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People Must Want To Be Free

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Politicians are very adept about making excuses for their failures. The greater the failure, the bigger, more absurd the excuse. Shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, while Americans were still reeling from shock, our political leaders very quickly conjured up a canard to cover up their failure to predict, deter, or avoid the attack. Rather than accept any responsibility at all for the tragedy, or even to acknowledge that American foreign policy was at least partly to blame, the ruling elites resorted to the mantra: “They hate us because of our freedom.”

Incredibly, America’s cherished freedom was branded as the cause of this atrocity, not our military adventurism or our interventionist foreign policy. “They hate us because of our freedom,” politicians asserted, ignoring the reality that the United Stares is the world’s preeminent “nosy neighbor,” supporting tyrants who oppress their own people, advancing American corporate and economic interests over those of other nations, and imposing our will and values on other peoples without regard for their culture and history.

Even as the politicians repeated this deliberately manufactured and malicious fabrication, they began destroying the very freedoms they claimed the terrorists envied. They offered as sacrifice, on the altar of the false god Security, the precious American siblings of Liberty and Freedom. Instead of defending the Bill of Rights, they sold citizens a bill of goods. They fell back on the timeless practice of all tyrants; if you repeat a lie often enough and loud enough, people will believe it, or at least accept it.

Recent events of the Arab Spring have further exposed this lie. The popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East prove that even people in Muslim countries want freedom and value liberty just as much as Americans. Indeed, maybe even more so because they are willing to face tanks in order to be free. They want to be free of tyrants, whether the tyrant is locally born or some nosy foreign neighbor. It never ceases to amaze me when people in other countries, especially nations where the U.S. government is supposedly attempting to “export democracy,” demonstrate that they understand the very basic truth of freedom: You cannot force people to be free. People must want to be free.

This is a lesson Americans used to teach to the world. Now it seems, not only have we forsaken it, but our ruling elites are doing everything in their power to erase the knowledge from our minds. Nobody came to America and made us free. Americans decided they wanted to be free and they were willing to fight and die for it and that’s how we became free. Until people in other nations make that same decision, that same self-determination, they will never be free, no matter how many American troops occupy their towns and villages, no matter how many American bombs fall on their countryside. Soldiers, no matter how dedicated and well-meaning, cannot liberate a country where the people do not want to be free.

The best way for America to promote freedom abroad is by setting a good example here at home. America needs to practice what she preaches. Rather than shredding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we must demand our elected leaders uphold their oath of office – and hold them accountable when they do not. The history of our own nation clearly shows that the only way people can be free is to earn it for themselves. Americans are free because the founders fought and died for our freedom. No one gave it to us. We decided to be free on our own accord. That is why many people came to the New World. They were tired of other people — kings, royalty, the wealthy, tyrants — telling them what to do, how they could live their lives, how they should worship God.

The Arab Spring is proof of this universal truth. The natural instinct of every human being is to be free. Just as all men and women are born with unalienable rights, they are also born with an insatiable appetite to be free. Tyranny can only be imposed on an individual from the outside. Freedom springs from within. There’s no stopping individuals determined to be free. The fear of death becomes foreign to them and no longer inhibits their actions; as they would rather die than live as slaves. Freedom must mean so much to a person that he is willing to say: Give me liberty or give me death!

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass, August 4, 1857

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