Chapter 9
Free Agency—Freedom—Liberty

In these days of uncertainty and unrest, liberty-loving people’s greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim the freedom of the individual, his relationship to Deity, and the necessity of obedience to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—only thus will mankind find peace and happiness.

President David O. McKay, CR-10/62:8

      Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty(1) and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (Prophet Lehi, Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:27)

      Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Apostle Paul, Bible, Galatians 5:1)

      A Mission to be Free.      Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom, and the rights of man. There are certain principles that belong to humanity outside of the Constitution, outside of the laws, outside of all the enactments and plans of man, among which is the right to live; God gave us the right and not man; no government gave it to us, and no government has a right to take it away from us.(2) (3) [p. 135]

      We have a right to liberty—that was a right that God gave to all men; and if there has been oppression, fraud or tyranny in the earth, it has been the result of the wickedness and corruptions of men and has always been opposed to God and the principles of truth, righteousness, virtue, and all principles that are calculated to elevate mankind.(4) (President John Taylor, 1882, JD-23:63)

      In the spread and perpetuation of the Christian principles that found expression in this cherished government of ours, the Church played the principal role. It has a great stake in freedom. It must be equally zealous to preserve and maintain it. It is its duty whenever that is threatened, either by direct assault or the insidious undermining of the principles on which it rests, to raise its voice in warning and in protest and to throw its whole influence into the scales to preserve that freedom under which men may live and grow toward the ideals taught by the Master.(5) (Albert E. Bowen, CR-10/41:143)

      Free Agency—The Gift Divine.      Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man. One of the most urgent needs today is the preservation of individual liberty. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift to every normal being. Whether born in abject poverty or shackled at birth by inherited riches, everyone has this most precious of all life’s endowments—the gift of free agency—man’s inherited and inalienable right.

      Free agency is the impelling source of the soul’s progress. It is the purpose of the Lord that man become like him. In order for man to achieve this it was necessary for the Creator first to make him free. “Personal liberty,” says Bulwer-Lytton, “is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness.”

      References in the scriptures show that this principle of free agency is (1) essential to man’s salvation; and may become a [p. 136] measuring rod by which the actions of men, of organizations, and of nations may be judged.

      I do not know that there was ever a time in the history of mankind when the evil one seemed so determined to strike at this fundamental virtue of free agency.

      I am not one of those who see in the world catastrophes the hand of God as their cause. I do not believe that God has caused the misery in the world today. I do believe that the conditions of the world today are a direct result—an inevitable result—of disobedience to God’s laws.

      With free agency there comes responsibility.(6) If man is to be rewarded for righteousness and punished for evil, then common justice demands that he be given the power of independent action. A knowledge of good and evil is essential to man’s progress on earth. If he were coerced to do right at all times, or were helplessly enticed to commit sin, he would merit neither a blessing for the first nor a punishment for the second. Man’s responsibility is correspondingly operative with his free agency. Actions in harmony with divine law and the laws of nature will bring happiness, and those in opposition to divine truth, misery. Man is responsible not only for every deed, but also for every idle word and thought.

      Freedom of the will and the responsibility associated with it are fundamental aspects of Jesus’ teachings. Throughout his ministry he emphasized the worth of the individual and exemplified what is now expressed in modern revelation as “his work and his glory.” (See Moses 1:39) Only through the divine gift of soul freedom is such progress possible.

      Force, on the other hand, emanates from Lucifer himself. Even in man’s pre-existent state, Satan sought power to compel the human family to do his will by suggesting that the free agency of man be inoperative. If his plan had been accepted, human beings would have become mere puppets in the hands of a dictator, and the purpose of man’s coming to earth would have been frustrated. Satan’s proposed system of government, therefore, [p. 137] was rejected, and the principle of free agency established in its place.

      There is another responsibility correlated and even coexistent with free agency, which is too infrequently emphasized, and that is the effect not only of a person’s actions, but also of his thoughts.

      Man radiates what he is, and that radiation affects to a greater or less degree every person who comes within that radiation.

      Force rules the world today. Individual freedom is threatened by international rivalries and false political ideals. Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency, if enacted, will seductively undermine man’s right of free agency, rob him of his rightful liberties, and make him but a cog in the crushing wheel of regimentation.

      It is well ever to keep in mind the fact that the state exists for the individual; not the individual for the state. Any form of government that destroys or undermines the free exercise of free agency is wrong. Liberty becomes then license, and the man a transgressor. It is the function of the state to curtail the violator and to protect the violated.

      God is standing in the shadow of eternity, it seems to me, deploring the inevitable results of the follies, the transgressions, and the sins of his wayward children, but we cannot blame him for these any more than we can blame a father who might say to his son:

There are two roads, my son, one leading to the right, one leading to the left. If you take the one to the right, it will lead you to success and to happiness. If you take the one to the left, it will bring upon you misery and unhappiness and perhaps death, but you choose which you will. You must choose; I will not force either upon you . . . .

      The power of choice is within you—the roads are clearly marked. In making the choice, may God give you clear-seeing, strong wills, courageous hearts! (President David O. McKay, 1962, E-65:86)

      The Cause of Liberty.      There are many in the world who see hanging over the international horizon threatening clouds also. There are storms ahead!

      I am prompted by the outlook to take as a text for the few words that I shall say this morning, an encouraging thought from the Thirty-first Psalm: [p. 138]

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24.)

      Sixty or seventy years ago, when United States history was an essential course in elementary public school teaching, many a boy was thrilled by Patrick Henry’s dramatic declaration:

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! [See P. 516 for full address.]

      Patrick Henry was then a delegate to the Second Revolutionary Convention held at Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775.

      The Creator, who gave man life, planted in his heart the seed of liberty. Free agency, as life, is a gift from God.

Do you wish to be free? Then above all things, love God, love your neighbor, love one another, love the common weal; then you will have true liberty. (Savonarola.)

      Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of action within boundaries that do not infringe upon the liberty of others are man’s inherent right, granted him by his Creator—divine gifts “essential to human dignity and human happiness.”

      “Therefore, cheer up your hearts,” admonished an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon, “and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves . . . .” (2 Nephi 10:23)

This love of liberty which God has planted in us constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and independence. It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts, our army, and our navy. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and we have planted the seeds of despotism at our very doors. (Abraham Lincoln) . . .

