What is it that stirs in the wind? What is it that stirs in the heart of man since evermore? It’s an intangible, and yet forever real in its elusiveness. It feeds dreams and conquers fears, and provides hope where hope there is not. Like a beacon on the rock in the midst of a storm, it holds strong when all else yields. It braces when all else bends. What is this thing called freedom for which millions yearn and for which there is no substitute?
“I know not what others may choose but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death,” expounded former Virginia Governor Patrick Henry (1736-1799) on March 23rd, 1775 in a speech advocating the creation of a voluntary militia to fight the British during the American fight for independence.
Freedom, it’s that burning desire that drives men to fight for causes greater than themselves, and not rest until it’s delivered the day. Peace is never an alternative where there is no freedom. We may fall into servitude and we may fall into slavery, but so long as the flame of freedom burns within, then time is the ally that will wrest us from the chains of submission.
In our contemporary age of endless rights, there is no right greater than the right to be free. It and it alone, is humankind’s single true right. Freedom does not demand of others, but demands of oneself. It doesn’t seek to control, but seeks to live. It’s neither manipulation nor coercion, but the right to live life without interference and without hindrance; its preciousness is without parallel.
Then there are those, under the guise of altruism, who solicit themselves into the lives of others. They know “better” and with their “helpful” hand will make all things “sunny”. We must graciously thank them as they come armed smiling with dollars (usually other people’s money) and empty platitudes of a promised utopia. Their aim is not one of independence and freedom, but one of dependence and reliance, and it’s here that freedom faces its most dangerous challenge.
With each subsidy, with each grant, and with each government program, freedom dies a slow death. When we become accustomed to having others “look out” for us, we embark upon, at our own peril, a slippery slope into which there is no return. Not unlike a well-kept zoo animal returned to the wild, we become frightened and fearful when we must fend for ourselves. With our spirit of freedom and self-responsibility corrupted by “do-gooders”, we become lost without them and cry for their return (see Surrender Self-Responsibility, and Surrender Freedom). And with their goal achieved, they bask in their new-found power and self-righteous sanctimony. After all, being “above average” they know what’s best for the “common” folk.
So whether we celebrate Canada Day or U.S. Independence Day, let us not take our freedom for granted, lest it slowly be chiseled away. And let us always stand on guard to those that would have it otherwise, and with that, let us always remember the timeless quote of Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke (1729-1797): “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Freedom, there is no substitute…
Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day to all my readers!
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