Tuesday, March 11, 2014

America founded on liberty

America founded on liberty

(My Clovis News Journal column for February 7, 2014)

How much do you love your freedom, and what are you willing to do for liberty?

Freedom, to me, is simply doing whatever you want to do. It can be good or bad, depending on your character, but is often neutral.

Liberty, though, is the freedom to do absolutely anything which doesn't violate another person's equal and identical liberty. Liberty - Thomas Jefferson called it "rightful liberty"- is what America was founded in order to protect and promote. Nothing more or less. No rules or laws can legitimately violate that.

Do you love liberty enough to let people make their own mistakes and deal with the consequences?

I do.

I love liberty so much that I am willing to not interfere in other people's lives with the expectation they will do the same for me. Even if I don't like a behavior, as long as no one is being forced to participate, and no third party is being harmed, I will swallow my annoyance, however great it may be, and mind my own business.

On the other hand, I love liberty enough to speak up when people are doing things which have popular support, but which do harm a third party. I am willing to stick my neck out and take the slings and arrows of those who are desperate to justify the wrongs they wish to commit with a numbed conscience, in person or by proxy. I speak up even when the violations don't directly affect me at all. It may not be the path to popularity, but it's the right thing to do.

There is no other way to protect liberty. You can't limit freedom or violate liberty, or support those who do, while giving those noble concepts lip-service, without being a hypocrite. Yet, I see it every day. Almost no one will point out the Emperor has no clothes, no emperor deserves to be worshiped or obeyed, and he isn't even an emperor to begin with. I'm not speaking only of any current Imperial Personage, but any who believe they hold such power and authority.

How much to you value freedom and liberty? Enough to put your love into action even when it makes you uncomfortable? Enough to sacrifice your personal wishes for what's right? It shouldn't even be seen as a "sacrifice" to stay out of other people's business, but for too many, it is not only a sacrifice; it's such a costly one they can't bring themselves to do it. Liberty is what ends up sacrificed on the altar of those anti-liberty, non-consensual collective actions that have wide popular support.


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