      Throughout the history of the world man has contended even to death to free himself from bondage and usurpation, or to retain the freedom he already possessed. This is particularly true in regard to the right to worship. Attempts to control the consciences of men have always resulted in conflict. To decide one’s own relationship to the Creator and to his creations is the natural and inalienable right of all.

      Equally fundamental and important to man’s happiness and progress is the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property. The right of personal security consists in the enjoyment of life, limbs, body, health, and reputation. Life, being the immediate gift of God, is a right inherent by nature in every individual. Likewise, man has [p. 139] a natural inherent right to his limbs. His personal liberty consists in the right of changing one’s situation or habitation according to will. The right of property consists in the free use, enjoyment, and disposal of all acquisitions, without control or diminution save by the laws of the land. The right of private property is sacred and inviolable. If any part of these inalienable individual possessions should be required by the State, they should be given only with the consent of the people.(7)

      My brethren and sisters, the ultimate purpose of Christianity in the world is to develop an honorable, upright individual in an ideal society known as the kingdom of God. (President David O. McKay, CR-10/61:5-7)

      Freedom of Choice—A Most Audacious Experiment.

Freedom of choice is probably the most audacious experiment in creation—man’s endowment with freedom of choice. No other creature on earth has such freedom. Everything else in the universe, everything, animate or inanimate, follows a pattern to which it is bound and from which it cannot escape. Only man is free to control himself or run uncontrolled, to pray or to curse, to become a saint or be a sinner. As we regard ourselves in this light, the conviction dawns that God in us is aiming at the production of superior beings, creatures of such high order that we may be both worthy and capable of cooperation with God in the unfinished work of creation. (The Freeman, July, 1962, p. 5)

      There are four fundamental institutions that contribute to our success and happiness: first, the home; second, the Church; third, the school; fourth, the government . . . .

      Fourth, is the government, the duty of which is to protect these other three in the fulfillment of their mission, not to dictate, but to protect and guide; and that brings me to what I should like to say this afternoon about the value or mission of our government to give freedom to these other institutions and to the individual. [p. 140]

      On one occasion Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him:

            If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

      You will note that Jesus at that time spoke to those who believed in Him, and yet in the following paragraph in the Bible, we find someone in the group who challenged Him, saying:

We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man; how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed . . . . (John 8:33-36)

      Freedom is the most precious possession of life, next to life itself. All human beings crave it, even dictators, for themselves. Today there are two contending forces battling for the souls of men, battling for their minds, struggling for their support and adherence. A justice of the Supreme Court in our neighboring state of Colorado made this statement:

At the present time the world stands poised on the precipitous canyon walls of an abyss, the potential depth and darkness of which dwarfs all the experiences of the past. Unless this abyss can be bridged successfully, there is little hope that civilization can survive the holocaust and the ruin that would follow an all-out nuclear war.

      Here in the United States we have a guarantee of liberty. It is Amendment Number One in the Bill of Rights. Note it:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition to government for redress of grievances . . . .

      Do you feel to thank God for the freedom you have here in this house? The government should protect the individual and his property.(8) Do you remember sometime ago of the conversation Prime Minister Churchill had with Stalin prior to the latter’s death, during the Second World War, where, in conversation, [p. 141] Stalin said, in answer to the question, “How many men have you killed?” He answered, “Ten million.” Ten million kulaks. Do you know what a kulak is? One who does not conform to a particular standard. And then, four years before that Second World War, ten million were killed.

      In the United States we have the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the protection of the government in our individual affairs. I mention it now because I think that Justice of the Supreme Court is right when he says we are on a precipice, the depths of the chasm of which no man knows. I mention it further because members of the Church should keep in mind what Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him: “If ye follow me (that is, continue in my word), ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

      Joshua said, “Choose you this day,” when the children of Israel were in sight of the promised land. The promised land is before you young people; it is before us all. We, too, must choose, and if we would be free and happy, in the home, in Church, in school, and in the government, choose the way of Christ—“If ye follow me (continue in my word),” He said to His disciples. A simple plan, glorious and divine, and the base of it is the foundation we find in the two principles I have named: Freedom to think and choose, to act without restraint or dictation from government or any group, so long as we do not deprive another of that same privilege. That is fundamental! So fundamental today in our Church, in our Nation, when over half the people in the world are being subjected to tyranny and dictatorship . . . .

      Jesus said to those of the Twelve, “If ye continue in my word . . . ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”(9) The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the perfect law of freedom. (President David O. McKay, CN-8/24/63)

      Liberty—A Gift of God.      Let it never be forgotten that our concept of liberty is a gift.(10) No human is the author of that concept. Many great men have so recognized it as did Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and declared that “men are endowed with certain inalienable rights.” [p. 142] Why are these rights inalienable? Because men did not create the right to liberty! In the exercise of his free agency he may surrender his privileges, and his property, and he may become the slave of others or of the state, but his free agency is as native to him as the air he breathes. It is part and parcel of his eternal constitution, and Jefferson was righter than I think he himself knew when he declared it an endowment which cannot be alienated.

      The message which we bear affirms that God is the Author of our inalienable liberty; that men, all men, are of noble lineage, sons and daughters of the Eternal Father; and that liberty is their birthright. (Stephen L Richards, CR-10/47:134)

      What is the foundation of the rights of man? The Lord Almighty has organized man for the express purpose of becoming an independent being like unto Himself, and has given him his individual agency. (President Brigham Young, 1855, JD-2:313)

      You understand that you have organizations endowed with a certain portion of divine intelligence, which is supreme, absolute, and independent in its sphere . . . . All intelligent beings are also endowed with certain inalienable rights, privileges, and powers inherent in them. When God organized intelligent beings, he organized them as independent beings to a certain extent, as he is himself. (President Brigham Young, 1857, JD-6:146)

      You and I have that divine principle within us, and here you may determine that the forces operating in the world today, Communism particularly, are perils denying the right of individuals to choose. Individual freedom is denied by the Communists, and they will Jail.(11) They will flourish for a time, but they will never succeed because the Russian people themselves have that divine gift, and that is why Stalin had to kill three million of them when he tried to make them come under his Agricultural Co-operative, denying them the right of free agency to make their own living to cultivate their own farms. (President David O. McKay, CN-5/14/55) [p. 143]

      Of this we can be sure: Liberty is a thing of the spirit.(12) A man must nourish it and cherish it in his heart as he does love for his wife and children. Except for its manifestation as a quality in human life it has no existence. Governments cannot confer it; they can only protect the individual in the enjoyment of it. Navies and armies cannot bestow it; they can only defend its exercise. No people can possess it unless they make themselves worthy of it. (Albert E. Bowen, CR-10/40:125)

      Another standard, or principle—free agency. When the Father said in the beginning, whenever that was, “You may choose for yourself,” he implanted in his Son part of his divinity.(13) None other of his creations has it—the power of choice. You may do good, or do evil. You may say “Yes” or say “No”. The communist power . . . would take that from you. That is another evidence that it is wrong. Let us stamp it out in the United States. (President David O. McKay, CN-8/2/58)

      Free Agency—A Measuring Rod. The history of the world with all its contention and strife is largely an account of man’s effort to free himself from bondage and usurpation, or to protect himself in the freedom he possessed.

