The word Liberty gets thrown around regularly these days. This is, of course, because Liberty is being destroyed now at a faster pace and more thoroughly than at any time in the history of mankind. Technology has given tyrants of today unprecedented ability to enslave people. But do you even really know what Liberty means? What is the essence of Liberty? It isn’t the ability to vote for “the lesser of 2 evils” every four years.
“Liberty is the control of one’s actions free from the arbitrary will or coercion of another.”
It is a personal and individual quality, just as individual rights are. It isn’t a collective trait of a group of people. It follows then that Liberty can only be asserted at an individual level. No one can give you Liberty, it is inherent to humankind. It isn’t something created or granted by a declaration or constitution. Every person is born with the desire to assert their will.
No one can “fight” for your Liberty. The common notion that someone else can “fight for our liberty” is simply illogical. Since every person must assert their Liberty for themselves, the only thing another can do for them is protect them from the consequences of that assertion.
Unfortunately the responsibility of exercising one’s own freedom has been divorced from the inseparable responsibility of accepting the consequences of that exercise. But the fact remains that no one can take away your Liberty unless you agree to give it up.
Living in a tyrannical condition, it is often “unlawful” to criticize the tyranny. But freedom is constrained only if the people are compliant. If one person speaks or acts out they will likely suffer grave consequences. This is the true price of freedom. If all the people speak out, the tyrant loses the power to constrain freedom. The true hero’s are the ones who stand up first for Liberty. The more people that stand for freedom, the easier it becomes for the remainder. But with each successive wave of free people, the farther they are removed from the reality of the cost of their freedom.
I believe the founders of the United States implicitly understood this. They pledged their very lives and fortunes on the acts of exercising their Liberty. They didn’t fight for a flag, or a tradition, they fought for “control of their actions free from the arbitrary will or coercion of another’ – Specifically King George and British bureaucracy. Many of them did indeed lose their lives. Did they purchase or guarantee freedom for you? No, they removed the forces that constrained their freedom in their time. But there are never ending threats to Liberty and it is our responsibility to take action against the enemies of Liberty for our time, at an individual level, regardless of the cost. The longer we wait, the more difficult the struggle will be.