What is Freedom?

    March 24, 2003

This week we are at war. War is an unfortunate reality of life we too often face.

I spent a good deal of time thinking about what I would write about the war, patriotism, supporting our troops, etc. When it all came down to it, I decided the best response to this war for me was to express the value that freedom has for me:

Freedom means choices.

Those of us who live in the “free” world often take our choices for granted. Consider for just a moment how different our lives would be without freedom:

Because of freedom…

We can choose to worship any way we choose, or not at all. We can marry and raise a family without being told who to marry or how many children we can have. Our children can choose an education and job that fits their abilities and talents. Our families will never know a day of hunger or homelessness.

But that isn’t all. Consider that freedom is the basis for the prosperity of the west. While some choose to use that prosperity as an excuse for excess, it is that prosperity that also enables generosity.

Because of freedom…

We can choose what we would like to cook for dinner–or grab a pizza. We change furniture, cars and even homes to suit our sense of personal style. Our children play free from fear. Our entertainment choices are so vast we have to be careful to not over-indulge. We have the ability to accumulate wealth and give up working completely–something almost unknown in less prosperous areas of the world. The worst charity cases–at least here in the US–have a higher standard of living than the vast majority of people in other countries.

These are all the choices we have because of freedom. But they aren’t the most important one. As important as all of these are, freedom gives us another choice. A choice unheard of through most of the history of man. Because of the prosperity afforded by freedom…

We can choose to help others from our abundance.

It was the freedom loving nations of this world who rebuilt Europe and Japan after the tragedy of World War II. It will be the freedom loving nations of this world who will rebuild the areas trampled by this war. Those are things that prosperous nations can and should do.

But there is also the individual responsibility of freedom.

I can’t rebuild a nation, but I can share some of what I have–whether it be material possessions or just companionship–with someone in need. I can choose to make a difference in their life.

So can you.

Kevin Bidwell is owner of

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