      In the light of the principle of Free Agency, it is not difficult to distinguish between the right and the wrong system of government. It is not difficult to tell when an organization transcends its bounds, and becomes despotic . . . .

      To live in a land in which each individual has the right to life and liberty is a glorious privilege.

      If any man in this country prefers a government ruled by a dictator he should go where the dictator rules; but here in the United States of America the people believe in a government as [p. 144] Abraham Lincoln declared, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” (President David O. McKay, CR-4/40:116-8)

      All we have to do is just to examine any movement that may be brought into our midst whether it be social or political or what not, and if it has the earmarks of an attempt to deprive us in the slightest respect of our free agency, we should avoid it as we would avoid immorality or anything else that is vicious. I am sure that free agency is as necessary for our eternal salvation as is our virtue. And just as we guard our virtue with our lives, so should we guard our free agency.

      It has been my experience, to the extent that I have had experience in this mortal sphere, that wherever I permit anyone to perform any of the functions which the Lord expected I should perform for myself, that to the extent I do this, I become that other mans’ slave . . . . Those of us who can read only need to read what has passed in history. Whenever there has been any influence or any powers which have undertaken to control the welfare of mankind to the extent that they have contributed to their support, they dominated them in their lives. There isn’t a social order on earth today but if we were to follow long enough and far enough would rob us of our free agency . . . .

      Let us look carefully into every movement on the face of the earth today that undertakes to bind the hands of men; that undertakes to deprive them of their own free agency in life and prevents them from deciding every moment of their life whether they’ll go to the right or to the left. (Henry D. Moyle, CR-10/47:46.)

      This principle of free agency and the right of each individual to be free not only to think but also to act within bounds that grant to every one else the same privilege, are sometimes violated even by churches that claim to each the doctrine of Jesus Christ. The attitude of any organization toward this principle of freedom is a pretty good index to its nearness to the teachings of Christ or to those of the Evil One.(14) . . . (President David O. McKay, CR-4/50:36)

      I wish to say with all the earnestness I possess that when the youth and maidens see any curtailment of these liberties I have named, when you see government invading any of these realms of freedom which we have under our Constitution, you [p. 145] will know that they are putting shackles on your liberty,(15) and that tyranny is creeping upon you,(16) no matter who curtails these liberties or who invades these realms, and no matter what the reason and excuse therefor may be.(17)

      In the whole history of God’s dealing with men, He has never urged, counseled, nor advised any nation or people to set up autocracies, tyrannies, despotisms, or dictatorships. His prophet pleaded with ancient Israel not to crown a king. (I Samuel 8.) He has always condemned that which takes away man’s free agency. This is His way. You may judge every proposal for human government by this principle. (J. Reuben Clark, 1940, E-43:396)

      Free Agency—Should Be Emphasized by Universities.      [An] objective of the University grows naturally out of self effort and that is to emphasize the responsibility of individual choice, of free agency. Never before in the world, it seems to me, has there been a time when that principle should be so emphasized in the minds of scientific men and in the minds of young hopeful students than at the present, because we have leaders of nations who trample that eternal principle under their feet, who crush the very source of the seed of liberty planted in every individual soul that never will die. Communists, no matter what they do, can never kill this immortal Truth . . . .

      To man, however, there is given a special endowment, not bestowed upon any other living thing. When the Creator “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” (and never mind when it was), “and man became a living soul,” God gave to him the power of choice. Only to the human being did the Creator say, “Thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee.” (Moses 3:17) As God desired men to become as he, it was neces sary that he should first make them free. [p. 146]

      Thus man was endowed with the greatest blessing next to life that can be given to mortal beings—the gift of free agency. Without this divine power to choose humanity cannot progress.(18)

      Commenting upon this special endowment, a leading scientist, LeComte DeNouy in his book, the Human Destiny, gets a glimpse of some of these divine principles revealed to the Prophet Joseph.

      “By giving man liberty and conscience God abdicated a part of his omnipotence in favor of his creature, and this represents the spark of God in man.” “God is within you,” he puts in parentheses. “Liberty is real, for God himself refused to trammel it.” Freedom of speech, freedom of action within bounds that do not infringe upon the liberty of others, are man’s inherent right, divine gifts “essential to human dignity and human happiness.” . . . (President David O. McKay, CN-9/25/54)

      Let us instil into the hearts of our children the love of freedom. Teach them that to be free is as precious as life itself. Fight every influence—Russian, Communist, whatever it may be—that would deprive an American citizen of the liberty vouchsafed by the Constitution.(19) Liberty is truth—in truth we find liberty. You teachers, feel it in your hearts; instil it into the hearts of these precious children. May the Church of Jesus Christ ever stand true to the ideals of freedom. (President David O. McKay, CN-7/11/53) [p. 147]

      Liberty(20)—The Law of Right.      We have been talking, and we do talk very much, about this wonderful, this glorious, this most choice principle of liberty, for which we are willing to sacrifice all that we possess in a worldly sense, and that we are also willing to add in that sacrifice our own lives to defend it. What is it? What is this liberty for which we are willing to fight, for which we are willing to sacrifice life and all that we possess in the world? Let me tell you. It is simply the liberty of all mankind to worship God in righteousness; that is what it is; for all mankind to have the liberty to do right, the liberty to do good, the liberty to pursue happiness, in honor, in virtue and in uprightness. But it cannot for one moment descend in any degree to license or to infringement upon the rights of others. No man has any liberty to impose upon his brother, to rob or to steal, to lie or to bear false witness, or to injure or wrong his fellowmen.(21) (President Joseph F. Smith, CR-4/18:169)

      The law of liberty is the law of right in every particular . . . . A great many instances might here be introduced to illustrate wherein men should not be permitted to do as they please in all things; for there are rules regulating all good societies, and the business intercourse of men with each other, which are just and righteous in themselves, the violation of which cannot be countenanced either by civil or religious usages. It is not the privilege of any man to waste the time of his employer under any pretence whatever, and the cause of religion, good government, and humanity is not in the least degree advanced by the practice, but the contrary is really the case. (President Brigham Young, 1868, JD- 12:153)

      America is a land of boasted liberty, but liberty may be either helpful or fatal according to the use made of it. Is it [p. 148] liberty when a group of men with threats of violence prevent an employer from entering his own property? No! Liberty is shackled and violence rules! “Liberty is an atmosphere of the higher life, and it is only by a slow and patient inward transformation that one becomes capable of breathing it.”

