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Know Jack #437 Liberty

“…genuine liberty demands of its votaries a quality he (the average man) lacks completely, and that is courage. The man who loves it must be willing to fight for it…Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means the capacity for doing without…the average man doesn’t want to be free. He wants to be safe.” ~ H. L. Menken


Liberty is not for the faint of heart. It is an ugly business that demands constant sacrifice and vigilance. To live free, a person must stand where conscience demands even if it means standing alone. Standing up for liberty, or any principle, requires more than simply holding an opinion. It means to unequivocally state your opinion while accepting whatever consequences may result from doing so.


Liberty that does not grant the same freedom to those with whom we disagree is not liberty at all. It is hypocrisy. Liberty is the practical application of the principle of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. In this way, liberty recognizes the personal worth of others and sees them as equals.


It should be clear from human history that liberty is not the natural state of humanity. Like light, liberty must be initiated and maintained to overcome darkness. Those who value liberty have left hearth and home, borne the hardships of nature and battle, and surrendered their lives rather than see the light go out.


The question is not whether we should fight for our liberty, but when and where do we draw the line that declares “this far and no more”? There are no small or unimportant intrusions on liberty. Every freedom surrendered; every concession made, is liberty lost. Liberty that can only be redeemed by blood.


Liberty is more than some political idea or system. It is more than a good idea. It is at the root of our humanity, a divine grant inherent in our design. Rousseau was correct, we are born free. If we are also everywhere in chains, they are bonds of our own making. They are the chains of a craven desire for safety forged in our own hearts.


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