By DANIEL GARDNER
During pauses of the hectic Thanksgiving season, we sometimes reflect on the past year and those coming, and we think about what’s truly important in our lives.
Certainly family comes first, as well as God to Whom all prayers of thanksgiving go.
Freedom is the quintessence of all things we value and of which we are thankful. Freedom from all things bad or harmful: disease and death, debt and taxes, sin and sorrow, animosity and anger. Moreover, freedom to live as we like, to move as we will and to express ourselves without fear.
America was founded on the idea people could govern themselves without having a government that suppressed or oppressed its citizens, and that all people share inalienable rights given by God that good government endeavors to protect.
Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman wrote in “Capitalism and Freedom” (1962), “The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather ‘What can I and my compatriots do through government’ to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect?”
Friedman continues, “Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.”
As Americans, we enjoy more freedom and more freedoms than any other people on earth. Our men and women in the military have pledged allegiance to defend the Constitution against all enemies — foreign or domestic — who threaten our freedom, and many have died in that defense.
As Ronald Reagan said, “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.”
The biggest threats to our freedom come from corruption within … within our culture and within our government. We have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and our government always mirrors the cultural morality of its citizens. Thus our freedom depends to a large extent on maintaining moral values.
As we give thanks to God for our many freedoms, we must also recommit to maintaining those laws God has placed in every heart. And, we must preserve and defend freedom from moral corruption at every level of our society.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. Contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com .