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I'm the author of The Liberty Pole. I dabble a bit in blogging and have a fascination with early American history (late 18th century) as well as WWII. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Free Enough

There's a conversation a little over half way through The Liberty Pole in which one character asks an other "Haven't you ever wanted to be free?" to which the second replies "I'm free enough," and she means it. There is no hesitation, no thought on what that truly means. She is simply free enough.

I've been thinking about that line since jotting it down perhaps three or four years ago. I think the idea originally came from a story my dad used to tell me when I was little about how many people would prefer the promise of one meal a day (or a loaf of bread) than the possibility of more without it being guaranteed. These people preferred dependency, no matter the cost.

So I started thinking: just what does one give up as payment to a government that says "We will cloth you. We will feed you. We will put a roof over your head. We will make sure you are educated in our school systems." The list goes on and on, and if you ask where the money comes from, often there's not a clear understanding of it by the ones taking it. Well, contrary to what some people may think, there's not a stash of money somewhere and a country can't just print new money off any time they please and continue to function. So, if nothing in life is free, as they say, what does one have to give up in order to obtain these things?

It starts out slow, but the more dependent one becomes on the government, the more personal freedoms are ebbed away. All you have to do is look at the tyrannies of the generations before us: freedom of expression is smothered, freedom of belief is hampered, and freedom of choice is eventually taken from you. Once you become dependent on an entity they have the ability to move you in the direction that you wish to go and the chains of oppression weigh you down until they have taken every bit of your will from you. In the end, it seems like the most natural thing in the world to follow in line. One right after another. One step, then two, straight towards the edge of the cliff and on over.

I hold a very firm belief that slavery is not natural. To be oppressed is not a state in which mankind was meant to live upon his creation. Freedom is a worthy goal, and also one of the highest ones we can hope to attain in this life. Those that grab for power at the expense of the people to whom this country belongs would have us believe we are free. They would have us be like Ellie, the woman in the novel that believes she is "free enough," and to go through life with the blinders fixed well so that we might not see what is happening around us and the cotton stuffed deeply in our ears so we might not hear. All the while they promise bigger and better things if we'll just give a little more of that freedom away. If we'll consent that we are free enough, even if we're not free at all. They tell us everything will be alright and they smile while they snap the cuffs on our wrists, hang the weights down on the chains, and march us straight over that cliff.

"When liberty is the prize, who would shun the warfare? Who would stoop to waste a coward thought on life? We esteem no sacrifice too great, no conflict too severe, to redeem our inestimable rights and privileges." 
                                                                         Dr. Joseph Warren, 1774