The Meaning of “Freedom”

Richard Salbato - April 19, 2010


 I have been convinced for some time now that the real American People will take back control of the house and senate in November.  So I have been consecrating on what we should do after we are in power.  When we take back Washington, what should we do to save this nation?

My sequence of Newsletters on “Ideas to Save America” is about to include: Schools, Courts, Prisons, and Individual Rights.  But I have paused to think out what do all these things have in common.  What is the bottom line (the root) of what the American People and I want from government and what do we not want? 

I have come to believe the answer is “Freedom”.  Freedom is the antonym of “Force”. 

I was thinking of the bible and how it states that I am made in the image and likeness of God. God (before the body of Christ) has no body, so what does it mean to be in His image and likeness?  The only two things I can find where we are like God is that we have free-will and that we cannot die.  We are free to choose good or evil, right and wrong; and we can never die. We will always and forever exist.

If God, Himself, will not take away my freedom, what right does anyone else have to take away my freedom.  Now, understand what I mean here, is “take away by force”.  We all give up parts of our freedom for the good of others or the good of the majority, but we do this by choice and not by force. 

Most all sin is related to taking away freedom from someone else by force of some kind. If we are going to be a social being and live with others we do give up some of our freedoms for the benefit of the group, but this is always by our free choice, and not by force. 

When we agree (by free choice) to get married we give some of our freedoms to our bride or husband in our vows.  Sometimes as the marriage goes on, one or the other tries to forcibly take more freedom from the other than he or she promised, but that is not freedom.

A man promises to freely love and cherish his wife, but in time she does not like the way he does it and want to change his methods to her methods, and this is not freedom. My love and even the method of my love has to be free, and I have to leave her free to love the way she chooses to love.  My method only becomes wrong when it takes away her freedom.  I have no right to try to form her in the image and likeness of me.

No where in the real History of the Jewish – Christian traditions were anyone ever forced to belong to the Church, and in the few cases were this did happen, it was sinful and against Church teaching. Even faith has to be free, just as love has to be free.  If not free, it is not faith and it is not love. 

In the beginning of America, even before there was any government, people lived in the country and were very much totally free.  In time as more and more moved closer and closer together, they realized they needed to group together to protect their freedoms. Each one of them gave a part of his property (money), and a part of his freedom to protect the freedom of the group. They formed a kind of government.

This follows the economic principle, “The best system is what is good for the individual AND the group”.  In economics and in society as a whole, if what is good for me is not good for everyone else, it is not good. 

Then came the English armies and they claimed this land and the people belonged to them. They said the people were not free to make their own laws.  This is the very thing these people ran away from – the lack of freedom in England. 

These pilgrims had seen the beauty of freedom and were now willing to fight and die for it.  They did.  One of the smallest non-nations in the world beat the largest and strongest nation in the world and won their freedom.

In essence this was the first real freedom from government in the history of the world.  However, they needed some form of government and met together to form one based on the most amount of individual freedom as possible.  That is why the Constitution of the United States is almost entirely what the government cannot do, and not what it can do.

In an over simplification we gave government only one real power:  The power to protect my freedom from you, and your freedom from me.  The government does not give me freedom.  I get that from God. What the government gives me, it can take away because it was never mine in the first place.  

When you understand freedom, you will protect it with your life, your property, your reputation, and every other good.  Nothing is worth loosing freedom.  I want to be me and I will let you be you.

What happens when the government gives you something that did not belong to you?  Before Davy Crockett was martyred at the Alamo he was a United States congressman. One of my favorite stories about him was when ten homes burnt down and wiped out the poor families. He helped sponsor a bill to take government money and help these poor people re-build their homes.  When visiting the town where the fire was, he ran into one of the elders.

“I voted for you, Mr. Crockett, but I will not again.”

“Why?” the bewildered Crockett asked.

“The money you have taken to help these ten families is not your money to give away.  It belongs to the people.  They did not give it to you to pick and choose what you want to do with it.  If you can choose to help these people, the next time you can choose to help your friends or punish your enemies. There is no Constitutional right for you to give away my money except for what it is given to you for.  The people in this town will help these people and we will do it because we freely choose to do so.  You cannot tell us what to do with the money we gave you to protect our freedoms.  It was not meant for that.”

Davy Crockett voted against the very bill he sponsored. 

Why are we mad as hell?

We say we are made because of taxes, big government, big debts, no jobs, bad schools, etc.  But the truth is that we are mad because (without knowing it) we are little by little loosing out freedom.

As the government gets bigger and bigger it is telling us what schools we can send our children to, what can be taught to them, what we can say in public and what they say is hate speech, how we can protect ourselves and when we cannot, what we can do to our own property and what we cannot, what car we can drive and what we cannot, what gas we can use and what we cannot, what doctor we can have and have not.

Maybe we do not even know why we are mad as hell, but it is because they are taking away our God given right to freedom.

In my personal life I do not like to even ride in a car driven by someone else, because I put my time and even life in someone else’s hands. Do not force me to be like you.  Do not force me to have your ideas.  Do not force me to say what you want me to say.  Do not force me to do anything. 

If a man came up to me with a gun and asked for my money and if I only had one dollar on me, I would not give it to him.  If you give in to any force, you enable that person to force others and perpetuate the problem. 

I am free and I will die for my freedom.  If you want me to give you some of my freedom, convince me.  I will part with some freedom of my own free will but not by force.

This is why I am mad as hell at this government and at some people.

Richard Salbato 

Note:   Written a year ago -    What does "Freedom" mean?