      Liberty?—it is respect; liberty?—it is obedience to the inner law; and this law is neither the good pleasure of the mighty, nor the caprice of the crowd, but the high and impersonal rule before which those who govern are the first to bow the head.(22) Shall liberty, then, be proscribed? No; but men must be made capable and worthy of it, otherwise public life becomes impossible, and the nation, undisciplined and unrestrained, goes on through license into the inextricable tangles of demagoguery. (David O. McKay, CR-4/37:29)

      I think that in the realms of liberty, and the exercise of human judgment, all men should exercise extreme caution, that they do not change nor abolish those things which God has willed and has inspired to be done. It has been in this realm of freedom,(23) and the exercise of human judgment that most of the evils that have occurred in the world have been done. (President Joseph F. Smith, CR-10/12:41)

      True Liberty Costly.      Liberty and freedom are always purchased, many times by great effort, often with great loss of life.

      True liberty in individuals consists in the enjoying of every right that will contribute to one’s peace and happiness, so long as the exercise of such a privilege does not interfere with the same privilege in others. It consists not in doing what one likes to do, but in doing what one ought to do. It is the right of each individual to be master of his own time and actions consistent with fairness and justice to his fellowmen and harmony with the laws of God.

      True liberty means to purchase what he wants to purchase, and to sell what he wishes to sell, without public interference. [p. 149] It is freedom of choice, a divine gift, an essential virtue in a peaceful society. But true liberty, I repeat, is always purchased with a great sum. Throughout the centuries men have had to struggle to be free. They have had to contend with usurpers. They have had to fight dictators. This is what lovers of freedom are doing today.(24) (David O. McKay, CN- 3/3/45)

      A few generations back, your ancestors gave their lives to establish democracy on this continent: your grandfathers fought and died to give the freedom of that democracy to all men, irrespective of race or color; some of your fathers and brothers went to the front in the recent World War to maintain democracy, and some of them never returned. The price of human liberty has always been human suffering and human sacrifice. You may have to determine how much this freedom which has come to you without price, is worth to you and to your children,—what price will you pay,—whether, if necessary, you also will make the final sacrifice as did your forefathers. I pray the Lord to give you wisdom and courage. You will need both. (J. Reuben Clark, 1937, E-40:474)

      Insidious Influences Within.      As precious as life itself is our heritage of individual freedom, as we have learned tonight, for man’s free agency is a God-given gift. In sensing our responsibility to preserve it for ourselves and our posterity, let students and patriotic people ever keep in mind the warning voice of James Russell Lowell: “Our American republic will endure only as long as the ideas of the men who founded it continue dominant.”

      There is a crying need today to have this truth heralded throughout the land that youth especially may appreciate and hold the freedom of the individual as sacred as did our Revolutionary fathers.

      Into the soul of every student I would have instilled the patriotic fervor of Patrick Henry:

Were my soul trembling on the wings of eternity, were this hand freezing to death, were my voice choking with the last struggle, I would still, with the last gasp of that voice, implore [p. 150] you to remember the truth: GOD HAS GIVEN AMERICA TO BE FREE.

      Already there are insidious influences working termite-like to destroy this basic principle of true democracy.

      We learn from authentic sources that Communistic countries operating from behind the Iron Curtain accuse the United States of virtually every political and moral crime under the sun, saying, even, that our democracy is an instrument to enslave people.

      Well, such slander has been compared to slugs (and I can say this of all slander) that crawl over our cabbages. You may kill them, but there is still the slime.

      The surest method against such slander is to live it down in perseverance in well doing, and by prayer to God that he would cure the distempered mind of those who traduce and injure us. (President David O. McKay, CN-5/30/53)

      Liberty—To Be Taught in Homes.      The safety, the perpetuity of our government, or of any republican form of government, depends upon the safety and permanency of the home. Herein we get a glimpse of one thing in which this people may be the saviors, in a way, of this great nation. The home is the place where the perpetuation of the principles of liberty as well as the instructions in the gospel of Jesus Christ should be given to the children. When the home breaks up, the children begin to wander off into sin. Then the law must reach out to bring them back and try to teach them principles of service and of true government; but, oh, how helpless, how helpless the state when the home has failed. (President David O. McKay, 1952, E-55:709)

      Needed—A Standard of Liberty.      I declare to you this morning that human liberty is the mainspring of human progress.(25)

      The one great revolution in the world is the revolution for human liberty. This was the paramount issue in the great council in heaven before this earth life. It has been the issue throughout the ages. It is the issue today.

      It is difficult for Americans to understand the danger to our liberty. “It is generally outside the range of our experience.” [p. 151] But we live today in an age of peril. We are threatened with the loss not only of material wealth but of something far more precious—our liberty itself.

      Never before in the history of our country has there been a greater need for all of our people to take time to discover what is happening in the world.(26) Every day decisions are being made affecting the lives of millions of human beings.

      We as a people have never known bondage. Liberty has always been our blessed lot. Few of us have ever seen people who have lost their freedom—their liberty. And when reminded of the danger of losing our liberty and independence our attitude has usually been: It cannot happen here.

      We must never forget that nations may, and usually do, sow the seeds of their own destruction while enjoying unprecedented prosperity.

      The children of Israel, willing to sacrifice liberty, wanted Moses to be their king. Generations later their descendants begged Samuel the prophet to give them a king. He pointed out the fallacy of their reasoning. Samuel, like other great spiritual leaders, ancient and modern, saw the results that would follow the surrender of liberty.

