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Freedom: America’s Supreme Love?

St. Augustine, the great Bishop of Hippo and one of the most influential figures in all of Christendom, argued that the best way to define a people is to discern what they love supremely. This principle is true for both individuals and nations. A person or a nation can be judged as healthy or unhealthy, noble or wicked, by what they love the most.

So what “supreme love” would define us as Americans?

Author Os Guinness shares his answer to this question in his latest book, A Free People’s Suicide. He writes:

Freedom is unquestionably what Americans love supremely, and love of freedom is what makes Americans the people they are…Freedom is, and will always be, America’s animating principle and her chief glory, her most important idea and her greatest strength.

It’s hard to argue with Guinness. Americans are truly freedom loving people. As a nation “conceived in liberty,” freedom has become the air we breathe. This is why freedom must be treasured and guarded lest, like the air we breathe, it becomes something we take for granted.

Guinness cautions that “unfettered freedom could prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the modern world, dissipating into license, triviality, corruption and a grand undermining of all authority…” This is why we must have a clear conception of true freedom and a blueprint for sustaining the unprecedented liberty we have enjoyed as a nation.

Can you see the signs of freedom decay in America? Do you know people who define “freedom” as the right to do whatever they please? Can you spot examples of where freedom has disintegrated in triviality (e.g. Politicians arguing for the right for free contraceptives while we are facing a 16 trillion dollar deficit)? The signs is misguided liberty abound!

In future blogs, we talk about the nature of true freedom and the ingredients of sustainable liberty.

  1. Paul Rothbard
    November 21st, 2012 at 03:08 | #1

    I’m not really sure you can really define the “supreme love” of 300 million people, but freedom certainly isn’t it. Security fits a lot better.

    If only people actually still loved freedom! Real love of freedom is also the acceptance of personal responsibility.

    Hedonism subsidized by the government and removing consequences for bad behavior has nothing to do with actual freedom, but instead just incentivizes immorality.

    I really hope you don’t demonize people that just want the government to leave them alone too much in these future posts.

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