Liberty, freedom, guaranteed rights, free market capitalism…. Does not our national anthem declare us the land of the free? Is it not often avowed, by us, that we are the freest earthly nation? In measuring what counts, what enables or hinders economic and human freedom, our flag no longer flies atop the mountain.
“the end of law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.” John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (1690) (Hackett Classics)
John Locke was one of the most influential philosophers studied by our founders. His thoughts pepper our founding documents. His quote captures the reason we are no longer the gold standard for freedom.
…not to abolish or restrain… All you need do is listen to prevailing political and social debate. There is always a faction wanting to abolish what is important, our Constitution or significant portions of it. The Constitution is the law of our land. The document preserving and guaranteeing our freedom. Oh, but it’s antiquated goes the argument. Written for another time. The principles of freedom and limited government do not change with time. What changes with time is the socialist, globalist influence of the uber wealthy and politicians they own. What changes with time are teachers and professors who prefer ideological indoctrination to education and teaching critical thinking. Pick any one from the Bill of Rights and you will find arguments for ridding ourselves of it or restraining its practice by the citizenry. Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; the right to keep and bear arms; rights to life, liberty and property; other rights kept by the people; undelegated powers kept by the states and the people – just to name a few.
Read W. Cleon Skousen’s, The Campaign to Abolish the Constitution, while you ask where is the national push to preserve and enlarge freedom? But do not despair. President Trump has made significant strides in government deregulation and reducing the tax burden that is returning to us some economic freedom. Maybe he recalled President Reagan’s thought on how the government restrains economic freedom: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, Nothin’ ain’t nothin, but it’s free.” Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobby McGee
Kristofferson is one of the most prolific song writers of our time. He’s an Oxford Rhodes scholar, an Army Veteran Airborne, Ranger, Helicopter pilot. He accomplished all of that before he decided to pursue an incredibly successful music career. For all of the great lyrics he’s written, quoted above is my favorite. In the past I’ve spent time pondering it and have quoted it more than once whenever I am writing about our freedom. If you place it in the context of the song, when Bobby left (Bobby was a lady) him, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’s left was all she left to me”, all he had left was his freedom.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor and author, Man’s Search for Meaning.
I suppose that could be a sad situation. When you have no possessions, no attachments, no relationships or commitments you are free. Free to go and do as you please. But, I prefer to look at it differently. If everything is taken from you, you still have freedom. Freedom of thought, freedom to choose your own way, and freedom to choose your attitude. With that also comes the freedom to wallow in hopelessness and self-pity. And the freedom to understand that The Spirit of Freedom is the foundation of our country.
Freedom is often restrained by government, but government can only take freedom to the extent that we forfeit it. Freedom is a human birthright although much of the world’s population is not free. Just look at the UK’s Tommy Robinson incident. It is a total suppression of free speech and of the press. The British people, by allowing this to stand, have forfeited any illusion of free speech or free press. Our founders accepted this human birthright and enshrined it in our Constitution.
As I wrote in The Spirit of Freedom:
“The cornerstone of our nation’s foundation is trust in God and God given freedom. Preserved on this foundation is our most enduring principle. We arrive in this life as free men with unalienable rights, blessed by God, and equipped with the ability to reason, choose and distinguish right from wrong and good from evil. God instilled that spirit of freedom in the hearts of all men, not just those who were fortunate to have been born American. Being born in the world’s freest nation is indeed a blessing but being born here does not ensure freedom.
The gift of freedom and the blessing of life in the United States of America obligate us to defend the one place on this earth founded on the principles of trust in God and God given freedom. Allowing men to be the givers of freedom will crush the rock on which our nation stands. We must protect the foundation that lights the one true pathway of hope for the un-free world.”
© 2018 J. D. Pendry J. D. Pendry’s American Journal