Tri-City Ledger -

By Pete Riehm
Guest Writer 

Is freedom fading from glory?


July 4, 2019

The United States of America is 243 years old this Independence Day. For almost two and half centuries, this great nation has guaranteed the freedom Americans enjoy and too often take for granted. We are quick to proclaim and celebrate our freedom. We demand it and claim we will even defend it, but exactly what are we demanding these days? What do modern Americans think freedom is?

The concept of freedom is immutable; it never changes. In sheer genius, our founders captured the essence of freedom in the Declaration of Independence in one sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In short, God created each of us to be free. They specified that government cannot intervene with the gifts God bestowed on every citizen. Your life is yours and not any master be it individual or government. You cannot be deprived of liberty which is your choice on how to act or move about. And finally, we can pursue happiness as we each see fit which means we can work and worship as we choose.

Timeless and simple, that is freedom, but do Americans still see it that way? Do they even really want freedom anymore? Freedom comes with accountability, consequences, and responsibility. You are free to choose, but truly free people live with their choices. Your choices may bear fruit or bring burden.

Freedom is abstract in that it is only about individuals choosing to or not to do something. It is unilateral in that freedom does not require anything of anyone else only the individual. However, the past few decades the trend has been to try to make freedom tangible which was most recently emphasized during the Democrat presidential debates. Leftists assert freedom includes health care, education, and perhaps even food and housing.

Freedom is defined by specific rights, but leftists conflate rights with benefits. Quite simply rights are FREE and require nothing of anyone else, but benefits have costs that someone must bear. Everyone wants health care, education, food, and housing, but who should and who will pay for it, especially pay for someone else? And if someone else pays for your benefits, are you not beholden to them?

Leftists have always and increasingly alarming numbers of younger Americans misconstrue benefits as rights. The harsh reality is that you will be dependent on whoever is paying for your benefits. If you need the benefits and have no other resource, then you must comply with whatever conditions those paying demand of you. The one paying is in control, so in essence you become a slave to them.

Leftists claim compassion and insist government must provide your benefits, so they can control the citizens. But it gets worse because government has no wealth, so they must confiscate wealth from other citizens. Or more precisely deprive others of their pursuit of happiness or property to provide for everyone else. Free people provide for themselves to deny control to anyone else.

The problem is not that modern Americans want benefits, but rather they are losing interest in rights. Obviously they want their lives, but the pursuit of happiness has become the liberty to indulge vices without consequences. Throw out morality and just do whatever feels good because a benevolent government will provide your basic needs. As long as we have bread and circuses who cares what the government controls.

Self-absorbed in our recreation, freedom is fading because more and more Americans no longer value worship. We are comfortable in our wickedness, so who needs God? Our founders did not fight a fierce revolution and boldly declare independence to get health care, education, or any other tangible benefit. Their sole purpose was to throw off tyranny to freely worship and receive the blessings of God without encumbrance or interference from any earthly power.

The American Revolution was not to create an all-powerful government, but rather to allow each citizen to be a sovereign individual enjoying their God given rights. But if you don’t care about God, why do you need freedom? Pirates fight for benefits; patriots fight for rights.

“This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” Galatians 2:4


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