Liberty is a concept that I'd like to you to view as a condition of the State of Nature.
Two, three hundred years ago, folks just like you and I decided that the conditions under which we lived trampled over our natural state. That there was a thuggery of influence and power that attempted to keep us, the common man, under the heel of the thug. The Parliament. The Congress, if you will. There are several recent attempts at compensating us for this thuggery. One is, health care reform. Nowadays, it seems that there is a class action suit waiting behind the curtains for any imagined or real threat to an individual, under the guise of protecting the individual described in the context of the State of Nature.
There was a convenient convergence that occurred in English Law and the writings of political and logicians between the 16th and 17th Centuries. The critical moment in my view of history, was the moment when Martin Luther decided to oppose the Church. This was, in my opinion, the single most important moment of the Western Movement. Three hundred, four hundred years ago, my ancestors were chattel. Four hundred years ago, my ancestors worked under the ownership of their Baron. My ancestors were part and parcel of the land they laboured under. The Baron that owned them had ultimate rights to them, as chattel, as mere accoutrements to the land they owned. This, because my ancestors lived under the European autocracy, rather than the British aristocracy. My Great-Grandfather left Schleswige-Holstein when it was under control of Austria. It had been a part of Denmark. It was later a part of Germany. Then, France until today, who knows?
Recently, it has become a part and parcel of political debate that the forces that allowed us to create a free society are commensurate with the forces of slavery. I can't even begin to think about the kind of mind that would allow those two thoughts to formulate within the same brain at the same time. Much of what I hear of the current political debate surrounds itself in rhetoric that announces that the role of government is to "take care of" those who either cannot, or choose not, to take care of themselves. I keep thinking back to those years when my ancestors were chattel to their Baronic masters, and ask myself, "why would I want a return to seigniorage, when the whole affect of the Western Movement was to accept the primacy of the individual, and to encourage the protection of the individual, in the face of the collusion of the State.
Walking the steps of Il Duomo, walking on the graves of the Medici, as a free American, was an interesting exercise. The State without limits. A Church without limits. In it's time. As an American, I grew up knowing that there was not other person on the face of the Earth with greater, or fewer, rights that those that I had. Whether Bishop or Pope, King or Sultan, I was imbued with the same, inalienable rights as that Bishop, Pope, King or Sultan. Four hundred years ago, my ancestors were the chattel of their Baron. In the 16th Century, this Augustinian prelate, this Luther, wrote some terribly seditious words against the Church. Those words planted seeds. The need for intercession was questioned. Then, for the Protestant, negated.
The State of Nature is an important idea. What is the State of Nature? Upon discovery of the New World, European philosophers spent a great deal of time trying to ascribe to the New World characteristics that never existed in the New World. However, following upon the footsteps of Luther, their ideas weren't solipsistic in the main. Some were. There was a beginning point that developed on the thoughts of fellas like Newton and DesCartes that built upon the ideas of tabula rasa, and created the first rational ideas of humans, and their existence in political terms, that worked toward a reduction that left out prior beliefs that there was a hierarchy of men over others based upon externalities. Just because you were "born" a King didn't mean that you had any rights other than those accorded to any other human being.
This kind of thinking wasn't prevalent in 16th or 17th Century Europe. Remember, the Revolution in France didn't occur until after the Revolution in America. Readers of American History tend to miss the importance of their relative independence, prior to the Declaration of Independence, to European history, which lagged behind the "progressiveness" of the American political situation for more than decades. Not that there's any thing wrong with a monarch. We just chose not to have one. England, among others, still chooses. As Americans, the bonds that held us as "subjects" were tested on several fronts. Those bonds are being tested today.
Is there a class of people who have greater authority over us than ourselves? We don't allow it from prelates. We don't allow it from the landed gentry. We don't allow it even from those who tell us that they have title over us. There is no slavery in America. In America, no man shall hold sway over me. And I shall not have title to hold sway over you. To allow any man sway over you is to allow his tyranny over you.
What Martin Luther wrote about some hundreds of years ago is important. But we don't teach anything related to religion to our children anymore. Luther was a "Lutheran." And a "Catholic." It can't get any more terrible than this. Imagine what it must be like, being a child, to try to follow the development of Western thought while excluding Luther, the Church and Religion. The secular Left is attempting to create an ex nihilo world that doesn't make any sense, any more sense than the existence that is explained by a giant turtle carrying the world on its back.
As the off-spring of a serf, the most important thing I can tell you is, working your way back to serfdom seems like an ill-advised course. A brief digression.
In 1963, a young man came to live in my house. He was an Iranian. His family owned the villages under his family's control. I asked him, what do you mean? He told me, he owned them. He didn't want it to be the case, but how, he asked, was he to change the system?
How do you change the system?
Most, if not all of us, come from "humble roots." For those of us whose families lived in the North prior to the Civil War, for some of us whose ancestors lived in the South prior to the Civil War, for all of us who came to this country after the Civil War, what roots do we have in the slavery of Blacks in America that differs from our slavery under Europe? And, what conditions of privilege of this mendacity of spirit would allow us to defend a system of tutelage, under which we give up certain human liberties in order to be assured of being kept well, would allow us to accept this tutelage?
Liberty is our right. From God, to Luther, to DesCartes, to you, if you think you know the truth about any, single, one, thing, it comes to you as the truth, and no other interlocution can, or should sway your thinking. Liberty isn't always about being right. If you're wrong, you must needs pay the price for your failure.
But, liberty is about the freedom to hold your own opinions. And, to be secure in yourself and your possessions, even if you hold an opinion contrary to those around you.
Our Founding Fathers knew this. So, you should know this, too.