Freedom Comes From Something

Freedom doesn’t happen just because someone else thinks it should. Look at Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Plenty of people think those countries should be free, and are even willing to use the force to back it up — but how well are they doing? The same goes for many countries in Africa. And look at poor Russia, freed from the chains of the old Soviet Union only to be run by their own version of the Mafia. And then there’s the United States. The country was started and for a long time flourished because the majority of people wanted to be free — indeed, demanded to be free and wouldn’t have it any other way. Today, at least a third of the country is firmly committed to socialism (they won’t call it that, but that’s what it is). Another third are confused and change their mind from one week to the next, and another third probably want to be free. But the demand for freedom — and its achievement — has to come from something. The founders of the U.S. wrote about the spirit moving the “hearts and the minds of the people.” They weren’t talking about mysticism or religion. They were talking about a ‘can do’ attitude, a yearning among the great majority of individuals to be free of government tyranny so that they could do what they wanted to improve their lives. There’s still a lot of that in America today, and there’s still a lot of that in the human spirit. But it’s floundering. The awful little creatures we have elected into office — and nearly everyone knows they’re just terrible — are symptoms, not causes. They can and are doing much damage, but can you imagine these petty dictators having any influence in a time and place where the great majority were just bursting with angry energy, a desire to achieve and to therefore be free? Another problem today is envy. Instead of wanting the best and the brightest to be free to flourish, accomplish and make money, probably about half the country resents them and wants them hampered in their efforts. To them, it feels good to see the successful brought down a notch. And what does this accomplish, exactly? These attitudes are not the emotions and viewpoints of a nation that will be free. If America is to reverse course in its political policies, it will first have to reverse course in the prevailing attitude. The ‘can’t do’ or ‘someone must do for me’ attitude has to give way to an embracing of life, an ambitious psychology and the personal self-responsibility that goes along with it. If Americans want to remain free, they must first learn how to live.