Freedom means many things |

Freedom means many things

On July Fourth we are celebrating freedom. Somehow, however, I believe most people have lost the concept of “freedom.”

Webster has a rather long definition, part of which says, “liberty in acting and choosing.” In today’s society we are increasingly restrained from “acting or choosing” by some well-meaning government agency.

There are two sides to freedom. The first is freedom from and the second is freedom to. It’s great to be free from dictatorial enslavement and persecution, such as the people in Iraq have experienced. In reality, however, we are rapidly losing our freedoms to an increasingly intrusive, but well meaning, government.

The theory behind the whole process is that the average person is too ignorant to perform well or has some crooked, sinister motive for what he does. There are also two other driving forces; the first is the prevalence of lawsuits and the second is the generation of money to run an increasingly intrusive government.

Freedom may mean letting others make their own life decisions. Freedom means responsibility. Freedom means tolerance of others whose values differ. Freedom means risking failure. Freedom means the right to be creative and let others be creative also.

Freedom means living with the consequences of your own actions with no government bail-out. Freedom means no fear of lawyers. Freedom means being able to keep the fruits of your labors. Freedom means helping your neighbor without being forced to. Freedom means raising your kids the way you want.

Our forbearers paid a high price and literally risked all to achieve freedom. They suffered hardship and death for that elusive dream.

Let us celebrate with great appreciation that gift. Let us thoughtfully consider what they gave us, and how much of it we have already lost.

I, for one, pledge this July Fourth to do what I can to slow or stop the process. More personal responsibility and tolerance of others would help. As Red Skelton used to close his act, “God Bless.”

Ross L. Talbott

New Castle

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