Liberty - It's Communicable
9/19/1999 and 4/22/2005

Liberty - It's Communicable
Originally published September 19, 1999, Republished April 22, 2005 | By Jeff Head

What is Liberty?

Well,in my opinion, in the context of American liberty, here's an answer....

Liberty is freedom from encumberance in an environment where the unalienable rights of mankind are both recognized and respected and where individual "Free Will" bounded by fundamental moral principle is the avenue for interaction in society .

That's a lot of pretty words that basically say that if a people are to be free, they and their government have to recognize and respect the God-given rights of others and be moral. In fact, liberty can not coexist with widespread individual, or institutional immorality. Immorality places an individual's, or a group's, wishes, lusts, cravings, passions or beliefs above the unalienable rights of others. When this occurs, unalienable rights are infringed and liberty is lost.

Liberty can also not exist where moral choice is compelled and individual Free Will is destroyed. Again, the result is that unalienable rights are infringed and liberty is lost

Either of these negative conditions, rampant immorality or rampant compulsion of moral choice, lead directly to tyranny. On one hand as society breaks down and individuals infringe on one another's rights tyranny rushes in to "restore order". On the other hand, or as a result of the first, the infringement is institutionalized as the "government" compels people in their individual choices. You decide how close we are to one or the other today.

The American path to stable, lasting liberty, which has maintained for well over two hundred years and been the beacon of liberty for the entire world, correctly enumerates all of the following unallienable rights :
- Life
- Liberty (meaning free will)
- The pursuit of happiness (meaning a livelihood and personal property deriving therefrom)
- Free speech
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom of association
- Freedom of Assembly
- Petition and Redress of Elected or Appointed Officials
- Self defense (firearms ownership)
- Secure in person and belongings
- Justice (meaning probable cause, trial by jury or peers, facing accusers, etc.)
There are others that are left to the individual states and the people. All of them derive from the Creator and are our natural rights as soveriegn individuals and are only enumerated in our Declaration of Independence and our Bill of Rights in the US Constitution.

That our unalienable rights are enumerated by the Constitution and not bequeathed is a critical point in this understanding, as is the fact that morality and individual Free Will are inexorably tied to the exercise of those unalienable rights. These are facts that MUST be taught to all Americans, from the youngest years on, if there is any hope for society to understand and equitably exercise their unalienable rights and their liberty.

This education then, must be the object of our most strenuous efforts. Without this knowledge, we as a people will drift far afield from true liberty, and will ultimately fall victim to demigogs, tyrants, populists and our own material cravings and other passions. Therefore, that we should waiste and wear out ourselves in such a worthy effort in bringing to light this knowledge that our enemies continue to go to any length to hide and prevent.

When individuals understand that they were meant to be free to act in accordance with their own consciense and only within the confines of another's rights, the feeling is at once exciting and contagious. It opens a vista to a world of opportunity and to the accompanying accountablility for their own actions. This accountability becomes the great governor in a society where individuals prefer to therby govern themselves as opposed to being governd by an all inclusive, overburdensome government. Such a society, where these truths of liberty are understood, develops and maintains a government whose primary purpose is to :
1) Protect the borders from outside invaders who would rob the people of their liberty and all the fruits of their labors.
2) To insure that any infringement on the unalienable rights of others is brought to justice, as provided for in the enumeration of those rights.
3) To provide for equitable commerce between the states.
Folks, this is Liberty ... this is what our founders envisioned and what our nation has lived out for most of its history. This knowledge is communicable and is the great antidote to our modern ills ... from cries for gun control, to social welfare systems, to intrusive taxes to rampant immorality. Some of the greatest comments on these topics were provided by our founders ... our initial great communicators. Let's punctuate this article with their words and communications on the topic, and let's catch that "communcable" spirit that they felt :
Quotes from the Founders of this Republic on Liberty

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."- John Adams, Oct. 11, 1798 Address to the military
"Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private virtue, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics." John Adams
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."- Thomas Jefferson
"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms ... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants," Thomas Jefferson.
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."- James Madison
"We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."- James Madison
"A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security." - Samuel Adams
"[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen onto any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man." Samuel Adams
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom...go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels nor arms. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."- Samuel Adams
"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."- William Penn
"Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles." Patrick Henry
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined," Patrick Henry.
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated."- Thomas Paine; 1776
"[I]f we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity." Daniel Webster
"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety," Benjamin Franklin.
"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain blessings. Much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The Great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far to forsake us in the midst of it. We may, now and then, get bewildered; but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path. " - George Washington

These men knew human nature, the human heart and the intricacies of individual and group dynamics. With all else that has changed in the intervening years, these principles and truths have not changed, and neither have the applicability of their words and teachings.

Let us therefore go forth and spread these truths and these principles abroad in our land. Such principle are forgotten, discarded and walked on at the peril of us all. Let us educate those around us as to the true underpinnings of our liberties, and let us be prepared to face direct and head-on with these truths, those individuals and institutions who would subvert and destroy our liberties and way of life.

If we do not unflinchingly face them with truth and principle now, and if we do not endeavor to pass these truths on to those around us ... the time will come, as surely as night follows day, and as surely as our founders faced the same, when our liberty faces so grave a threat that we will be compelled to defeat the resulting tyranny (either internal or exterenal) by nothing short of force of arms.

Here's a GREAT few thoughts on our laws and how they should be fashioned from Frederick Bastiat (1850) in his famous pamphlet :
The existence of persons and property preceded the existence of the legislator, and his function is only to guarantee their safety.

It is not true that the function of law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents, or our pleasures. The function of law is to protect the free excercise of these rights, and to prevent any person from interfering with the free exercise of these rights by any other person.

Since law necessarily requires the support of force, its lawful domain is only in the areas where the use of force is necessary. This is justice.

Every individual has the right to use force for lawful self-defense. It is for this reason that the collective force - which is only the organized combination of the individual forces - may lawfully be used for the same purpose; and it cannot be used legitimately for any other purpose.

Law is soley the organization of the individual right of self-defense which existed before law was formalized. Law is justice.
If today, our lawmakers were interested in restoring this nation to its greatness, they would catch the vision that this land was established for soveriegn individuals, operating within the environment addressed by this essay, to govern themselves, not be governed by thousands of laws, regulations and agencies sent forth to harass the citizens and increase the power and prestige of lawmakers who ought rather to be the servants of the citizens.

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