“THE CAPACITY FOR SELF-DETERMINATION”

by John Porter, ©2017

(Dec. 5, 2017) — In a discussion some time ago a gentleman asked me, “John, what does individual freedom mean?” It actually caused me to pause for a moment, for I, like most Americans, have always taken my freedom for granted without really thinking about what it means. Since being born and raised in America, I have never personally experienced real government oppression, as have so many billions of people all over this world.

So I began a study of the bedrock differences in the United States and the other countries of the world, to answer for myself the real meaning of individual freedom, and also if America is an exceptional country because of it.

If you remember, President (at the time) Barack Obama said publicly he does not believe America is exceptional from any other country. Hearing a president of the United States make that statement struck me like a bolt of lightning.

Following a great many hours of exhaustive and open-minded research, I learned and concluded that of all the many things the United States of America is about and because of them indisputably stands above all other nations on earth, individual freedom is the most precious and greatest treasure of them all. INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM is the absence of restraint on our ability to think and act for ourselves.

I would ask you to sit quietly alone and uninterrupted and allow your mind to focus on the profound impact, once obtained, these three words and their meaning have had upon the tranquility of humankind……absence of restraint. Webster’s College Dictionary :absence; not existing, lacking…..:restraint; a loss or limitation of liberty, confinement.

There is freedom of, such as speech, religion, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to bear arms, etc. And there is freedom from, that being free from the tyranny of government oppression and excessive regulation, and it has only one meaning, the complete freedom of every individual citizen to think and act for themselves, and it automatically carries with it individual responsibility for those thoughts and actions.

I believe very strongly in the power of the individual. Freedom is the capacity for self-determination. It is not, however, cast in stone to forever be, but it is a condition, and conditions can change. Individual freedom can grow and expand, but it can also shrink and disappear if the people allow it to do so. It will be preserved only as long as there is devotion to freedom expressed in the hearts and actions of the people of America. President Bush said a few years ago, “History moves toward freedom because the desire for freedom is written in every human heart.”

We in America are a free society only because we are free as individuals. As Ayn Rand so correctly stated in her book, The Virtue of Selfishness, “If one wishes to advocate a free society, one must realize that its indispensable foundation is the principle of individual rights.”

Gettysburg National Cemetery (photo courtesy National Parks Service)

In his address at the Gettysburg National Cemetery, President Abraham Lincoln declared, “It is for us the living to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus so nobly advanced.” That unfinished work of which he spoke, for which so many American soldiers have given the full measure of devotion, sacrificing their lives on the altar of freedom in the defense and preservation of the United States of America as an exceptional country of individual freedom, I here declare to you will never be finished.

We have become a strong and exceptional nation through the self-reliance of our individual freedom. Our great nation is a Representative Republic, not a Democracy or one of Socialism. Americans everywhere, we had better get involved and take a stand with President Trump against government control of our lives. Now is not the time to be silent as there are many powerful people, in and out of Washington, working to dismantle this great country and bring it down to a lower level of the countries of Europe. Now is the time to devote ourselves and be resolved to defend our individual freedom. President Trump does believe we are an exceptional nation. I think you, like I, believe we are also.

I leave you with my hope that you will understand and believe I have not penned this from a political standpoint. I have done so with but one purpose in mind, to serve my country that I love so much. It is not out of loyalty to a political party. My only loyalty is to the United States Constitution and the individual freedom it provides me. As Douglas MacArthur said in a speech before Congress upon his leaving public life, “The only politics I have is contained in a simple phrase known to all of you, God bless America.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.