      In that sacred volume of scripture, the Book of Mormon, we note the great and prolonged struggle for liberty. We also note the complacency of the people and their frequent willingness to give up their liberty for the promises of a would-be provider.

      The record reveals that “a man of cunning device and . . . many flattering words, . . .” sought “to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them . . . .” (Alma 46:10)

      Then Moroni, the chief commander of the armies, dramatically

. . . rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole . . . . (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, . . . (See ibid., 46:12-13).

      This great general, Moroni, like the prophets whose words are recorded in the Book of Mormon, spoke of the Americas as [p. 152] a chosen land—the land of liberty. He led the people in battle who were willing to fight to “maintain their liberty.”

      And the record states:

. . . that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land . . . and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites. (Ibid., 46:36).

      This is our need today—to plant the standard of liberty among our people throughout the Americas.

      While this incident occurred some seventy years B.C., the struggle went on through one thousand years covered by this sacred Book of Mormon record. In fact, the struggle for liberty is a continuing one—it is with us in a very real sense today right here on this choice land of the Americas. Yes, on an island strategically situated only ninety miles from our shores. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR-10/62:14-15)

      What Can We Do to Preserve Freedom? What can you and I do to help meet this grave challenge from a godless, atheistic, cruelly materialistic system—what can we do to preserve our God-given free way of life?

      First, let us all prize the treasures we have in this country. This is a choice land—choice above all others. Blessed by the Almighty, our forebears have made and kept it so. It will continue to be a land of freedom and liberty as long as we are able and willing to advance in the light of sound and enduring principles of right.(27)

      Science and technology have always flowered best where freedom prevailed. We know what freedom can produce in benefits to all the people. Our American society is living evidence of the abundant fruits of the free enterprise system.

      Second, we must do our part to stay free! Good citizenship demands an awareness of the debt we owe to those who procured and secured our American freedom for us. Character demands acceptance of our own responsibility to preserve this hard-won freedom. [p. 153]

      We must understand that basic American beliefs, principles, and attitudes are threatened today as never before—threatened not only from abroad but right here at home.

      The history of all mankind shows very clearly that if we would be free—and if we would stay free—we must stand eternal watch against the accumulation of too much power in government.(28)

      Edmund Burke, the great English statesman, once said:

All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for good men to do nothing.(29)

      We have less to fear from the small corps of subversives here in America than from the uninformed, the self-seekers, and the disinterested . . . .

      Third, let us reaffirm our patriotism, our love of country. Patriotism is more than flag- waving and brave words. It is how we respond to public issues. If we ask only, “What’s in this proposal for me?—what do I get out of it?”—we’re not patriotic and we’re not very good citizens. But if we ask, “Is this right? is it good for the American people?—would it preserve and strengthen our freedom?”—then we deserve to stand in the company of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

      Fourth, we must build peace! Not a fitful, tenuous peace based on compromise and expediency, but a real and lasting peace founded on the recognition of human rights. True peace springs from within. It is born in the hearts of men. It is nurtured on the inviolate air of freedom. Its price is Righteousness, and to achieve Righteousness we must so conduct ourselves individually and collectively as to earn the loyalty and devotion of other men.

      Peace is our goal and our aim not only for ourselves but for all men . . . .

      The true test of the greatest good for the greatest number must be applied to every situation—and this in full recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of each individual. The integrity [p. 154] of men leads to the integrity of nations. They who apply the highest principles in dealings between men and nations carry forward the cause of freedom.

      Finally, we must rededicate our lives and our nation to God. With each of you, I love this nation. It is my firm belief that the God of Heaven guided the Founding Fathers in establishing it for His particular purposes. But God’s purpose is to build people of character, not physical monuments to their material accumulations.

      Nations that truly love God, love freedom. History is replete with examples of once powerful nations that have forgotten God. No nation ripened in iniquity can long endure. “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) (Ezra Taft Benson, 5/30/60)

      A House Cleaning Needed.      The battle against tyranny may have to begin at home . . . . The vast majority of politicians are more concerned with political plums than with government principles. Unfortunately, love of man for man seldom directs men in public office. To our shame many men in public office, high and low, in the midst of personal dishonesty and corruption, pretend to serve their fellow men. They are all would-be dictators of different degrees. There is but one way to correct such evil—to clean house, to turn the rogues out of public office, and for you and other men of honest, righteous outlook to take their places. The fight against covetousness and for human liberty will be part of your campaign for man’s economic sufficiency. It will not be a pleasant job, perhaps, but there must be no hesitancy on the part of educated men in accepting the duty. In bringing about a better economic world you will indeed be of service to your “own generation.” (John A. Widtsoe, 1939, E-41:444)

      A Personal Responsibility.      Now may I call your attention to the fact that at no time u, as it designed that any individual should think it his business to control or dominate the lives of others.

      Remember the warning of the prophet’s inspired words:

It is the nature and disposition of almost all men as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, that they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion—hence, many are called, but few are chosen.

      Indeed, it is only our right as the poet declared, “to call, persuade, direct aright, in nameless ways be good and kind. But never force the human mind.” It is man’s failure to understand [p. 155] that basic truth which underlies much that has afflicted mankind from the beginning. (Harold B. Lee, CN-6/6/51)

      Denounce Coercion.(30)      Free agency is a divine gift more precious than peace, more to be desired even than life. Any nation, any organized group of individuals that would deprive man of this heritage should be denounced by all liberty-loving persons.(31) Associated with this fundamental principle is the right of individual initiative, the right to worship how, where, or what one pleases, and the simple privilege to leave a country, if one choose, without having to skulk out as a culprit at the risk of being shot and killed.

      At heart Communism is atheistic, and Facism is equally antagonistic to freedom and to other Christian principles—even denying the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the existence of God. (President David O. McKay, CR-10/51:11)

      The Worth of Man—A Measuring Rod.      I believe with others that governments, institutions, and organizations exist primarily for the purpose of securing to the individual his rights, his happiness, and proper development of his character. When organizations fail to accomplish this purpose, their usefulness ends. “So act,” says Kant, “as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or that of another, in every case as an end, never as a means only.”

      In all ages of the world men have been prone to ignore the personality of others, to disregard men’s rights by closing against them the opportunity to develop. The worth of man is a good measuring rod by which we may judge the rightfulness or the wrongfulness of a policy or principle, whether in government, in business, or in social activities.

