Wisdom From the Past That Matters More Than Ever

Bill Abbate

For many Americans, one of the most important words, if not the most important in the English language, is liberty. Few words carry such deep meaning and significance in our country's history.

Because of liberty, anything is possible, and opportunity abounds. Without liberty, oppression is the norm. As a German-born American citizen who happened to have been one of the most intelligent men to have ever lived, once noted:

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Because of this one word, America has prospered, making it the most powerful country in all of history!

Yet today, many take their liberty for granted, not appreciating the tremendous value it gives each of us. Unfortunately, many of our educational institutions and some politicians are largely responsible for this lack of appreciation.

Let's look at what the word liberty has meant to some of the greatest people in our country's history. We can learn much from their wisdom when we allow ourselves to do so.

Liberty is a right

According to one of the founding fathers and the 3rd president of the United States, liberty is a birthright.

"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

The 30th president of the United States clearly shows Liberty is not a broad-brush collective term. Liberty is a personal and individual right.

"Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty." Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

As a right we all have, it is our responsibility to keep the power of the political elite in check. We can do this because of the protection of our individual liberties provided by the Constitution of the United States. A second way is to vote those who make any attempt to destroy our constitution out of office. Here are the words of the 16th president of the United States on this matter:

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Liberty is so important to our lives and our survival as a nation, we must never forget the words of one of our great founding fathers:

"Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death!" Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

Liberty is not to be taken for granted

As Americans, we must never take our liberty for granted. We have already lost far too much freedom in this country. How can any country survive for long when the political elite continues to spend our country into oblivion? The government has accumulated far too much power and control over the people of our nation. The following warning came from the 28th president of the United States:

"The history of liberty is the history of limitations on the power of government, not the increase of it. When we resist, therefore, the concentration of power, we are resisting the processes of death, because concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human liberties." Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)

One of the most crucial things we must protect to retain our liberty is our right to free speech. Sadly extreme bias distorting truth has become the norm for many in journalism. But freedom of speech is a right that must be protected at all costs, as pointed out by this founding father of our nation:

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech." Benjamin Franklin (1796-1790)

One of the most dangerous government acts is taking power by giving people what people should earn and get on their own. This reverses our founder's intent, making the people dependent on the government rather than the government dependent on the people. This continuing loss of power by the people at the expense of more power in the government erodes our liberties one by one. Let's once again turn to the founding father and 3rd president of the United States for his wisdom on this subject:

"Dependence leads to subservience." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

To have always lived in a land of liberty, too many take it for granted. Here is what the 46th vice president of the United States had to say:

"It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you." Dick Cheney (1941-present)

May we never need to discover this truth!

Final thoughts

I once read liberty is the responsible use of freedom for each individual under the law. Yes, the law limits freedom, but its intent is to restrain evil, not good.

The law should always keep people safe from unnecessary danger. So long as we are responsible, mature people who seek to do good, not evil, it should have our full support. Those who make the laws of the land should always keep our individual liberties in mind.

Is it any wonder the following phrase is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, which birthed our great nation!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. " United States Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)

May the word liberty be restored to its original meaning in the founding of this great nation.

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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