James Russell Lowell

James Lowell (1819-1891) opened his epic 1844 poem, “The Present Crisis,” with lines #1 and #2:

“When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth’s aching

breast, Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west.”

People throughout the world may have a different perception of “freedom” -- i.e. what it means to them – how they define it.  The Oxford Dictionary includes what I consider to be several pertinent definitions:

  • The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants;
  • The absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government;
  • The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
Americans have generally subscribed to one or more of these definitions over time.  However, there is a deeper meaning of “freedom” which is often overlooked.  I found it in  The Urban Dictionary, by a writer using the cyber name of ‘Tarkan Atilla’.  I’ll paraphrase his thoughts from 2010:  Freedom (which includes the element of ‘self-control’) entails the concept of having the ability to do what one ought to doIt’s not the same as license, which implies one’s ability to do whatever one wants to do.  If we assume that freedom is (or should be) universal, then it can’t be what any of us merely want it to be.

For example:  If you want to raise my taxes to increase your freedom,

that could detract from my freedom.  Since freedom is the ability to do what one ought to do, then that truly is freedom, because when one does what he ought to do, rather than what he wants to do, he infringes on no one else’s freedom.  Therefore, by this definition, the only person who can limit one’s freedom in a society where freedom entails doing good (what he ought to do) is that person, himself.  One can argue for and against this definition of freedom, which can degenerate into conflicting paradoxes, but I thought that it was somewhat unique.

All of which is a prelude to an eternal truth that has been carved into the stone of our historic American “mind” – the truth that there is, always has been, and always will be, a high price that must be paid in order to preserve our individual liberties and our patrimony as free people – to do, as the above writer advised, what we OUGHT to do to preserve our heritage of freedom. Our legacy of freedom began in the hoary mists of the past, as God’s Word proclaimed, “…And the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32); continued with the struggles between English ‘commoners’ and nobility and the monarchy that resulted in  Magna Charta in 1215; that declared in Scotland’s Declaration of Arbroath of 1320 that, “For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any condition  be brought under English (tyrannical) rule”; and which culminated with Patrick Henry’s March, 1775 vow in St. John’s Church in Richmond, Va. that freedom is worth dying for, as he gave to the future the immortal words, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me give me liberty or give me death.”

Would any of us today make those same stern and impassioned declarations?  I’d like to think that many Americans would still do likewise, although today an equal number of our countrymen might violently disagree with those sentiments.  “Proto-Americans” of the past surely stood for their freedom.  As most informed patriots have long known, the 56 signers of our Declaration of Independence were willing to pay a high price in order to establish liberty for themselves and their fellow countrymen, and many of them did.  As Pastor C. R. Curtman wrote:  “Our revolutionary ancestors were deadly serious about the cause of freedom.  Of the 56 signers (of the Declaration), 17 served in the military.  11 had their homes destroyed and 5 of them were hunted down, captured and imprisoned.  Signer Abraham Clark had two of his sons imprisoned on a British starving ship.  John Witherspoon’s son was killed in battle, and Francis Lewis’ wife was arrested and died because of the cruel treatment inflicted upon her by her jailers.  Many of the signers who had ‘pledged their fortunes’ lost everything they had in the fight for independence, and 9 of them died in the war itself.” 

These brave ancestors acted, while many of their countrymen talked, or hid their heads in cowardice and refused to involve themselves in the struggle for liberty.  Some of their “countrymen” even supported the British cause and fought against their revolutionary brethren.  Thomas Jefferson, one of the early leaders of our Founding Generation, reminded his fellow freedom seekers that “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”  Sadly,  Jefferson sometimes seemed to “lose his way”, and sometimes supported causes and concepts that seemed antithetical to our Constitutional liberties (like opposing George Washington and supporting the radical French revolutionaries as they conspired to bring about their Jacobin (Illuminati) excesses into certain portions of what would become future American states). 

