things anyway.
By any measure, the American experiment has failed.


Toxic masculinity at work in a culture that breeds it like few others. Now that we have a president that is the poster child for toxic masculinity, these “patriots” are all the more emboldened to act out on their hate. What many on the left have dismissed for years as fringe groups and extremists are now a potent political force. This country is in serious decline and it will take a major cultural upheaval for it to survive much longer.


The education system in this country is a fucking joke. If I had to pick just ONE item that must be improved, it would be our education system. Just tune into C-Span’s Washington journal some morning at 7 am et to see what I mean. These “people” are our fellow citizens and most don’t have a fucking clue about anything. One moron this morning was moaning about the usual Dem suspects, ie Schumer, Pelosi AND Barbara Boxer. Now Boxer retired two fucking yrs ago and Kamala Harris is now the new Ca Senator. Carrying weapons like the wild west, mass school shootings, black (mostly) men getting assassinated daily by usually white cops. We are going to start to see in future yrs people emigrating FROM the US.


This article makes some good points, but it is unfortunate that Singer has engaged in liberal bourgeois classist stereotypes in his description of the home with the Tea Party “Don’t tread on me” flag. All such flags I see in my SW Pennsylvania area are in front of big suburban homes - usually out on the McMansion belts of N. Washington and S. Butler Counties, south and north of the city, and their owners are obviously well-off.


C-Span is tough to take with a couple of cups of coffee in the morning, now. It was always a cold washcloth to the face but has turned into an ice bath. Brian was always an Establishment Republican Institutionalist, but daily listeners knew that small factoid. Now…? So it goes…
Why let grandstanders have more room in your space and head? The political class has the clout to invade everyone now at the cellular level. C-Span is no different in this regard. Sad, ain’t it.
** I started listening decades ago, too. I quit for the same reasons I stopped hitting myself in the head with a hammer.


Yes there are a few in the upper middle class suburbs. But you would think there a would be a while lot more, seeing as how most of them are lifelong republican voters.
However, just take a short drive down to Greene and Fayette counties, or keep going into northern West Virginia. Nearly every white trash stereotype is on display in their numerous trailer parks and on their gravel and dirt roads, especially don’t tread on me and confederate battle flags displayed proudly amongst the major appliances and rusted out vehicles in their front yards. But, like the article insinuated through those unfortunate (but mostly accurate) stereotypes, the true shame is that those downtrodden people, who have been taken advantage of time and again by people like Donald Trump will gleefully vote for him again, as they have accepted their place as America’s untouchables. They would rather wollow in their own filth with their racial hatred and xenophobia intact than to recognize that the Trumps of the world have used them like dumb beasts for generations.


Great to see an article discussing freedom, one of the most important yet poorly understood concepts in modern societies.

The folly of thinking that capitalist societies are free is mystifying and bizarre.
Apparently, the only kind of ‘freedom’ dominating society at present is the tradition of conforming to illusory left-right misconceptions, argue vigourously about them, then try to make others tow the same irrational line no matter how many are starving, without medical care or democracy.


We generally don’t notice that Liberty and Equality are not congruent values–Take cigarette smoking–It has become “politically correct” to ban smoking in public places, something the Tea Party undoubtedly hates–But consider someone standing in a crowd, lighting up, sending his smoke into the lungs of those around him, including children–He has an individual “right” to smoke (actually is there any such “right”?) but does he have a right to expose others to his second hand smoke?–This clash of rights, individual and social, is played out with gun rights also, and many other big corporate industries’ practices–The root of the problem, is the complete lack of economic democracy (“Freedom from want” Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms–right to shelter, clothing, food, medical care) in the Constitution–The Bill of Rights primarily addresses civil rights, but offers nothing about economic rights–We need both, civil and economic rights, recognizing the difference between “freedom from” and “freedom to”–Adjusting and re-calibrating the difference between them, the legislature and the judiciary could arrive at truly democratic solutions, a “fair playing field”–Economic democracy as it is presently in our system is for the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporate interests–An asymmetry played out since the slave-owning big landowners got together and cooked up their ideal constitution!


You’ve identified the crux of the “freedom” issue, which exposes the root of American culture as “Gimme!” We’re a nation of spoiled brats, and ironically it’s the party of personal responsibility that’s demonstrating this.

Libertarianism has devolved into a declaration that “I think I should be allowed to do whatever I want.” You’ve also shed light on the idea that there is no such thing as a “right” (and don’t get me started on “God-given rights”. If I have a right to smoke and you have a right to not be exposed to smoke, well, I guess those two rights cancel out and neither exists. There are other examples, as well, such as me not wearing a seatbelt and you not having to pay higher insurance premiums because of that right.


Replace cigarette smoke with automobile tailpipe emissions, chimney smoke from your fireplace. etc. I think you’re really on to something, here.
Then, go into where we get our energy from in the U.S.- some % of it, anyway.
Since the wind moves your pollution over to my neighborhood block party, I’ll ask that your entire neighborhood block has their power cut off on a 105° day, while your in-laws are visiting from Alaska, hopefully.


Totally right on that one. There’s people out there who can’t read, spell or do simple addition/subtraction but graduated high school. Some of them even have the chutzpah to ask for “free college education”.


Well, let’s be fair, none of us are paying enough enough taxes in lifetime to even pave mile of road.

Actually, i have interacted with kids (high school graduates actually, kids compared to me) that were home schooled, and i would say percentage wise that were better educated than the public school guys i dealt with. I’m only talking reading/writing/math tho. Didn’t really ask them to elaborate on the meaning of life or the current political climate. There’s not much money in that anyway.


“Don’t tread on me while I rape, rob and kill you.”

Direct Democracy


Public education is a very good system, but like most systems it has been “improved” to many times. We can and should change the curricula to a more functional process.


Had I had children, I would have “no schooled” them, which is to say have appropriate level learning resources at hand at wait for their queries to pry them off of the shelfs (or digital files,…). Walks through the woods, towns, farms along with travel to new places (they wouldn’t have to be far nor exotic) would go a helluva way to fomenting curiosity. There are socialization opportunities that exist beyond schools to fulfill such needs. Oh, and there lunches would be much, much better–and part of their education. To graduate, I would have made them feed me like a king. (When talk of revolution rumbled among them, they would conveniently have been pronounced “graduated”.)


I hope all that walking and talking would have been after learning how to read, write and do basic math. Other wise good luck finding a decent job.

Most humans are content to do nothing and wait for stuff to fall out of the sky (kinda like that manna in the bible i guess). So unless your kids would have been the exception, they’ll never ask what all those little black bugs are around the images and videos on Youtube or Facebook.