By R.J. Godlewski
© February 23, 2012, All Rights Reserved
“‟What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, „Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.‟ He said in reply, „I will not,‟ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, „Yes, sir,‟ but did not go. Which of the two did his father‟s will?”
Matthew 21:28-31 New American Bible
Indeed, what is your opinion of freedom? Do you want to say whatever you want? Or would you prefer to do anything that you want? The first action can get us into deep trouble. The second can cost us very much indeed. The first son said what was on his mind, but upon reflection did what was required of him by his lot within life. The second son said what his father wanted to hear, but chose to ignore doing what was required of him instead. Words can never harm us, but actions separate us from our peers and cast our true thoughts into the world for all to see and witness.
Consider the life and Crucifixion of Jesus. As long as he spoke parables and taught his followers, his life was not in any mortal danger. However, as soon as he began to heal people and raise the dead, his life became an affront to the ruling authorities. His words served to irritate, but Christ‟s actions served to disrupt the collective status quo. Thus, nobody cares much about what you think or say, but when the time comes to pay the piper and actually “do”, you have cashed your check for payment of life and the debt for existence becomes due.
How often we modern humans consider that “freedom” means the ability to do whatever we please and without recompense for our actions. This is not freedom, but addictive libertarianism. Our founding fathers understood intimately that King George III‟s reaction to their Declaration of Independence would not be a hearty, “That‟s a good one! Now get back to work!” No, the colonists understood that they were treading upon uncharted waters and at least one was ready to sacrifice his life for the effort. They all realized that signing the Declaration mattered very little if they were not prepared to defend it with their own blood if need be. Similarly, did the Southern Confederacy expect President Lincoln to send them a fruit basket and declare, “Well, it was fun knowing you! Don‟t let the door of the Union hit you on the backside on the way out!” Of course not. In fact, they fired the first shot of the American Civil War attesting to the sincerity – if not necessarily legitimacy – of their thoughts.
Do you believe that tyrants necessarily care what their citizens think? Not nearly as much as you would suppose. All across Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and throughout Asia, independent minded people have voiced their thoughts and opinions for centuries. The onslaught of government crackdowns, such as in Budapest (1956) and Tiananmen Square (1989), come about when freely speaking citizens turn to overt actions in their quest to distinguish themselves from the sheep. We are witnessing a similar occurrence today when the Barack Obama presidency, understanding that it cannot silence Christian thought and prayers in private, has decided to launch its war against the faithful through denying Christian action in public.
I am forever reminded of the stories my paternal grandmother told me of the efforts the Russians employed to silence Catholic worship in occupied Poland. Much the same narrative rests within the United States today. The „state‟ is far more powerful than God is – or so the ruling classes think. I would not be a proud Roman Catholic today had not my grandmother‟s family heroically subverted the Russians‟ intent and make it to Mass crawling through the sewers and backstreets of heavily guarded cities. No wonder Poland was the first nation to bore a hole into the Iron Curtain. Free people do not speak softly nor do they carry a puny stick.
Free people, however, can lose the spark of liberty if they separate the intent from the will. By diminishing the cost – or, at a minimum the debt incurred – of liberty they often expect to enjoy all liberties without care. If you free someone, for instance, from the constraints of his or her mortgage, they will no longer understand the value of home ownership. Such a person will proceed into life not caring about the immense privilege of savoring one‟s own plot within life or, at least, would not live without that little voice beckoning in their consciousness about making amends at some point in the future. Such a person simply wanted the McMansion without proceeding to the cash register.
Much can be made to ridicule the earliest colonists arriving onto what is now known as the New England region of the United States. These people paid for their freedom with seven years‟ wages – comparable to three-quarters of a million dollars today for many. The immigrants arriving during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries paid for their freedom with hard work, aspiring assimilation, and deeply held respect for their adoptive land. How many new arrivals today want easy access to liberties without the payment required of them? They shed not their old laws nor accept the presence of „new‟ ideas. They want freedom but deny others‟ the same right.
Still others – long born into this nation – refuse to accept that their freedoms may run contrary to the moral code on which countless generations had established to keep freedom sound and functional. They want their freedom to come at the expense of others‟ efforts. More appropriately, they want freedom without the assurances that their concept of liberty is authentic and capable of survival. Freedom, as in all human endeavors, remains a deeply competitive function and, as such, falls to the „Survival of the fittest‟ doctrine that guides civilization as a whole. For instance, grant complete freedom to an island of 1000 homosexuals and do not interrupt them for about 100 years. Will their freedom assure themselves of a future? No, they will not survive unless “someone” vacates their defining characteristic. As such, homosexuals retain freedom based upon his or her status as a human individual and not because of their choice of action.
In a less controversial narrative, can an individual aspire to the „freedom‟ of driving an automobile without sufficient experience or training? Can a free individual broach the integrity of the White House without invitation or employment? Certainly, individuals have driven an automobile without license or knowledge and, yes, individuals have broached the White House without either invitation or employment (one light airplane and two gatecrashers come to mind), but these particular individuals achieved their objectives by determined action. They suffered the consequences of their methods and thus paid the price – they matched their thoughts with the will necessary to pull it off.