But throughout the American story the wisdom and examples of our early patriots keeps shining through, for during that long march of history millions of Americans of all ages, genders, races, and classes have done all they could to keep our country a reasonably free beacon of liberty, despite the treacherous machinations of 19th century anti-Christians and pro-socialist globalists, and the efforts of  modern-day “Tories” (members of The Klan of New Bolsheviks, formerly called  Democrats, aided far too often by their cowardly RINO cousins), to undermine that liberty and “fundamentally transform”  this land into some version of an all-powerful government socialist/Marxist tyranny more acceptable to their utopian “New World Order” visions—a “process” that is ongoing right in front of our eyes courtesy of the despicable machinations of Comrade President Sleazy Joe Biden and the disreputable Comrade Vice-President Kommie-la Harris  and their collectivist/Marxist masters who are pulling their strings and who are providing the financing for the destruction of our once-strong Constitutional Republic. 

(Many of you are probably unaware that Kommie-La’s husband, Doug Emhoff, has quite lucrative financial ties to the Chinese Communists.  Among other firms, Emhoff works at the international law firm, DLA Piper, which has several Chinese Communist-owned “companies” as clients and that also employs “former”  Chinese Communist Party officials.  “Harris and many of her key boosters also have numerous connections to Maoist and Marxist revolutionary organizations,” according to Trevor Louden, one of the most prominent anti-communist researchers active today, who was a speaker at a two-day event I attended last November, and with whom I had lunch.  NOW do you understand WHY Kommie-La Harris was hand-picked by her “deep state” masters to be Biden’s V.P.--“one heart beat away”—OR one use of the 25th Amendment away-- from ousting the mentally deteriorating Comrade Joe Biden from the Presidency?  I trust that any of you who read these words and who consider yourselves to be “faithful Democrats” will be pleased to learn that you voted for possibly the FIRST communist POTUS in American history, because it is becoming increasingly apparent the Joe Biden will never be mentally competent enough to complete his four year term, and will be replaced by Harris, which was the plan of ‘the deep state’ from the beginning.)

Lowell’s great poem forces us to recall the valor of our revolutionary ancestors, for while he wrote it for a different time and for different causes, and was himself spiritually and politically “confused” for much of his life, plainly it applied to our Founding Generation. For those of us alive today, who struggle against that same evil impulse to enslave their fellows that some of our “countrymen” exhibit, these noble words still ring true:

‘Tis as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle slaves

Of a legendary virtue carved upon our father’s graves;

Worshippers of light ancestral make the present light a crime;

Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their time? (Lines #71 - #74).

Sadly, it appears that far too many of today’s Americans are unwilling to be “heroes” of any kind, and are content to be slaves of mediocrity, of ignorance, and of “Big Brother” government.  Many of our people don’t know how to be “heroes for freedom”, for that noble  impulse has just about been programmed out of them, particularly out of our younger generations who will soon be expected to carry the torch of liberty into the far corners of future time.  I fear that not only will they not be willing to carry freedom’s demanding torch, but that many of them will do their best to extinguish it.  I hope that I’m just being cynical, and will be proved wrong.

A Canadian citizen, Stephen Leacock, summarized these fears and concerns very well, when he said recently:  “We are moving toward socialism.  We are moving through the mist; nearer and nearer with every bit of government regulation; nearer and nearer through the mist to the edge of the abyss over which civilization may be precipitated to its final catastrophe.”  I fear he was being quite prophetic, because it seems to me that our American civilization has already stepped over the edge of that deadly abyss!

God’s Word tells His people, in Psalm 44:1:  “We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what  you did in their days, in days long ago.”  What will our unborn descendants tell their children about what we, their ancestors, did to preserve their freedoms in this present time?  How terrible, and how devastating to those of us who say we value the constitutional republic our forebears sent down the halls of time to us, if that republic no longer exists for them – if the freedom and prosperity we knew most of our lives becomes nothing more than fabled memories, purged away by the mindless babbling of despicable politicians who put their quest for power—for “hope and change”—above the principles that kept mankind—and US-- free! 

Ronald Reagan said it well, when he reminded his countrymen:  “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.  We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.”  Have Americans already taken that “first step” into the darkness of despotism?  Well, have we?

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