      Theories and ideologies exploited during the last half century present challenges more critical and dangerous than mankind [p. 156] has ever before faced. (President David O. McKay, CR-10/62:5-6)

      Inherent Rights.      There are certain principles that are inherent in man, that belong to man, and that were enunciated in an early day, before the United States government was formed, and they are principles that rightfully belong to all men everywhere. They are described in the Declaration of Independence as inalienable rights, one of which is that men have a right to live; another is that they have a right to pursue happiness; and another is that they have a right to be free and no man has authority to deprive them of those God- given rights, and none but tyrants would do it.32.       “We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life—physical, intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we can convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.
      “Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” (Frederic Bastiat, The Law, p. 5-6)32

      These principles, I say, are inalienable in man; they belong to him; they existed before any constitutions were framed or any laws made. Men have in various ages striven to strip their fellow-men of these rights, and dispossess them of them. And hence the wars, the bloodshed and carnage that have spread over the earth. We, therefore, are not indebted to the United States for these rights; we were free as men born into the world, having the right to do as we please, to act as we please, as long as we do not transgress constitutional law nor violate the rights of others . . . .

      Another thing God expects us to do, and that is to maintain the principle of human rights . . . . We owe it to all liberty-loving men, to stand up for human rights and protect human freedom, and in the name of God we will do it, and let the congregation say Amen. (President John Taylor, 1882, JD-23:263-6)

      A Duty to Defend Human Rights.      It is a duty that our families demand of us; it is a duty that the honest in this nation demand of us, and that God demands of us; and we will try and carry it out, God being our helper. And if other people can afford to trample under foot the sacred institutions of this country, we [p. 157] cannot. And if other people trample upon the Constitution and pull it to pieces, we will gather together the pieces and rally around the old flag, or what is left of it, and proclaim liberty to the world, as Joseph Smith said we would. (President John Taylor, 1828, JD-23:239)

      I expect to see the day when the Elders of Israel will protect and sustain civil and religious liberty and every constitutional right bequeathed to us by our fathers, and spread those rights abroad in connection with the Gospel for the salvation of all nations?(33) I shall see this whether I live or die. (President Brigham Young, 1866, JD-11:263)

      No Greater Responsibility(34) Than Protecting Freedom.      No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.

      Let us, by exercising our privileges under the Constitution (1) Preserve our right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience, (2) Preserve the right to work when and where we choose. No free man should be compelled to pay tribute in order to realize this God-given privilege. Read in the Doctrine and Covenants this statement: “. . . it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.” (101:79) (3) Feel free to plan and to reap without the handicap of bureaucratic interference. (4) Devote our time, means, and life if necessary, to hold inviolate those laws which will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control [p. 158] of property,(35) and the protection of life. (David O. McKay, CR-4/50:37)

      The Spirit of Freedom to Prevail.      Unless all history is reversed and its lessons and principles all blotted out, it is inconceivable that any system can be set up by a personal despot or by an oligarchy either of intellectuals or of cruel, heartless, ambitious men, that can permanently rob men of their freedom and put them in slavery. This never has been done. Sooner or later such a system has always broken down; it always will break down, because, despite what atheists and scoffers say or think, man is the child of God, who planted in man’s soul certain eternal concepts and urges that are stronger than mortal life or any of the intellectual or physical incidents of mortality . . . .

      Men cannot be led indefinitely, nor driven by a savage despotism, down this road to an intellectual and moral abyss. They may follow along for a generation or two. But they will one day rebel against the rule of liquidation. No group can permanently maintain itself by murder, as history proves from the days of the hideous proscription lists of Sulla till now. Fear and ruthless cruelty can rule for a time, but the spirit of liberty ultimately breaks forth and sweep away everything that lies in its path . . . .

      The great truth announced by the Prince of Peace, “I am the light, the life, and the way” ultimately reaches the mind and heart of men, and then they demand freedom. It was so planned in the creation. God gave to ancient Israel a law under which there came at regular intervals, a year of jubilee and freedom, when men were freed of bondage, financial and physical. Paul told the Corinthians, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

      So the light of the Master will ultimately break through the darkness of the infidel, and all men will return to freedom and free institutions and to the worship of Almighty God, for such has been the course of man since He came to this earth, and ultimately every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, and then will come the peace of the world. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-11/22/47) [p. 159]

      . . . The forces operating in the world today, Communism particularly, are perils denying the right of individuals to choose. Individual freedom is denied by the Communists, and they will fail. They will flourish for a time, but they will never succeed because the Russian people themselves have that divine gift of free agency. (President David O. McKay, 1955, 1-90:257.)

      Priesthood Beware: Devil’s Main Attack Is Against Freedom.      One of the greatest discourses that I have ever heard or read on how to avoid being deceived was given from this pulpit during the Priesthood session of the October, 1960 semi-annual conference by Elder Marion G. Romney. I commend it to you for your close study, and wish that there were time to re-read it. During the talk Elder Romney stated that there was no guarantee that the devil will not deceive a lot of men who hold the Priesthood. Then, after referring to a talk on free agency by President McKay, Elder Romney states, “Free agency is the principle against which Satan waged his war in heaven. It is still the front on which he makes his most furious, devious, and persistent attacks. That this would be the case was foreshadowed by the Lord.”

      And then after quoting the scripture from the Pearl of Great Price regarding the war in heaven over free agency (Moses 4:1-4) Elder Romney continues:

You see, at the time he was cast out of heaven, his objective was (and still is) “to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will.” This he effectively does to as many as will not hearken unto the voice of God. His main attack is still on free agency. When he can get men to yield their agency, he has them well on the way to captivity.

We who hold the Priesthood must beware concerning ourselves, that we do not fall into the traps he lays to rob us of our freedom. We must be careful that we are not led to accept or support in any way any organization, cause or measure which, in its remotest effect, would jeopardize free agency, whether it be in politics, government, religion, employment, education, or any other field. It is not enough for us to be sincere in what we support. We must be right!

