Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th, 2007 -
What Is Liberty And Freedom?

For twelve generations this nation has continued to be the optimistic "city on a hill" that has inspired freedom loving souls from all over planet earth. At an earlier time of civil war, a time when our people almost lost the unity that has mostly prevailed during the twelve generations of our existence, one of the great adherents to the dream that is America spoke on a battlefield during the conflict that tore at the soul of that vision, of the "great task." That "great task" was to defend a unique system that at its heart is optimistic defense of freedom and liberty for all, not just a few. Not even simply freedom for the majority. Freedom for all. Freedom that depends on an acceptance you care as much for the freedom of those with whom you do not always agree as you care for your own freedom.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Freedom and liberty are complex concepts that do not mean the same thing to all people. The brilliant forefathers of our nation Abraham Lincoln honored with his great speech started a new form of government and the great task referred to by Lincoln in his address was to keep that new form of government alive. Many current Americans cannot understand why Abraham Lincoln was so inspired that he fought that civil war, the bloodiest conflict in our history. Why did Lincoln reject disunity of our great nation so stubbornly? If disunity happened then the great task was ended. Lincoln saw that. Lincoln made as his highest goal keeping that new form of government, our special government, alive. For that great cause the Union had to be preserved.

However disunity of our nation was not the cause of our problems. It was the primary motivations for which disunity was a solution that concern us. The last time our great Republic was at risk of disintegration it was driven by two motivations, slavery and state's rights. Both goals tore at the fabric of the nation that was dedicated to freedom and liberty for all individuals. We must understand what our government is if we are to continue the fight that Lincoln saw as so important.

Slavery was an insult to the concept of liberty and freedom for all. The abolitionist movement was a powerful force that created a new political party whose first President was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and the abolitionists recognized something that has become lost in the clouds of history. Universal acceptance of indivdual freedom is not the norm for mankind's existence. It is rare. It is worth preserving. Abraham Lincoln and the party he helped create were so committed to the concept of freedom and liberty that they were willing to fight a horrible bloody conflict to preserve a unique government system that protected individual rights of freedom and liberty for all first and foremost.

State's rights was also an insult to this concept of freedom for all. Many of the people who claimed to be fighting for the less obviously evil concept of state's rights, were actually adherents of slavery who recognized that defense of slavery was evil. However state's rights was itself evil too. Its adherents, were arguing that a subset of those unified in the great task of individual freedom and liberty could end the unified commitment to those ideals. Abraham Lincoln and the people who backed him found unity in defense of freedom for all to be worth fighting and dying for. They felt that liberty and freedom for all depended on the Union.

Today many think that Abraham Lincoln was a defender of something they call democracy. He was not. Any assessment of the beliefs of the time will find that a head count of those who supported democracy would have also supported splitting the nation. If Lincoln had believed in democracy, he would have sided with the proponents of state's rights. Lincoln's final sentence "that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth", was a commitment to freedom for all, not a commitment to freedom for the majorty. Lincoln led the fight against splitting the nation because he believed freedom and liberty for all was so important that he would ask a huge portion of our nation to die in pursuit of this complex concept. He believed in the great task of freedom for all. Lincoln was an idealist who inspired people to follow him, even when they were not exactly sure what inspired him.

A new form of slavery is now the major risk to our future freedom. This new form of slavery that imperils our nation is called socialism. It is paired with a new form of state's rights, a less obviously evil motivation that is used by most who really are committed to their form of slavery, called socialism. This new form of "state's rights" is called pure democracy. It is an argument for "freedom" for the majority rather than freedom for all. It requires that if the majority votes it, your property and your freedom can be taken by the state.

Those who keep changing our form of government to be more willing to accept the will of the majority, pure democracy, as a power that trumps freedom for all, are assuring the demise of the great task, and the demise of this nation as well.

Those who promote the concept of socialism are willing to accept that economic betterment for some justifies creation of goverment powers that can take wealth from one to give it to another. Such a government will not be a defender of freedom. It will be a government that supports "freedom", or at least power, for the majority of those in government. America was not the first government to discover that. Almost every goverment since mankind invented the concept of government has permitted freedom for some, especially freedom for the majortiy of those in government. Freedom for those in power. Even some modicum of freedom for the majority has usually existed.

This is not the great task our nation took on twelve generations ago, freedom for a lot, or even freedom for most. We are dedicated to something far more beautiful, freedom for all.

On this day when we celebrate the independence that led to a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal . . . . let us not forget the need to fight against the new slavery and the new states's rights. Socialism and Liberty are not compatible. Democracy and Liberty are not compatible.

The question is can liberty and freedom endure? It is your call. Happy Independence Day.


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