Do we Deserve Freedom?

Freedom is not the ultimate ideal of humanity. What we should be aiming at is goodness, prosperity, and human flourishing. The opportunity for freedom and liberty can be in service to this aim. The freedom of a people can allow for the human spirit to soar to new heights and create magnificent works of beauty beyond one’s imagination. However, without proper guidance, freedom can open the door for the human spirit to create horrors and suffering beyond one’s most terrifying nightmares.

Freedom is a double-edged sword that can serve both light and darkness. The blade of liberty must be tempered with wisdom or else the kingdom will come crashing down upon us. When you look around, do you not see the cracks in the foundation? Do you not see the walls beginning to crumble? A culture would be wise to not impale themselves with the blade they wield.

Where are the wise? Where are those who wisely use their freedom? When you look out onto the masses, is it obvious that wisdom and virtue are our guides? Or have we lost our way and become fat, seated upon the prosperity of our ancestors? The day wisdom and virtue fall from the common tongue is the day I tremble at the freedom we hold.

The merit of freedom depends on the moral character of a people. Is our moral character worthy of freedom?

Do we deserve freedom? Can we handle it? Like giving a loaded handgun to a child, can we trust ourselves with the freedom we hold so dear? Freedom is a great power, and we’ve been told that with great power comes great responsibility. Are we responsible enough to be free?

Can we trust ourselves to navigate the oceans of liberty towards the destination of paradise? Or does our culture land on pleasure island, and forget the original voyage which we were sent?

Do we not see the storms approaching if we abandon virtue? Do we not see the need for wisdom when steering our ship? Freedom without wisdom will crash our ship onto the rocks. Freedom without virtue will cause our ship to sink under the weight of our own liberty .

Do not confuse my questioning of freedom for a soft support of authoritarianism. As much as I don’t want to be aboard a free ship that crashes onto the rocks, I have no desire to be a galley slave, where I’m forced to row to an arbitrary destination under the fear of death. But I may not have much of a choice, since the survivors of a shipwreck were often rescued and sold into slavery anyway. Perhaps this will be our fate if we crash upon the rocks.

So I ask again, do we deserve freedom?

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Matthew McKenna

When facing hardship and burned by flame / We look to myth for where to aim / As stories of old were understood / Extract the gold and make it good.