If Just One Man Defies Tyranny, Freedom Still Lives

By Ron Ewart

“If men within themselves would be governed by reason, and not generally give up their understanding to a double tyranny, of custom from without, and blind affections within; they would discern better what it is to favor and uphold the tyrant of a nation.  But being slaves, no wonder that they strive so much to have the public state conformably governed to the inward vicious rule, by which they govern themselves.  For indeed none can love freedom heartily, but good men: the rest love not freedom, but license: which never hath more scope, or more indulgence than under tyrants.”  John Milton, English poet and intellectual (1608 to 1674)

Many times we have written that men without honor are incapable of defending, much less preserving, freedom.  As John Milton says, “For indeed none can love freedom heartily, but good men. ” Good men with honor.

Honor is “the adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct.”  In simple terms, the “conventional standard’ of conduct for humans is “to treat others in the same way you wish to be treated and to be true to your word.”  Without honor there can be no trust and society eventually breaks down into corruption, chaos, anarchy, or worse, fascism as we are seeing now in many parts of the country today.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “When we come to the moral principles on which the government is to be administered, we come to what is proper for all conditions of society.  Liberty, truth, probity, honor, are declared to be the four cardinal principles of society.  I believe that morality, compassion, generosity, are innate elements of the human constitution; that there exists a right, independent of force.”

Freedom will be preserved and tyranny vanquished as long as there are good men with honor who will pledge that honor, their lives and their fortunes in the name of freedom.

Thomas Paine, during the Revolutionary War, wrote:

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

So today, we must ask ourselves in a time of our own conflict, confusion and turmoil, how “dear” is freedom?   What price do we put on its defense?  Are we the summer soldier or the sunshine patriot that, in crisis, shrinks from the service of country?  Or, are we who stand by it now, the vanguards of freedom, will, in the end, be its savior?  But if there not be enough of us who stand steadfast for freedom, will the summer soldier or the sunshine patriot come out of the shadows to join the battle?  Or will they wait until the loose chains that bind them are tightened and locked forever and freedom becomes but a dim, retreating memory?

In a portion of a poem we wrote several years ago, we described freedom thus:

You can’t see freedom
You can only be free.
You can’t touch freedom,
It’s a phantom you see.

A phantom we hold
In our hearts and minds.
A fleeting memory we are told,
Should we it let slip away,
On the winds of time.

In reality, Americans are letting the phantom of freedom “slip away on the winds of time.”

The experiment of American freedom is approaching a precipice, where even the summer soldiers or sunshine patriots are hard to find and just a handful of the “Vanguards of Freedom” exist to remind us all that the price of freedom is truly eternal vigilance.

Freedom has become passé, old hat and out of date.  Soft socialism has taken its place in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, mostly who live in big cities.  Hard socialism is warming up in the wings under the guise of “better” government, as described by socialist “Bernie Sanders.”  This freedom “phantom” doesn’t seem to fit with our complex, complicated and fast-pace, high-tech lifestyle any more.

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