“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” ~ Ronald Reagan, from his first inaugural speech as governor of California, January 5, 1967
This gem of wisdom from former president Reagan is particularly apropos currently as Americans celebrate Independence Day. The tendency is to think of freedom only in terms of attaining and maintaining it through the trials and tribulations of war. This was the tool of necessity – certainly not the weapon of choice – that was used to form the United States. Blood was shed as the seed…the nation germinated and grew from it.
Freedom for the nation as a whole was threatened by the secession-states in 1861. Whereas the nation was declared on 04 July 1776, it was re-declared both symbolically and substantively 04-06 July 1863 at Gettysburg exactly 87 years later, with respect to the shedding of blood. The war that developed as a result of the former was long and bloody. So was the war vis-à-vis the latter, of which Gettysburg was but one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles. When this writer was born, there were a number of Civil War veterans still alive. To him, therefore, that victory has a unique meaning, especially since his great-grandfather and two great-uncles, all immigrants born in England, fought in the Union Army.
Freedom, however, can be lost un-militarily and it is this fact that should concern the nation currently. This has to do with Reagan’s observation that freedom is a “fragile thing.” Even now, when both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were/are little more to today’s youngsters than stuff in history books, young people will fight and die for what they have – fragile freedom saved through the shedding of blood. They know the good life, especially as compared to the lives of people in other countries.
The present danger to freedom is not susceptible to military action. It’s the danger that either creeps or quickly strikes from within. In his 2008 campaign, President Obama spoke of the need to rewrite the Constitution in order to provide for the redistribution of wealth, i.e., taking possessions from one person and giving them to another, in this case probably through taxation. He also spoke of the need for a national police force, reminding those old enough to remember of Hitler’s Gestapo and Stalin’s KGB. This represents two dangers to freedom – denial of ownership and the force to make it stick.
In 2008, the president said he intended to make electricity rates “skyrocket” and that he would see to it that those who presumed to build coal-fired generators would be bankrupted. The House, with no member having read the bill that would make this happen, went along with its approval of the cap/trade legislation but the Senate won’t touch it for good reason. So, the president, through his czars/regulators, is attempting to make it happen administratively. The president claims his action is to protect the climate from manmade warming, but by now everyone knows that manmade global warming is a hoax, so the president’s agenda seems to be the sinking of the economy through pricing power, its providers and its users out of the market. To what end? Total control of the population!
The president’s healthcare bill, also unread by legislators, was passed through the browbeating of legislators and finally through outright subterfuge involving Congressional parliamentary maneuvers. It’s common knowledge now that this unbelievably expensive program represents the government’s attempt at total control of its people through its bureaucracy making all medical decisions, thus stealing the freedom of life itself – perhaps the most telling one – from the citizenry.
Obama has surrounded himself with perhaps 35-40 “czars” who are responsible only to him and whose collective job is to regulate everything and everybody to an extent designed to usurp individual freedom – the saving of people from themselves. The fact that this is happening is proof that freedom is what Reagan said it is – fragile. The eroding of freedom eventuating in Socialism – the welfare state – has been creeping-up on the citizenry for some time but is now quickening its pace. Is the nation about to lose its freedom…forever, as Reagan said would be the case if and when it is lost?