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To be free, or not to be free

What is freedom? I pondered this upon hearing of Sebastian Junger’s new book, Freedom, wondering if people had different connotations of what freedom is. It is defined, in part, as: 1) the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint; 2) the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing), and, 3) absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.

I then looked up self-determination, which, to my thinking, goes hand in hand with freedom. It is defined as: 1) the process by which a country determines its own statehood and forms its own allegiances and government, and, 2) the process by which a person controls their own life.

Having grown up in the USA where these concepts are foundational, I’ve taken these principles for granted. There are obvious limits to freedom and self-determination which quickly become apparent when someone’s act impinges upon another’s rights. If I cheat or steal, my act impinges upon the right of the person I cheat or steal from to the enjoyment of their property. This is a basic example of the limit to individual freedom, however, the picture becomes murky where the state is concerned. Soft cheating occurs whenever someone abuses government programs for self-gain. It seems we are being conditioned to accept this form of cheating as trillions of dollars are diverted under COVID relief programs without accountability. Lest I’m labeled cold-hearted, let it be known I believe in helping the truly needy. My husband and I have long supported local and international charities that assist those in highest need. It is upsetting when my free right to the enjoyment of earned property is infringed upon by those who take government-sponsored welfare without true need.

Those who have been historically disadvantaged should be given pathways toward financial independence whether it’s through zero interest loans or educational programs. It’s a mistake—and a form of bigotry—to think all disadvantaged people are hopelessly mired in generational poverty. I know a man who was raised in the ‘hood, in a poor family, surrounded by gangs and unimaginable violence. He is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, a kind and considerate man. I asked him how he was able to move beyond his childhood environment. He said it was the guidance of his grandmother and his mother, their faith in God and their belief that he could be more than the culture he was born into.

Faith, then, cannot be removed from the equation of self-determination and freedom. It moved our founders to declare our liberation from Great Britain. It is powerful and meaningful. It cannot be erased from the hearts of those who hold it. It can be persecuted, shunned, ridiculed, mocked and dismissed. Its power isn’t diminished in the least and it will never be extinguished.

As a nation, we find ourselves at the crux of destroying the liberty to express that faith. It is naive to think this cannot happen; there are elements afoot through the news media, social media, ANTIFA and like groups to stamp out the right to worship as one chooses. These groups have one goal: that the state be worshipped, that the state dictates, that those who declare themselves of superior intellect should have the power to determine what we do, think, and believe. This is what cancel culture is about. This is why social media platforms remove content without regard to truth or integrity, it is why critical race theory is being force-fed across a broad spectrum of organizations under the guise of stamping out racism. It is not about racism, which I find personally disgusting, it is about controlling the minds and lives of people. It is about eliminating our freedoms. WOKE-ism is a huge lie. WOKE-ism is a box of cobras wrapped in pretty paper, dressed in innocence to hide the danger within.

On Memorial Day, we reflect on the men and women who have selflessly served in uniform, giving their lives that we enjoy freedom from tyranny. My husband served; my son-in-law served. It hurts to think their service—and the sacrifice of all those who served and continue to serve in the military—are openly sneered at by the WOKE mob when the WOKE mob couldn’t exist without those very sacrifices. What if Germany and Japan had prevailed in WWII? What if China overtakes this country and we become the new Uighurs of a genocidal campaign?

What about the movement to defund the police? It's unbelievable that this is occurring right under our noses. What is most disturbing about this movement and the news media is the parallels to what happened in Germany pre-WWII. The German news media adapted one narrative to please the political winds of the day. Local police forces were dismantled and reconstructed into a national police force. If you don't believe me, read In The Garden of Beasts, an account of US Ambassador Dodd's term in Germany from 1933 through 1937. A knowledge of history is essential for perspective on what is occurring here today.

Our constitution makes us unique as a nation, despite past failings. It is alarming that the liberty for which so many fought and died is now openly under attack. Freedom is the foremost principal upon which people thrive. A society of free people, without the constraints of tyranny, is able to accomplish great achievements for the betterment of all concerned.

Live free, die free. Enjoy your freedom as you have your Memorial Day barbecue. It might be gone tomorrow.

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