Freedom and Liberty. What are they? Freedom and Liberty. Those are the things we are being told that our forefathers fought and died for, aren't they? But what do they mean? Are they like happiness, which, as written in the old song, means "different things to different people"?

Had occasion recently to read Patrick Henry's speech, delivered in St. John's church, Richmond, VA, March 20, 1775. He had a pretty clear vision of what they meant to him:

"If we wish to be free . . . we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us! Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me Liberty or give me Death!"

And they fought. And many of them died. And our freedom and liberty were preserved.

But today, sadly, and to many of us, about 47% at last count, freedom means free from having to provide for ourselves – from having to work for a living. Now that's just great, as long as it lasts. But it was it was British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who said, "The problem is that eventually you run out of spending other people's money." Why is that so easy for us to understand, and so difficult for our elected representatives?

Even when we want to take care of ourselves, we now have a government that discourages it. FOX News ran a special feature all this past week. Each day they gave a different example of extensive, and expensive, efforts by the USDA to enroll additional people in the food stamp program. One day it showed a video, in Spanish, being broadcast in Mexico, advising prospective illegal aliens of the benefits that await them once they cross the Rio Grande. The next day it was a program to break down the "mountain pride" of the people of Ashe County, NC, to get them to accept food stamps, even though they preferred to take care of themselves, as they have always prided themselves on being able to do. (Sorry, it's not called Food Stamps any more. Now it's called "SNAP" (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Cute, huh? 

And it's working! Enrollment in SNAP has surged 70% since the beginning of the Obama administration, reaching, at last count, a record 47.8 million Americans, and costing a record $74.6 billion, largely with Chinese-borrowed money.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with providing help to those who need it, and Goodness knows, there are a lot of us in need these days. As compassionate persons, and as Christians, that is our duty and our responsibility. No decent person can deny that. But when $millions are being spent just to convince our fellow countrymen, and others still outside our nation's borders, that they need such assistance, then you must question the motive. And the motive, I fear, is purely political – the cost of getting elected, and staying elected.

Lawrence Reed, chairman of the Foundation for Economic Education, has written:

  • 1) Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free.
  • 2) What belongs to you, you tend to take care of; what belongs to no one or everyone tends to fall into disrepair.
  • 3) Sound policy requires that we consider long-run effects and all people, not simply short-run effects and a few people.
  • 4) If you encourage something, you get more of it; if you discourage something, you get less of it.
  • 5) Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own.
  • 6) Government has nothing to give anybody except what it first takes from somebody. Therefore, a government that's big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you've got.

And we see that happening every day, and right before our very eyes.

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