by Brent Johnson
For thousands of years people from all over the world have cried out for freedom. The call for independence has rung true throughout human history. Dating back to the Exodus from Egypt, through the history of the Holy Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, the French and American Revolutions, World War I, World War II, the Age of Apartheid… the cries for freedom and independence have always been heard by those who would listen.
Freedom is a principle that people from all classes, races, genders and ages seek to achieve. It is the single most popular objective that has ever existed throughout human history.
With so many people crying out for liberty for so long - a state in which they are free to live their lives as they see fit - it is a wonder that they have failed so remarkably to achieve their desire.
Why is this so, and what would it take to successfully achieve this objective that billions of people around the world have sought for so long and continue to seek?
Freedom is more than just a word to be used by political candidates; it is more than a utopian dream; it is more than a philosophical or theoretical concept to discuss at a gathering of activists or over a family meal. It is a genuine treasure, and like any treasure it takes planning, work and commitment to achieve it in its purest form.
Living in a state of freedom means taking full responsibility for your life; your hopes and dreams; your likes and dislikes; your wants and desires. It requires a certain character that refuses to accept failure. It requires its possessor to never recognize anyone else’s claims to restrict it in any way.
In order to actually live free one must possess not only certain characteristics, one must also be willing to accept the responsibilities inherent in living as a free person. These responsibilities are great, and there are many of them. They include the willingness and dedication to fight to defend and preserve that freedom, and if necessary to die for it.
Freedom is unselfish. Those who seek freedom for their own sakes will never have it. Freedom must always be pursued and achieved in order that others may possess it. It is perhaps the most genuinely altruistic thing that can exist.
It is one thing to fight in order to become free. It is another thing to live life as a free being once you have your independence. Understanding both is necessary if you are to live a genuinely free life.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” This means you not only need to fight to acquire your freedom; you need to fight to retain it - always and in all ways. You never get to rest. You never get to finally sit back and relax because you are finally free.
There is a chemistry to freedom. Consider that we are all living in a global laboratory in which there are always forces seeking to undermine the freedom of the people, while there are also always forces seeking to protect and defend it. These forces are always at work against each other, whether you are aware of them or not. If the forces defending freedom and the forces seeking to undermine it are kept in proper balance, then people can indeed live lives of freedom.
You may ask what I mean by “proper balance”. Why should forces working against individual liberty exist at all? What use do they have?
Notwithstanding the fact that such forces do exist, always have existed, and always will exist, these anti-freedom forces do serve an eclectic purpose.
What would the world look like if everyone was totally free; free to do anything at all? People would then be free to steal, rape, plunder and murder. It may be a free world but would it be a desirable one? I think not.
There must be principles that restrict the undesirable elements of total freedom in any society, whether on a local, regional, national or global scale. These are necessary in order to allow people to enjoy their freedom. This is why it is necessary for forces that oppose freedom to exist in balance with the principles of freedom.
The problem, of course, comes from the fact that forces opposed to freedom have too often taken it upon themselves to determine the proper extent of their efforts. Governments - for it is always governments that stand at the forefront of the anti-freedom movement - have claimed for themselves the right to enforce limits on the freedom of the people they govern. That has never worked to promote a free society, and it will never work. This is because when governments set themselves up to make such determinations, they attract the kind of administrators who are unscrupulous, cruel, and power-hungry. Such people will never accept balance as an objective; rather, they seek total control.
What is needed is a paradigm in which the people are the rulers of their own lives, but they have - within strict limits - incorporated mechanisms to discourage and punish those who seek to use their own freedom to obstruct or infringe upon the freedom of others. This type of social system is what was created after the American Revolution, with the Articles of Confederation of the united States of America.
This was a system by which the people were free to live their lives as they saw fit without damaging the lives, liberties or property of others. Any governments that existed - county, state or federal - were subservient to the people, who stood above the government and were only answerable to their Creator. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 states, “We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Thus only the Creator can ever take them away. Governments did not create those rights and so no matter what the situation, governments can never take them away.
Under this system it is the people who are the final arbiters of actions by governments. The people do not need to obey government; it is government that needs to obey the people. This provides a mechanism to restrict the undesirable elements of freedom without depriving the people of their rightful place as the rulers of their society.
However, freedom carries with it great responsibility. “Eternal vigilance” is needed by all the people. Whenever government steps beyond its lawfully delegated powers, it is the people who need to stop it. The people need to refuse to comply with government efforts to impose restrictions on their freedom. The people need to defend their liberty whenever anyone attacks it - including police, legislators, bureaucrats, or anyone else. It is a grave responsibility and it takes people of a very high character and commitment to make it work.
If you stand up against terrorist police who seek to attack your freedom, you may be shot; you may die. Are you willing to shoot back; are you willing to kill in order to defend your Creator-endowed rights? If you are not willing to do these things, then you will inevitably surrender your freedom, at which point you cannot complain about not having it. If you are willing to do these things, then perhaps - hopefully - you will never need to do them.
What are you willing to do to protect and defend your freedom? What are you not willing to do to protect and defend your freedom? The answer to the second question provides the key to undermining your freedom, and the reason that freedom fighters throughout history have ultimately failed to provide and preserve their freedom.
Successful freedom fighters are willing to do anything to protect and defend their freedom and the freedom of others. There is nothing they are not willing to do to protect that same freedom. That is what makes them successful.
If a society of any size establishes a system whereby the people are the rulers and government is their public servant, then a balance can be maintained between living free and not living totally free. That is the chemistry that is needed if we are ever to achieve a lasting and perpetual freedom for ourselves and our posterity,
Brent Johnson is Director of Freedom Bound International, a common law service center dedicated to the preservation of personal freedom, privacy rights and the Declaration of Independence. He may be reached at 1-888-385-FREE or on-line at www.freedomradio.us.