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Disappearing Freedom

There is an old proverb that says, ”You don’t know what you got till it’s gone”. It seems that over time, humans have a robust inclination to take things for granted. And it’s not until we lose what we have that we realize the value of what we had. And more often than not, unfortunately, what we gave up is impossible to regain. The Revolutionary War was fought by American patriots who believed they could create a better nation and a more efficient government than the one that had limited their individual freedoms in the country from which they came. After winning their independence, they set out to create laws that would limit the participation of the government in people’s lives. In doing so they created a great nation that was unequaled in providing individual freedoms. In World War I and World War II men and women fought to protect those freedoms, and even today soldiers give their lives in a struggle against those who threaten to restrict our individual freedoms and change the American way of life. In countries around the world where there are authoritarian and draconian governments that oppress their citizens, we are seeing protests by the population to unseat those governments and establish a democracy that will provide the kind of freedoms that we enjoy in America today. It is ironic then, that in our own country there is a growing faction that, because of their lack of experience and understanding, are now taking for granted the individual freedoms they enjoy as Americans. They long for the utopian dream of getting everything free. Ready and eager to give up the responsibility for running their own lives, they fight vigorously to voluntarily relinquish those freedoms and surrender those responsibilities to the government. This utopian dream appears as Snow White’s delicious apple hiding the deadly poison inside. Obviously, the root of the problem is ignorance; ignorance of the dangers of too much government control; the dangers of giving up individual freedoms in exchange for freebies and not having to bear the responsibility of making important decisions that impact the community and society; ignorance of the history of political and economic systems that restrict and suppress creativity, innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. But how does one go about fighting ignorance? Ignorance is an individual disease that can only be cured by the individual. Until each and every individual has the desire to seek knowledge and the truth concerning important social issues, society will always suffer from this destructive disease. Lemuel K. Washburn was credited with saying, ”History shows that there is nothing so easy to enslave and nothing so hard to emancipate as ignorance, hence it becomes the double enemy of civilization. By its servility it is the prey of tyranny, and by its credulity it is the foe of enlightenment.”


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