A Persian Proverb:
“He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool—shun him. He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child—teach him. He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep—wake him. He who knows and knows that he knows is wise—follow him.”
Over the weekend, I listened to the interview of First Lady Laura Bush by Chris Wallace on Fox News. I have always liked Laura Bush. I think she’s a smart, pretty lady who comes across as a very nice person. I enjoy her Texas accent when she speaks, and to me, she has always seemed to be a very common sense type person. I personally like her better than any other First Lady before her.
In the interview, she did use the word “freedom” and because it is so rarely used anymore, when I hear anyone use the word, my ears perk up to listen to what they say about it. The context in which she used the word was “freedom from –.” I recall her saying, “freedom from illiteracy.”
I daresay, I take issue with that reference. Freedom is something “for” and not something “from.” By definition, freedom is self-responsibility and self-control. If we are restricted and curtailed from having self-responsibility and self-control, how can that be freedom? Because of the thousands of policies, rules, regulations and man-made laws controlling and usurping one’s ability to be responsible and in control of one’s life and affairs, how can I be free?
For example, when I buy groceries, the total includes taxes. When I receive my monthly bill for utilities—heat, water, sewage, electricity, phone, etc.—these bills are loaded with fees imposed by a political government. Taxes being an involuntary relinquishment of one’s property (money), I’m forced to participate in this condition of legal plunder. My property is taken by force or the threat of force, arbitrarily. I have no recourse not to pay that which the government demands I pay. I have no control or responsibility for how the money is used. The freedom to use my money as I decide is removed from me.
The word “from” means out of control. Accordingly, saying “freedom from illiteracy” implies out of control, the very antithesis of the word freedom.
The money arbitrarily taken from me for the necessities of life is my property, property I have no control over and cannot be responsible for. I do not have freedom from this self-responsibility and self-control. I cannot have the freedom of self-control and self-responsibility and at the same time freedom from it when it has been infringed upon and taken without my consent.
Freedom “is” and not “from.”
With reference to literacy, more money for schooling is extracted from the producers in this country than anything else other than perhaps war. Taxes upon taxes are heaped upon us for schooling and literacy, yet some graduate from high school and can’t read. No child left behind was a tax increase imposed by the Bush administration. It has not worked to solve illiteracy.
In actuality, there’s no such thing as freedom “from” illiteracy. Conversely, one can have the freedom “of” illiteracy. When so many have the opportunity of literacy and fail by refusal to become literate, they are exercising the self-control of choice not to be literate.
The First Lady’s remark of “freedom from illiteracy” is just an example of the double think, double talk coming from those in positions of power. And despite the fact they are all literate, there is ignorance when it comes to understanding what freedom actually is.
To be in a position of power to implement more and more laws relating to tax-supported schools, and still have more and more illiteracy in this country, seems to me would be a common-sense sign it isn’t working.
The notion that a centralized power by a gun or threat of a gun, taking away individual property for the purpose of other individuals having freedom from something, is the crazies on its surface. That’s irrational thinking.
The more I hear from highly schooled persons in positions of power the more their ignorance is displayed. And the more apparent it becomes that one of the biggest problems we face is an absence of understanding of just what freedom is and means. And just how distorted and devalued it is in the minds of so many. It’s no wonder this country is in the crisis we now face when there is such a gross absence of understanding such a simple thing as the difference between “is” and “from.”
Back several years ago when so much attention was on President Clinton saying “it depends upon what the word ‘is’ is” most of us viewed the remark as the height of absurdity. But now it seems it was not such a stupid remark after all. As I reflect upon it today, we might all benefit by a better understanding of the difference between “is” and “from.”
Here’s a quote from “Leaves of Gold.”
“Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
In this connection, the sowing of so many distortions about the true meaning of individual freedom and private ownership of property clearly shows us how this sowing has laid the groundwork for the destiny of this country, which we now face. A destiny of bondage for all of us. Not something which might happen someday, but what is actually happening now.
In conclusion, here’s another quote by Gilbert K. Chesterton to think about . . .
“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”
I do wish Laura Bush the best of luck retiring on her ranch in Texas. There is enlightenment about the real role of political government and freedom in the book by Frederic Bastiat titled, “The Law” that can be obtained from the Laissez-Faire bookstore for $6.00.
Let Freedom Ring!
From “The Freedom Lady.”