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December 6th, 2016

The Blessings of Liberty

Editor,
A number of people have asked me what I am trying to convey when I write about the blessings of liberty and the tyranny of socialism. When I was a much younger man I witnessed the last stages of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Americans of my generation were immersed in the gut wrenching true stories of men, women and children trying to escape the tyranny of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. These people were desperate to escape to what was called the free world. They were searching for liberty. Part of the common language of Americans at that time included the words liberty, freedom, socialism and communism.

On November 10, 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain separating the two worlds fell. I find it both sad and frightening that only a generation has passed and so many of my fellow citizens do not appreciate and understand the concepts of liberty and socialism.

I have found the following definitions for both. Socialism is a category that falls under the broader definition of collectivism.

“Collectivism is a system that values the group more than the individual. Under this system, a ruling authority arbitrarily sets common moral, social and economic aims, to achieve those aims, dictates the standards by which individuals live and work. Collectivist creed is often promoted in terms of idealized outcomes: social justice, security, and economic equality. Achieving these outcomes, however, requires the progressive destruction of Western Civilization’s tradition of human and economic freedom. For a collectivist system to “succeed”, individuals must lose the inalienable right to life and liberty, including the freedom to pursue their economic interests. Progressivism, socialism, statism, communism, totalitarianism, Nazism, and Marxism are various forms of collectivism and are all tyrannies against the individual.” — Author unknown.

“Why is liberty so important? Liberty is precious, rare, never guaranteed, and always threatened. It can be lost in a single generation if it’s not advanced and defended.

Liberty follows from human nature: We are unique individuals, not a blob or an army of robots to be programmed by those with power.

To be fully human, all of us must be free to exercise our choices and govern our lives so long as we permit the same of others.

Liberty works. Over and over again, it produces a degree of interpersonal cooperation, innovation, and wealth creation that allows human beings to flourish — nothing else even comes close.

Liberty is the only social, political, or economic arrangement that requires that we live to high standards of conduct and character and rewards us when we do so. This is a crucial difference between liberty and the soul-crushing, paternalistic snares that are offered as alternatives.

Life without liberty is unthinkable. Who wants to live at the end of another’s leash, fearing at every turn what those armed with force and power might do to us, even if they have good intentions?” — Foundation for Economic Education.

It is stunning to me that of all the states in our republic, the citizens of our state of Vermont have so thoroughly forgotten the difference between the two conditions.

Vermonters would do well to remember the words of President Calvin Coolidge.

“I could not look upon the peaks of Ascutney, Killington, Mansfield and Equinox without being moved in a way that no other scene could move me. It was here that I first saw the light of day; here I received my bride; here my dead lie pillowed on the loving breast of our everlasting hills. I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all, because of her indomitable people. They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves to serve others. If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the union and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont.” — September 21, 1928

Stu Lindberg
Cavendish, VT

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