The Freedom Paradox
by Geoff Broughton, Colorado Tenth Amendment Center
There is a line from a pop song that goes, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”, but is that Freedom? Is it the ability to do whatever you want to do? “If it feels good, do it?” Is that Freedom? I think before we agree to fight for it, we should agree what it is we are fighting for so we can decide if it is worth it. In other words, what are you willing to sacrifice to secure it, not only for yourself, but for future generations?
The leaders of the movement that led to our founding were made up of successful financially secure people who risked everything for liberty. The World War II generation sacrificed personal ambition for the idea of freedom. I think that same sentiment is in us today. For example, while doing some precinct walking I talked to a woman whose husband works for the city. While talking about the different candidates she lowered her voice and pointed to her neighbors “Vote no on 60, 61, and 101” yard sign and said in a hushed tone, we are voting yes on those, even though it may mean my husband would lose his job. On that same measure, I have a friend who works for the government who said the same thing. These people equate tax relief to freedom, and are willing to risk their livelihood for it.
Would any of the above have sacrificed anything for “if it feels good, do it?” I don’t think so. I believe that what all of those people wanted was the ability to self-govern. Reading the words of the founders and you will find references such as:
“But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint… Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites.”
“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 is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” John Adams
But today, any time morals are brought up; people immediately jump to their views on the “social” issues of the day as if these issues defined morality. How about greed, unchecked ambitions, integrity, aren’t these the moral issues that have had such a profound effect on our society? Take the on-going housing crises, when you really look at it, its roots are found in ambitious politicians passing laws to force banks to make loans to people who couldn’t pay them back, greedy banks using government guarantees on those loans to bundle bad loans into securities and selling them as derivatives, none of which would have mattered if people would have had a little integrity and not taken out a loan they could not pay back because they thought they would be able to resell the home in a year or two for a quick buck.
So today, while all three of these groups who brought this mess on us point fingers of blame at each other, the average American is waking up to the fact that there is a problem, and something is very wrong. We know instinctively that something has been lost, and that we have to accept not only our own culpability in this crisis, but the burden of getting it back. Freedom will not be won by quibbling over whatever wedge issues are put before us to divide us; it will only be regained when “we the people” restore the true meaning of the words “freedom” and “liberty”. For only then will we be willing to sacrifice our material comforts to win it back for ourselves and our posterity. Freedom is not “nothing left to lose”, it is not self-indulgence and it is not “free”.
I joined the Tenth Amendment Center last year because I believe there is no hope to be found in Washington DC, even if the Tea Party candidates get elected, the reform will be slow if at all, as each one will have to choose between being a “gadfly” or going native and trying to sell the art of “compromise” to their soon to be bewildered base as they explain “this is how it’s done” while defending a bad bill they voted for. How many of these new activist will stay determined to work the system after the certain betrayal of at least of few of the new politicians who sell out for power. I may be cynical, but it’s only because I remember the “Contract with America” in 1994, and how the Demacrats wailed and gnashed their teeth over the Patriot Act in 2005 only to vote to continue it in 2009, or maybe it was after I listened to a surprisingly honest Tom Tancredo as he talked about the tactics GOP party leaders used on Republican law makers to tow the party line with the Medicaid D vote.
The Tenth Amendment Center takes the fight to a more local level, our State House District and Senators, and although there is pressure from above put on these politicians as well, our opportunity to engage these people is much higher. While passing out fliers at the Health Freedom Rally, I talked to State Senator Greg Brophy who told me thank you for being active, and asked that we continue to put the pressure on if the Republicans took the Assembly in the upcoming election. He understands these problems are not a partisan issue. And while I believe there are some real leaders in the State Senate,I agree with Joseph Farah who wrote in. “The Tea Party Manifesto”
“What conservative activists need to understand – because they are good people who need to be involved in the constructive process of moving the Country forward – is that politicians follow; they do not lead.”
You see it is “we the people”, who have been more concerned with getting our piece of the pie then fulfilling our moral obligation of passing true freedom to the next generation, who will need to carry the load of getting us back on track. We cannot wait for a Political Hero to swoop in and save us from ourselves. In Colorado, that means supporting the minority of State legislators who share our vision of America and give them the courage to use the principles of 98 to interpose the Sovereign State of Colorado between an out of control Federal Government and its freedom loving citizens. We need to understand how difficult it will be and that things may get worse before they get better, but have the courage of our convictions that we should bear the burdens of our own inequities instead of passing them to the next generation.
History will tell future generations if we were up to the task at hand, if were willing to pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. Look yourself in the mirror and instead of asking what you “can” do, ask what you “will” do. What sacrifices are you willing to make to secure freedom not only for yourself, but for your posterity?
Geoff Broughton [send him email] is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Colorado Tenth Amendment Center
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