Gary D's Take

The Essence of American Freedom

I was looking up the quote, “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I found that there was actually some controversy centered around this. the quote is popularly attributed to french philosopher Voltaire but has recently been traced to the writings of Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her book “Friends of Voltaire” Evidently Evelyn thought this was something that Voltaire would have said.

It occured to me that this statement summed up the essence of what America is all about. Interesting that it came from a frenchman…..but then so did the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,

 

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
 
It may seem odd that some of the greatest wisdom about our country comes from people who didn’t live here but then if you think about it,the best perspective is sometimes the one from a little distance.

 

History tells us everything we need to know about why this country came to be and what makes it great. Human nature being what it is, the message and more importantly the IDEAS have gotten watered down over the last 200 plus years but I believe that they live on in our hearts. All it takes is a refresher course to bring them back to us.
 
Naturally I am going to put a technological spin on this. I was doing an article for our newsletter about business advice from Benjamin Franklin and it occured to me that all of that wealth of knowledge that is the thoughts and ideas of our founding fathers is at our finger tips. Just do a Google for American Revolution or Patrick Henry:
“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Patrick Henry, n.d.

Samuel Adams
“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in the matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as the last asylum.”
 


Thomas Paine
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
Benjamin Rush
“Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families.”
What I love most about these quotes is their clarity. No one needs to guess what was on the minds of these men. No interpretation is needed.
I urge you to do a Google search of your own. I am sure that you will come away with a renewed enthusiasm for what our country is all about.
Please post what you came away with as a result of your search. Because…..“I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I will even give you a place to say it.