Op-Ed: The Definition of LibertyBy Ryan Edwards • October 9, 2020
“When are you going to stand for freedom, Coach? When are you going to do that? Is it worth a football game? Yes, It’s worth it.” A frustrated Ammon Bundy just wanted to watch his son play football. Emmett High School was playing Caldwell High School in Caldwell, ID on October first, 2020 when the superintendent of Caldwell Schools canceled the game at the half because Ammon Bundy wasn’t wearing a mask in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic. Ammon was first turned away at the entrance, then was confronted when he was standing outside the gate of the football complex. Emmett was leading Caldwell 35-0 at the time of cancellation. Liberty is obviously more than just football. Liberty is an extremely broad subject. We often sing “land of the free”, but what happened to Ammon Bundy and many more around the country proves just how free we aren’t.
My motivation to pen this op-ed is not to force views onto others, but to help people better understand what liberty truly means.
I find it incredulous how everyone seems to take liberty for granted, and very few actually know what it means. The basic synopsis of liberty is that I make choices that best serve my life, and you do the same. Don’t hurt people, don’t steal their stuff, and don’t damage their property. It is truly that simple. This means that people will live their life in a way that you disagree with. This is one of the most basic foundations of a peaceful and free society. This also includes not advocating for, nor using the state to enforce your ideas of how society should be on other people. That is the very antithesis of liberty.
Greg Pruett, the founder and president of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and founder of Keep Idaho Free has long said conservatives NEED to get active. They need to rise up, get out of their house, and be a part of liberty. Conservatives have become to be extremely reactionary to the left, and have grown to only care about particular topics when the left tries to push them. Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” We are living in that time. We are living in that time of fiat mandates that destroy liberty are signed into a supposed law. We are in that time where liberty is going extinct.
Lysander Spooner wrote, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – either it has authorized such a government to exist or has been powerless to prevent it.” Conservatives have long looked to the Constitution to save them. They look for other people to stand up and defend its principles. Ideally, the Constitution is the best way to have a government system. Some may argue that the Articles of Confederation was a better document, but in the case of ratified documents through proper due process, the Constitution of the United States is arguably holding the best structure to form a government. With that said, government attracts the worst of society. Through years of constant abuses by government politicians and unelected bureaucrats incapable of being held accountable, it has created a honey pot for the worst kind of people to bully, lie, and blackmail their way to positions of power. George MacDonald said, “It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellow men.” This brings back my original point and the topic of Ammon Bundy. Ammon and people like him threaten these bureaucrats and power-hungry politicians. There was absolutely no need to cancel that high school football game, but the superintendent did it anyway. This is the power of government, checked or unchecked. Government does three things: it grows, it manipulates/oppresses, and it infringes. Government will do what government wants regardless of what anyone says or does.
Politicians and bureaucrats are learning very quickly just how much power they actually have. The power they hold is not measurable in the form of a percentage or number. In fact, their power is near infinite. There are a total of three states (Florida, Oregon, and South Dakota) that never had COVID-19 mandates or directives over religious gatherings. Many states allowed houses of worship to remain open, but still forced them to operate a certain way such as only having 10 or less people, forcing the attendees to have masks, and even California banned singing. Some states such as New Jersey and California, completely closed houses of worship. These are all examples of infringing on the liberty to worship freely, and is an obvious violation of the First Amendment. The principle is this: what is stopping any of them from doing that to any of your liberties? The answer: nothing. Not even good people in office can completely stop government from rearing its ugly head from abusing its power, and destroying every single one of your liberties. “You tell me when there was a country, who was like a great nation, a superpower, started as a republic, then turned into an empire, and then spent itself way too far into debt, expanded itself way too far militarily, and then the culture started to fall apart, and then everything worked out great.” -Dave Smith
The greatest minority in society isn’t people of color or the LGBTQ community, but the individual. As Spike Cohen, Libertarian Party nominee for Vice President of the United States, so clearly states, “You are the power.” It is up to you, the individual, to fight for your liberties. Famous economist, Ludwig Von Mises said, “It is not mankind, the state, or the corporative unit that acts, but individual men, and their valuations, and their actions are decisive, not those of abstract collectivities.” This does not come in the form of sharing what you believe to be patriotic memes with your friends and preaching to the philosophical choir, but being active in grassroots groups and in your community. Voluntarily donating money and time to grassroots groups in your state, being involved in protests, and testifying in legislative sessions on behalf of bills that would remove restrictions on you is a powerful way to bring the power back to you.
Liberty is far too often taken for granted, treated like something that just stays with you forever. Liberty is but a privilege to those willing to fight for it, gifted from those that do. Fight for your rights, fight for liberty. Become the power.
Tags: Action, Conservatives, Constitution, Ludwig Von Mises, Power, Ryan Edwards, Spike Cohen