      Elder Romney then outlined some tests to distinguish the true from the counterfeit. Now this is crucial for us to know, for as President Taylor said, “Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom and the rights of man.” (JD-23:63)

      It was the struggle over free agency that divided us before we came here; it may well be the struggle over the same principle which will deceive and divide us again. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR-10/63:16)


1.       “There is no word that admits of more various significations and has made more varied impressions on the human mind, than that of liberty. Some have taken it as a means of deposing a person on whom they have conferred a tyrannical authority; others for the power of choosing a superior whom they are obliged to obey; others for the right of bearing arms, and of being thereby enabled to use violence; others, in fine, for the privilege of being governed by a native of their own country, or by their own laws.” (Montesquieu, Spirit of Laws, XI, 2)

2.       “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another . . . . It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” (Thomas Paine, quoted in The Freeman, Nov., 1959, p. 66)

3.       “The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government. Modern times have the signal advantage, too, of having discovered the only device by which these rights can be secured, to-wit: government by the people, acting not in person, but by representatives chosen by themselves, that is to say, by every man of ripe years and sane mind, who either contributes by his purse or person to the support of his country.” (Thomas Jefferson, Works 7:319)

4.       “Everybody is satisfied that a conservation and secure enjoyment of our natural rights is the great and ultimate purpose of civil society; and that therefore all forms whatsoever of government are only good as they are subservient to that purpose, to which they are entirely subordinate . . . . The rights of men are indeed sacred things; and if any public measure is proved mischievously to affect them, the objection ought to be fatal to that measure.” (Edmund Burke, quoted in Modern Age, 1961, p. 273)

5.       “Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it. A liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not, not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man, as freedom of nature is to be under no other restraint but the law of Nature.” (John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 4)

6.       “Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. Liberty and responsibility are inseparable. A free society will not function or maintain itself unless its members regard it as right that each individual occupy the position that results from his action and accept it as due to his own action. Though it can offer to the individual only chances and though the outcome of his efforts will depend on innumerable accidents, it forcefully directs his attention to those circumstances that he can control as if they were the only ones that mattered.” (F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, p. 71)

7.       “Basic among human rights would seem to be the right to life itself . . . . If one has the right to life, he then has the right to sustain his life with his own time and means, so long as in so doing he does not infringe on the same right of others. If one has the right to thus sustain his life, he then has the right to have what ever he is able to produce with his own time and means. If he has the right to whatever he is able to produce, he then has the right to keep it for any period of time—the right of private property. If he has the right of private property, he then has the right to exchange it, sell it, or give it away on any terms acceptable to the recipient. No third party, be it one person or any combination of persons, has any right to intercede in the process or dictate its terms. (F. A. Harper, Liberty Defined, p. 19-20)

8.       “The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management . . . .” (Thomas Jefferson, Works 7:11)

9.       “And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously . . . to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?” (John Milton, 1644, Aeropagitica—Great Books 32:409)

10.       “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Thomas Jefferson, Works 8:404)

11.       “If the true spark of religious and civil liberty be kindled, it will burn. Human agency cannot extinguish it. Like the earth’s central fire, it may be smothered for a time; the ocean may overwhelm it; mountains may press down; but its inherent and unconquerable force will heave both the ocean and the land, and at some time or other, the volcano will break out and flame up to heaven.” (Daniel Webster, quoted by Harper, Liberty: A Path To Its Recovery, p. 115)

12.       “Who among us understands human freedom? Indeed, has anyone ever thoroughly understood its miraculous workings? I doubt it; I, at least, know of no individual, in the past or present, whose works are ‘the last word on freedom’ . . . . Understanding freedom, like gaining wisdom, may well belong to the realm of the sublime and the infinite.
      “Freedom is as high in the hierarchy of values as is the emergence of the individual human spirit and must be so evaluated by those who would advance an understanding of it.” (Leonard Read, Elements of Libertarian Leadership, p. 117)

13.       “Our liberty is not Caesar’s. It is a blessing we have received from God Himself. It is what we are born to. To lay this down at Caesar’s feet, which we derive not from him, which we are not beholden to him for, were an unworthy action, and a degrading of our very nature . . . . Being therefore peculiarly God’s own, that is, truly free, we are consequently to be subjected to Him alone, and cannot, without the greatest sacrilege imaginable, be reduced into a condition of slavery to any man, especially to a wicked, unjust, cruel tyrant . . . . Absolute lordship and Christianity are inconsistent.” (John Milton, 1651, quoted by Felix Morley, The Power in the People, p. 54)

14.       “When you get right down to it, there are only two ways we can ever be deprived of freedom. And both of them involve government in one way or another—either positively by laws against freedom of choice, or negatively by the government’s refusal to stop gangsters who interfere with our freedom to choose.” (Dean Russell, Essays On Liberty 9:320)

15.       “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.” (Thomas Jefferson, Works 1:130)

16.       “. . . encroachments on the people’s liberties are not generally made all at once, but so gradually as hardly to be perceived by the less watchful; and all plastered over, it may be, with such plausible pretenses, that before they are aware of the snare, they are taken and cannot disentangle themselves.” (Rev. Samuel Webster, 1777, quoted by Felix Morley, The Power in the People, p. 138)

17.       “Perhaps too there may be a certain degree of danger, that a succession of artful and ambitious rulers may by gradual & well timed advances, finally erect an independent Government on the subversion of liberty. Should this danger exist at all, it is prudent to guard against it, especially when the precaution can do no injury.” (James Madison, Works 1:426)

18.       “For anyone with assumptions such as these, the answer to the question, ‘What is the purpose of man’s earthly existence?’ comes clear: It is for each individual to come as near as he can to the realization of those creative powers which are peculiarly and distinctively included in his own potentialities. Man’s purpose here is to grow, to emerge, to hatch, to evolve in consciousness, partaking as much as he can of Infinite Consciousness.
      “If the above is accepted as the highest purpose of earthly life, it follows that any force—psychological or sociological—which binds or retards or in any way restrains the individual human spirit in its emergence must be thought of as an immoral and evil force. Conversely, the absence of such retarding and restraining forces—the personal practice of freedom—is moral, good, virtuous.” (Leonard Read, Elements of Libertarian Leadership, p. 42-43)

19.       “How, you ask, can you inoculate your child against the Communist disease? You can begin by making the house in which you live, if it be but one room, a real home. You can give your child the priceless attributes of living: love, sympathy, understanding, encouragement, and faith. You can teach him the value of things of the spirit. You can show him that materialism, the god of the Communists, is as false as the golden calf of old.
      “Teach your child to know the history of this nation, to understand its tremendous achievement in the age-old struggle for liberty. Teach him to know the faith and understanding which our forefathers summed up in the immortal documents of our nation’s beginning and the need for a constant renewal of that faith if our free way of life is to continue. Be positive in your attitudes . . . . The word ‘patriot’ is a good word. Bring it back into usage. Impress upon your child the proud meaning of the word.” (J. Edgar Hoover, The Times-Herald, 6/21/53)

