That’s a question millions of Americans ask each other every week throughout the fall and early winter. Whether you prefer high school, college or the NFL is irrelevant: it is the nation’s unquestioned #1 sport, and everyone knows precisely what is meant upon hearing the question.
And yet: what happens if you ask the same question of an Englishman? Instantaneously, he’ll picture images of a soccer field in a rowdy stadium, with the latest exploits of Manchester United or some other local club replaying in his mind.
We purportedly speak the same language (English), and use the exact same word (“football”). The actual understood meanings of that word, however, are completely different.
And so it is with Barack Obama and “freedom”. Whenever he speaks of it, our president is supposedly speaking the same language as the country he leads, and yet “freedom” to Mr. Obama most certainly doesn’t mean what it does to you and me.
…and it certainly doesn’t mean what our Founders intended, either.
When Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama wrote a congratulatory letter saying:
“…We respect China’s extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want…”
Aside from the incredulity of an American President praising the human rights record of the Communist Chinese, Mr. Obama makes a truly startling and problematic statement: namely, that “dignity” comes with “freedom from want“.
I believe many if not most Americans, if asked for an example of someone with dignity, would point to a grandparent/elderly relative who toiled their entire life in what we today would consider poverty. Earlier generations scrimped and saved their money, battled illness and gave-up worldly comforts, all in an effort to provide for the education, material security and moral upbringing of their children and grandchildren.
These tremendous individuals were not anomalies but were instead the norm: people who refused a handout, who sacrificed for the family’s greater good and held their head high their entire lives as a result.
But now? The President today says that dignity comes from “Freedom from WANT…“. And in order to understand the bigger picture of Obama’s vision, we need to first examine a different speech, which he delivered in Burma:
“One of our greatest Presidents in the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, understood this truth…He called upon the world to embrace four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
These four freedoms reinforce one another, and you cannot fully realize one without realizing them all.”
Channeling FDR, Obama longs to continue the progressive/liberal dream of altering the very concept of freedom by deftly substituting “freedom of” with “freedom from“. Rather than freedom being a restriction on governmental power, it mutates into a rationale for expanding governmental power. Our current president goes even further, saying that these four freedoms “cannot exist” without one another.
He’s wrong, and dangerously so.
History has shown, repeatedly and mercilessly, that they cannot exist together at all. The power needed to ensure “freedom from want” destroys all other freedoms. More on that later, but for now let’s travel back to FDR’s Four Freedoms.
In January of 1941, with unemployment still stubbornly high despite initiating the country’s first peace time draft the previous year, FDR used the looming inevitable war as an opportunity to double down on his disastrous progressivism.
Masked by a veil of patriotic bluster, he proposed what became known as the Four Freedoms as a means of using the Bill of Rights to expand government’s reach into our lives.
Thankfully, the American people generally ignored Roosevelt’s faux freedoms, focused as they were on protecting traditional American values against the Nazi’s state-power behemoth. And yet, three years later and now praised as a victorious war leader, FDR attempted (again) to fashion freedom itself by pushing a “Second Bill of Rights”.
“…We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence…We have accepted…a second Bill of Rights…:
The right to a useful and remunerative job…The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation…The right of every family to a decent home…The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health…The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment… And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being…”
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? A right to “recreation”, and a “decent home”? New goals of “happiness”? Who could argue with any of that?
Fortunately for us, there’s an example of a nation that did guarantee all these things, and more. In fact, that nation felt so passionately about these alleged “freedoms” that they wrote them into their very Constitution:
- Citizens… are guaranteed the right to employment;
- Citizens… have the right to rest and leisure;
- Citizens…have the right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness.
What forward-thinking nation’s Constitution so boldly embodied the dreams of progressives? What kind and generous leader oversaw the fulfillment of Obama’s vision?
The was the 1936 Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Written under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.
As evidenced by the millions of Soviets brutally murdered and imprisoned by that same regime, Stalin had a markedly different definition of freedom than ours. By listing our true “inalienable” rights after the socialistic rights, Stalin revealed his contempt for the very idea of freedom as we know it.
The kicker came later in the Constitution:
- It is the duty of every citizen…to abide by the Constitution…,, to observe the laws, to maintain labor discipline, honestly to perform public duties, and to respect the rules of socialist intercourse.
And there’s the hard truth that Obama ignores, or hopes that we won’t notice. His cherished “freedom from want” is a “rule of socialist intercourse“, and the only way – the ONLY way to ensure no “want” – is to also ensure no “freedom”.
President Obama openly rejects the Founding Father’s views of freedom, of inalienable rights. Listen to his words from “Audacity of Hope”:
“…Implicit…in the very idea of ordered liberty… (is) a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or ‘ism,’ any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course, or drive both majorities and minorities into the cruelties of the Inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, or the jihad…”
Believing in the Bill of Rights? A “tyrannical consistency“. Obeying the Constitution? We must avoid an “unalterable course“. Obama dreams of expanding freedom by destroying it.
The freedoms understood by our Founding Fathers were “inalienable” and absolute, “endowed” to us by “our Creator“. Barack would have us believe otherwise, as he wrote in his campaign bestseller:
“…those buried at Gettysburg…remind us that we should pursue our own absolute truths only if we acknowledge that there may be a terrible price to pay…”
Our own “absolute truths”? Excuse me?
The American people are finally waking up to the reality of Barack Obama’s “absolute truth”: that freedom is an inconvenient truth that must be re-defined until all meaning is lost. Obama decries absolute truth by declaring his own, and he warns of the dangers of “the gulag” by building the rhetorical train to take us there.
Back in 2008, NPR’s Steve Inskeep commented upon this by saying,
“…Obama seems to suggest that while they are all important, that freedom from want and freedom from fear are the things that have to come first…”
But if such “freedoms” come first, then they must destroy all of what follows.
President Obama attacks the freedom of speech and the media are too enraptured with him to notice. For years his White House primarily restricted press pictures, instead issuing shots from his government employee photographer. Only recently has the media begun to object to such flagrant propaganda.
He relentlessly attacks religion, turning it into “freedom of worship”, …which is eerily reminiscent of the Soviet’s wonderful “freedom of conscience” protected in their Constitution. He even argues before the Supreme Court that churches cannot decide who their teachers and preachers are.
We know the sad and bloody history of socialism writ large in the Soviet bloc. And ironically FDR himself, in that same “Four Freedoms” speech, warned of the dangers of an arrogant leader who cared not about American values or strength:
“…We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests…”
So while you and I were watching football this past weekend, President Obama was busily feathering the nest of his own arrogance, clipping the wings of freedom as we know it. Yet to truly secure liberty for ourselves and for our posterity, we must first reject all those who wish to redefine freedom to only mean more power for them.
A superpower, rather than the Super Bowl, hangs in the balance. Not a National Title, but our NATION, is at risk.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Greg believes in the ideals upon which our Founding Fathers built our nation, that freedom and liberty are our inalienable birthright and do not come from the largess of an all-powerful state. A proud father of six kids and the husband of an amazingly gifted woman, he’s an amateur blogger at “In Veritate Fortitudo“, which means “In Truth – Courage”.
Please visit his blog, leave a comment, and help him put America back on the path of freedom …one blog post at a time.