Mr. Lutz is the editor, publisher and chief writer of The Tocquevillian magazine. He also writes and maintains a fitness website, and has been widely published in print media and on the web, mostly on health and fitness topics and on men's issues.
He is a member of the NRA, the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Heritage Foundation, and Judicial Watch. In his spare time he helps old ladies cross the street and is kind to children and puppies - habits which, admittedly, belie his unusual appearance.
Freedom isn't everything...it's the only thing.
by Wayne Lutz
"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature." - Benjamin Franklin
"Freedom is not the sole perogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings." - Ronald Regan, June 1982, London.
"The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity. - George W. Bush, State of the Union, 2003
The history of humankind could be distilled down to a story of one great, long struggle to be free. The desire to be free has always been and remains man's deepest longing, a longing that can be denied only by the force and violence of other men. The United States was founded on the principle articulated in the three quotes above - that freedom is a natural right and cannot be granted by mere men. But freedom can be taken away by men, and so governments exist for the purpose of protecting that right to liberty that our founders recognized as self-evident.
It is this fundamental understanding of the unalienable human right to freedom that has made the United States the most wealthy, powerful and moral nation that the world has ever known. But, to a moral people, along with great wealth and great power come great responsibility. And there can be no greater responsiblity or righteous cause than to use American power and wealth to spread the freedom that we take for granted to the rest of the world.
The morality of it aside, American interest in bringing liberty to other nations can be seen in a practical light as well. Democratic nations do not make war on each other. Political, personal and economic freedom is the only environment in which wealth grows, and people who live with prosperity do not covet that which other people possess. Free people are peaceful people.
Consider this map from Freedom House: The color yellow indicates countries that are free. The light green are countries that are somewhat free, and the dark green are countries that are not free.
The vast majority of the totalitarian states are Islamofascist (with a little old-fashioned Communism thrown in for good measure). That region of the world is the source of most of the violence and war of our time. That region of the world is a cauldrin, cooking up a witch's brew of violence, the ingredients being poverty born of oppression, totalitarian brutality, terrorism, and a handful of weapons of mass destruction thrown in for some bite.
The United States, having now been attacked its own soil by the products of that culture of violence, has three choices; we can do nothing, which would be tantamount to suicide, we could do like Israel does and, when they come after us, we kill some of them, then they kill some more of us, and on and on while the region becomes more militarily powerful and destructive, or we can take our fate into our own hands and use the power, wealth and compassion of America to change that culture of violence forever. The United States, thank God, has leaders who possess the courage and determination to do what has to be done.
But in this new age of American "nation building," there is a large and vocal contingent that asserts that some people cannot handle freedom. The idea of establishing a democratic form of government in the Middle East has been ridiculed or dismissed as impossible by the American and European left (and, to be fair, by a good number of those on the right - many Libertarians and even some Conservatives).
That idea that the Muslim world cannot live with democracy represents the height of Western arrogance and bigotry. The yearning to live free, as we have seen, is fundamental to all human beings. The lack of freedom in Islamic nations is a result of common, garden-variety thugs and dictators, not of the culture. Thugs and dictators do not have to be Muslims to covet power, and men do not have to be Christians or Jews to covet freedom.
Japan in 1945 was still a feudal society, ruled by an emperor and its military. It was a racist country of totalitarian rule and had been that way for a thousand years. No Japanese citizen had ever voted in a free election. Women had no rights and were often brutalized and treated as property.
But the United States undertook to change that culture of violence when we occupied Japan in 1945. We did not try to convert the Japanese to Christianity as a condition of their liberty - far from it, we introduced the concept of democracy while respecting the ancient Japanese culture. The same thing happened in South Korea, and and it can happen in the Muslim world. But it can only happen with American leadership and our continued presence, to ensure protection and guidance and aid to people only just now learning what it means to be free. Not only does America have a moral right to try to bring freedom to the Muslim world, we have a moral responsibility to our fellow human beings to do so, because we are Americans.
General Eisenhower spoke to this quality of the American people in his farewell address:
"We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibiliteis; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of pverty, disease, and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love."
Freedom isn't everything. It's the only thing.
© 2002 Tocqevillian Magazine