4th of July Meditation
by Franklin Sanders
I don’t use the word “freedom” much any more, but “self-government.” Most people think “freedom” means licentiousness, the liberty to do any thing you please. It doesn’t. The man who is a slave to his passions is no freer than the man who is a slave to a salt mine — in fact less so, because his slavemaster doesn’t need chains & whip.
We are only free to do what we have a moral right to do, no more. Substitute licentiousness & rebellion & anarchy for that, and you have, well, something that looks like the USA today.
Another thing: no man and certainly no constitution, “grants” or “protects” your rights. You have no rights unless you as a “belligerent claimant in person” ENFORCE those rights. That is part of the “self” in self-government. If you won’t fight, you aren’t free, and your children surely won’t be.
Thus the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, after they had made their case against George III & declared the independence of their sovereign states, ended with this warrant:
“With a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
If you aren’t willing to pledge the same, NOT when the mob is clamouring for war & patriotism is cheap, but when most of the country opposes the law and the truth, and then stake everything on maintaining your rights, you aren’t free, and never will be. When those men signed that Declaration, less than 25% of the country wanted secession and independence, and that number fell sharply when the British troops landed.
Finally, the signers knew there is only one guarantor of liberty. As the Swiss philosopher Henri-Frederic Amiel said 75 years later, “If liberty is to be saved, it will not be by the doubters, the men of science, or the materialists; it will be by religious conviction, by the faith of individuals who believe that God wills men to be free but also pure; it will be by the seekers after holiness, by those old- fashioned pious persons who speak of immortality & eternal life, and prefer the soul to the whole world; it will be by the enfranchised children of the ancient faith of the human race.”