Freedom is perhaps the world’s most priceless and rare commodity. Freedom is the power to act, rather than to be acted upon—it is a moral force to sacrifice for. It is chained to rights and duties for protection and safekeeping. It transcends party, platforms, and politics. It is the armor of powerful, determined men and women who seek goodness, the love of old men, the hope of children for the world they will inherit. Freedom is persuasion at its finest, to urge men to their best. It floats as the standard above religious worship, families, communities, states, and nations. It is passion, and to the degree that we lose the passion, we lose the freedom.
Freedom is a way of life. It is the right to be left alone—to succeed, to fail and try again as often as success requires. It is a commitment, a mindset—gritty determination in the face of all odds. Freedom opens the door to invention and creativity. It is the clay from which sovereign, self-reliant individuals from every walk of life form their own destinies. It spawns risks and hardship to become one of life’s greatest teachers—the refiner’s fire personified. It is not for the dependent and spineless.
Freedom comes with a contract: like a mortgage, we keep it when we pay the price it requires. That price is involvement: attention to, understanding of, and protection for the document that gives us freedom—the Constitution of the United States. Many say they will die for freedom, but the greater part is to live for it. It is an investment in our future—in the future of all mankind. While many have sought freedom, few have been free.
Despite its might, freedom is a delicate and tender plant. It can die; it is sensitive to neglect and the manhandling of despots and tyrants. It cannot be ignored or abused for long. It gets nutrition and strength from our attention to it, to become sturdy and vibrant, protective and powerful.
Freedom is the precursor to liberty—the seed by which it grows, the coin with which it is purchased. Of the two, liberty is the greater, as liberty is freedom, rightfully used. With liberty, as the Frenchman Frederic Bastiat said in The Law, we can make full use of our faculties, so long as we do no harm to others. Liberty is freedom bound to agency—the marriage of the two. It is also freedom partnered with morality. While freedom and morality furnish the building materials, liberty is the finished product. The three—freedom, agency, and morality—form an indispensible and inseparable triumvirate. As Jefferson so ably declared, “( R)ightful liberty is unobstructed action (freedom) according to our will (agency), within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others (morality)”.
Liberty is an ethical political framework; the soil from which honest government grows. Constrained by liberty, politicians tell the truth. They uphold the Constitution—both in principle and in letter, to create laws that match constitutional principles. They respect the Founders and bring their intentions into reality. They value the rights and honest needs of every individual in our nation. They take no liberties that are not allowed.
It is liberty that must be preserved. For this reason, we defend freedom and teach morality. Only when together is each possible; separated, neither exists. Freedom without morality becomes a dog-eat-dog existence where none are safe. Each individual, free of moral restraint, becomes an anarchist. Morality without freedom is also impossible. One would be subject to his oppressors, and oppression would be certain, as those attracted by unlimited power never remain honest.
The explanation for our current national woes rests with the principles of freedom, morality, and agency to create liberty. Our God-given rights are being cancelled, our duties are being falsified. If we search for a solution, there is none better than to protect our freedom, strengthen our morality, and use our agency wisely so we can again have liberty.