Thursday, April 2, 2009


Freedom is special.

Most of the world's population does not live in freedom.

For the majority of people in the world, the list of things they cannot do is so long, most Americans would be enraged to have to live by it.

In America, however, the list has historically been fairly short.

What has happened, though, is that many...maybe the majority of Americans have the wrong idea about what freedom is.

Many Americans believe freedom means: "I can do and say what I want, when I want, where I want, how I want, to whomever I want."

That's just not true, and it represents one of the basic mis-teachings about freedom.

Forget the old tritisms like: "Your freedom to swing your fist stops where my nose begins" and "You can't yell, 'Fire!' in a crowded theater."

Those may be true, but they represent a part of what constitutes the limits of freedom, not what freedom allows you to do.

Freedom means being allowed to treat each other with dignity and respect.

Freedom means being able to help one another when things get tough, as well as when things aren't tough.

Freedom means being responsible, contributing members of society voluntarily (never mind that President BO would like to change the meaning of making it mandatory and paying for it).

Freedom means having a say in what laws are enacted, then being free to follow those laws (or take appropriate steps to change them, if it is deemed necessary).

Freedom means we can worship as we please, or not worship at all, if that's what we prefer, all without interference from the government.

Freedom means to serve mankind according to the dictates of our own hearts, and not at the requirement of some governing body.

Freedom means to work hard to achieve, and being able to use the rewards of our achievement to better our family and those around us as we see fit.

Freedom means that we protect ourselves and each other from clear and present dangers.

Freedom means working together to accomplish great things.

Freedom also means "rugged individualism," that is: the right to help ourselves to the pursuit of our goals.

Freedom means to remember that we can get whatever we want out of life if we just help enough other people get what they want out of life.

Freedom means "no freebies," but the right to rise as high as our aspirations, ambitions, imaginations and willingness to work will take us.

Freedom means the right to own property.

Freedom means the right to live.

Freedom means that we can plan for our future and for the future of our descendants.

Freedom is precious and does not come cheaply.

Freedom comes through self-sacrifice, hard work and being willing to die for a just cause.

Freedom must be guarded, for there are always those of more charisma than character who would deprive us of it.

Freedom must be defended, for there are always those who hate it and would like to dispose us of it.

As the signers of The Declaration of Independence wrote:

for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

They did.

One of the signers, Francis Lewis, a delegate from New York, lost his home as British soldiers tore it apart. He saw his wife captured and treated with brutality, from which she died. Other signers experienced similar fates. Some lost their lives. Some of their family members lost theirs.

Many lost their fortunes in support of the patriotic cause.

But all of them were true to the promise of loyalty to their country and to each other.

And so must we be, if we are to be free.


sue said...

Joe - I looked for something to add to this, but I couldn't find anything - you said it all perfectly.

Tapline said...

Joe, as usual excellent post....

Susannah said...

Beautiful, beautiful.