Someone once said that, unlike the wealthy, no one ever became a criminal through happenstance. We may inherit a fortune or luck upon winning lottery numbers but no one ever entered a life of crime without conscious thought. At least there are plenty of opportunities for criminals to reflect upon their ways vis a vis the rest of society. Inasmuch as an individual cannot swim through water without creating waves, libertarians cannot live through society without causing equally disruptive palpitations. Hence, freedom, in its modern connotation, and free will (freedom‟s historical definition) represent too entirely different subjects.
Freedom – in the revolutionary American sense – implies that an individual was smart enough to govern his or her own life. Sadly, however, Progressivism has tainted both the concept of freedom and the implications for the human individual. No longer does it seem that freedom balances upon the pivot point of either glorification or damnation. Instead, freedom today holds no boundaries or limitations upon the conscience whatsoever. By absolving the individual from his or her duty to understand what was once holy, legal, or legitimate; the Progressive movement declared that only the government could decide what was classified as each. You see this today when modern progressives try to declare that the founding fathers of this nation were, in actuality, progressives. They were most emphatically not; Progressivism was invented in the early twentieth century – during the same period that saw the invention of personal income taxes.
The founding fathers were nationalists. They realized first that the nation would not be free without unified effort and secondly that confederacies did not work as well as republics did. Freedom did not grant them a nation of individuals, but individuals of a nation. The Constitution assured them of a representative government that listened to their concerns and the government understood that the Bill of Rights kept the citizens from forcibly removing them from office. In the words of business negotiation – the U.S. Constitution remains a win-win situation.
Libertarians and progressives remain instruments of destruction for the Constitution. The former seek to diminish laws en masse whereas the latter seek to enslave the population to the whims of elitists. Their efforts remain either one of anarchy or tyranny. Neither has in its future the security of the nation or of its governing Constitution. Both, too, rest upon deceiving the population. Yes, it is nice, for some, to imagine a world where his or her actions do not require much reflection beyond whether we enjoy the activity or not. And who does not dream of a day where nobody will tell us how to live or what to do? Others may find it comforting in the knowledge that “someone else” is responsible for their care and upkeep. Who amongst us has not thought, at least briefly, “Why can‟t someone else do it?” Fortunately, freedom is not about tearing down, but about building.
Few care to own a troubled car or spend time at a dilapidated school. Fewer still wish to remain fans of a losing team or work at an employer who is laying off workers. The same holds true with society and the governing bodies that guide them. Libertarians want freedom until their freedom is under attack from the outside world and then they want a strong central government to provide a responsive military. Progressives want an omnipotent federal government until such a system fails to generate revenue and then they want free market economy to pick up the tax slack. America‟s founders long since developed a solution to both problems but, again, modern citizens fail to appreciate the cost for such a system: personal integrity and responsibility.
Freedom is not a lifestyle; it represents a shield of armor that we surround our souls with and, like any uniform, identifies our allegiance for the entire world to see. Freedom is thus „something” that distinguishes us from the masses, illustrates our commitment and effort, and glorifies our reputation amongst the lacking, the disinterested, and the misguided. Freedom, above all else, is both earned and on loan. Those who fought for its existence often paid for it with their lives and those yet to come have loaned us the privilege of passing the torch on to them. Progressivism and libertarianism represent self-centered ideologies of varying levels of hostility towards the cost and/or implications of the past and future of our nation. One robs us of our soul. The other liquidates our mind. I will let you decide which does what...
Freedom represents a concept that remains indecipherable in its power. Far from merely being a metaphysical state of mind, freedom is literally carved into the individual‟s heart and that person‟s “blood” flows out for the entire world to see. It manifested itself in the spirit of those who danced upon the Berlin Wall and singularly held a line of communist tanks in Tiananmen. Freedom comes as quietly as a newlywed couple kissing within their very first home or as loudly as a shot heard around the world. Freedom is not weak because the human spirit that it empowers is not weak.
What freedom is not is free. Nor is freedom blind. It seeks out those who appreciate its value and adhere to its requirements and rails against those who attempt to either limit its presence or hijack its intent. Freedom has never been a get out of jail card. It is the dog tag of universal liberty for it acknowledges the name, faith, and blood of the bearer. Without it, people are simply insurgents seeking to topple whatever institution they find least attractive. In doing so, the masses do not experience freedom, but anarchy and chaos. Freedom does not destroy, belittle, subvert, or euthanize. Freedom marches – and it cannot be stopped by any selfish ideology.
PASS THIS DOCUMENT AROUND AND PRAY FOR AMERICA‟S FUTURE
May your heart be pure, may your heart be accurate, and may your heart be strong.
(read the above article pdf here http://www.rjgodlewski.com/OnFreedomByRJGodlewskiBASISFORASTRONGNATION2012e.pdf)