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Freedom is not automatic or guaranteed. Everybody says they are in favor of it (even many dictators), but only a small portion of people in world history really possessed it. Most were slaves, serfs or subjects who cowered in fear of those with political power. If we don’t live up to the high standards of character that freedom demands, we can kiss it goodbye. President Reagan warned us:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Lots of people might say, “I agree that freedom is precious and is under constant threat from others who crave power instead. But what can I do?” Here’s a checklist, below. Put a check next to anything on it that applies to you today. Keep the list in a prominent place as a reminder to do what you can on freedom’s behalf every single day.
Here’s what I did for freedom today:
- I raised it in a conversation and hopefully turned on a light in at least one person’s mind
- I defended it when it was challenged by error
- I improved my own knowledge so as to become a better advocate by reading something about freedom, its principles and history
- I wrote a letter-to-the-editor in freedom’s defense
- I recommended a good article, book or film that advances values consistent with a free society
- I sent a personal check to an organization I know to be working for the advancement of freedom ideas
- I resisted the temptation to subvert freedom by accepting something from government that didn’t belong to me
- I took action to clean up my own act so that I can be a admirable practitioner of the virtues necessary for a free society to flourish
- I checked out at least one textbook my son or daughter was assigned in school, explained to my offspring any fallacies I found, and complained to the school about any that were especially bad
- I told at least one of my representatives that if he or she ever voted for more government again, I would work hard to see him or her defeated in the next election
- I told my college or university alma mater that if they didn’t start hiring faculty who know how to present and defend the case for free enterprise, they’ll never, ever get another dime from me
- I suggested to at least one friend that he or she should visit some good, informative, pro-freedom websites such as El American.
- I did nothing at all for freedom today, except enjoy the fruits of it while leaving the battle for its restoration and preservation to others. I was essentially a freedom freeloader today, and my children and grandchildren will pay the price for my inaction.
Assuming you did not check that last one, I thank you for caring enough about freedom and its future to have done at least something on its behalf today.
Lawrence writes a weekly op-ed for El American. He is President Emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in Atlanta, Georgia; and is the author of “Real heroes: inspiring true stories of courage, character, and conviction“ and the best-seller “Was Jesus a Socialist?“ //
Lawrence escribe un artículo de opinión semanal para El American. Es presidente emérito de la Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) en Atlanta, Georgia; y es el autor de “Héroes reales: inspirando historias reales de coraje, carácter y convicción” y el best-seller “¿Fue Jesús un socialista?”