20.       “What is this liberty, whose very name makes the heart beat faster and shakes the world? Is it not the union of all liberties—liberty of conscience, of education, of association, of the press, of travel, of labor, or trade? In short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so? Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism—including, of course, legal despotism? Finally, is not liberty the restricting of the law only to its rational sphere of organizing the right of the individual to lawful self-defense; of punishing injustice?” (Frederic Bastiat, The Law, p. 51)

21.       “The view which defines liberty as the mere ‘absence of restraint’ may be well- meaning, but this is the best one can say about it. It is a definition which permits, and even encourages, the substance of liberty to leak away. It undermines the sanctity of person and property, it ignores the moral order, and it undermines the system of contracts. The truly free man is not a captive of his impulses; he controls his own actions so as not to impair the equal rights of others to their persons and their property; he is constrained by moral considerations; and he is meticulous about his contractual obligations. Such a pattern of conduct is not accurately described by the simple label, ‘unrestrained’.” (Edmund A. Opitz, Essays On Liberty 10:423)

22.       “It is indeed a truth, which all the great apostles of freedom outside the rationalistic school have never tired of emphasizing, that freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs and that coercion can be reduced to a minimum only where individuals can be expected as a rule to conform voluntarily to certain principles.” (F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, p. 62)

23.       “If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they thereafter any the less slaves? If people by a plebiscite elect a man despot over them, do they remain free because the despotism was of their own making? Are the coercive edicts issued by him to be regarded as legitimate because they are the ultimate outcome of their own votes? As well might it be argued that the East African, who breaks a spear in another’s presence that he may so become bondsman to him, still retains his liberty because he freely chose his master.” (Herbert Spencer, The Man versus The State, p. 17)

24.       “The fact is, that there is no right whatever inherited by man which has not an equivalent and corresponding duty by the side of it, as the price of it. The rights, advantages, capital, knowledge, and all other goods which we inherit from past generations have been won by the struggles and sufferings of past generations; and the fact that the race lives, though men die, and that the race can by heredity accumulate within some cycle its victories over Nature, is one of the facts which make civilization possible. The struggles of the race as a whole produce the possessions of the race as a whole. Something for nothing is not to be found on earth.”(William Graham Sumner, What Social Classes Owe To Each Other, p. 116)

25.       “It is . . . an old discovery that morals and moral values will grow only in an environment of freedom, and that, in general, moral standards of people and classes are high only where they have long enjoyed freedom—and proportional to the amount of freedom they have possessed. It is also an old insight that a free society will work well only where free action is guided by strong moral beliefs, and, therefore, that we shall enjoy all the benefits of freedom only where freedom is already well established.” (F. A. Hayek, Essays on Liberty 10:313)

26.       “We cannot preserve that which has already been so largely lost. We have a restoration job on our hands. Freedom must experience a rebirth in America; that is, we must re-establish it from fundamental principles.” (Leonard Read, Elements of Libertarian Leadership, p. 17)

27.       “Americans have been running away from their own revolution which for the first time gave political form to the ‘individual rights-Creator sovereignty idea’—in order to embrace an alien program saturated with Marxism. They do this under the delusion that there is some safe middle ground between the idea of freedom, on the one side, and communism on the other.
      “But there is no such neutral ground! There is only one place to take a stand, if we are really opposed to Marxism, and that is to stand uncompromisingly with the philosophy of freedom, including its spiritual and moral antecedents together with its political and economic implications.” (Edmund A. Opitz, Essays On Liberty 9:249)

28.       “What is the lesson? That because the people may betray themselves, they ought to give themselves up, blindfold, to those who have an interest in betraying them? Rather conclude that the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it, as well as obey it.” (James Madison, The Complete Madison, p. 43)

29.       “It is the common fate of the indolent, to see their rights made a prey by the active. The condition upon which God has given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime, and the punishment of his guilt.” (John Philpot Curran, 1790, quoted in The Freeman, June, 1963, p. 66)

30.       “By ‘coercion’ we mean such control of the environment or circumstances of a person by another that . . . . he is forced to act not according to a coherent plan of his own but to serve the ends of another . . . . Coercion is evil precisely because it thus eliminates an individual as a thinking and valuing person and makes him a bare tool in the achievement of the ends of another.” (F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, p. 20-1)

31.       “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise.” (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, I)

32.       “We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life—physical, intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we can convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.
      “Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” (Frederic Bastiat, The Law, p. 5-6)

33.       “The solution of problems relating to a free society depends upon the emergence of an informed leadership devoted to freedom. In short, this is a leadership problem, not a mass reformation problem. If we had no way of remedying our situation except as the millions come to master the complexities of economic, social, political, and moral philosophy, we would not be warranted in spending a moment of our lives in this undertaking—it would be like expecting a majority of adult Americans to compose symphonies.” (Leonard Read, Elements of Libertarian Leadership, p. 89)

34.       “No one is properly held responsible for an outcome which his actions did not affect one way or the other. Responsibility implies freedom. To say that man is a responsible being is to say that his freely made choices do cause things to happen this way rather than that. Life’s alternate possibilities of reward and punishment imply that men must choose. And because the universe does not jest, it has not given man the freedom to make a choice as to how he will commit his life without at the same time equipping that choice with power to affect the ultimate outcome. This is the core of the doctrine of Election, which a hillbilly preacher explained to his flock in this fashion: ‘The Lord votes for you; the Devil votes against you. It’s the way you vote that decides the election.’ Even if you do nothing, your very inaction becomes a form of action, affecting the eventual outcome.” (Edmund A. Opitz, The Freeman, Aug., 1963, p. 5)

35.       “All rights are human rights. Both in point of law and in ethical theory, beasts, plants, and inanimate objects have no rights. Only men and women have rights. ‘Property’, as such, enjoys no rights or privileges; for property is not human. What we mean by the phrase ‘property rights’ is really the rights of human beings to possess and acquire property.
      “Property right are human rights. They are, indeed, among the most important of human rights. There is no opposition between human rights and property rights; if ever a conflict arises, it is between the human right of owning and acquiring property, and some other real or pretended human right.” (Russell Kirk, Human Events, Oct. 5, 1963, p. 12) [p. 160]

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