Green Room

The Challenge of Freedom

posted at 12:39 am on December 30, 2009 by

Writing in the U.K. Times Online, Michael Binyon asks if Iran is approaching the tipping point of revolution. It’s a revolution observers in the West have anticipated for a long time. Ever since the massive protests against the stolen elections of early 2009, when a murderer’s bullet slammed into Neda Soltan’s chest, we’ve wondered if the Iranian people would stand up and overthrow their sinister regime. Neda’s name became a prayer in the West, and many of us thought it would soon become a battle cry ringing through the stale air of Tehran.

New demonstrations are under way, and there have been fresh atrocities, but the regime remains in power. Charles Krauthammer has encouraged the Obama Administration to declare the regime illegitimate… but by the time that happens, the lumberjacks of liberty will already be shouting “Timber!” as the dead regime comes tumbling down.

The melancholy truth is that tyranny is extremely difficult to overcome. Every successful revolution has been a desperate struggle, conducted in the defiance of inevitable defeat. As a religious and spiritual people, we have a tendency to regard the triumph of the righteous as assured, and see victory as the destiny of virtue. The evidence of history says otherwise. No one would have given the American patriots winning odds at the outset of the Revolutionary War, fought against the most disciplined and well-equipped military force of the era, by men who marched through the snow in the tatters of disintegrating boots.

Even patriotic Americans of today don’t always appreciate how special our achievement is… not just in its success, but its endurance. Most victorious “revolutions” end with a new class of slaves cleaning up the victory celebrations, beneath the whips of a new set of tyrants. As Binyon points out in his Times Online article, grisly regimes like North Korea remain in power, despite decades of poverty and manifest failure. The image of a lone, unarmed man standing against a line of tanks in Tienanmen Square hangs proudly in the gallery of Western memory, but it is virtually unknown to the people of China, its rightful owners. Brutal oppression works. That’s why humanity is still sick with it, after thousands of years.

Freedom is not a gift, or even a prize to be taken in battle. It is a challenge, and it is frightening. Modern Americans are born with the greatest inheritance of freedom enjoyed by any children of mankind, but they don’t guard it jealously. Too many of them view it as a currency to be exchanged for benefits. Freedom implies responsibility, and choice is meaningless without the risk of failure. We’ve come to define “fairness” as “everybody wins.” To build that rickety and doomed variety of “fairness,” freedom must be melted down into nails.

Our current government does not provide a rousing defense of liberty to those battling oppression in Iran, and elsewhere. What do those people think, when they see an exhausted West that wallows in self-loathing? What conclusions do they draw, when they hear the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation meekly concede that freedom is a burden, and life depends on the subsidies and control of the State? What encouragement can they find in the example of a nation that racks up debt as if it doesn’t expect to survive long enough for the bills to come due? Should the Iranian resistance be eager to fight and die, to replace mullahs with swindlers who steal trillions with midnight votes?

Capitalism is the practical expression of freedom. The two concepts are inseparable. Freedom of speech without property produces nothing but serfs with active social lives. Our current President was pleased to accept a politically-motivated Nobel Prize from a committee that honored Yasser Arafat, a murderous totalitarian thug. He visited Copenhagen to receive polite applause from people that gave socialist dictator Hugo Chavez a thunderous ovation for his anti-capitalist ravings. Could anyone in this Administration deliver a heartfelt endorsement of capitalism to the hungry ears of the Iranian protesters? Would any of them even be willing to try?

President Obama’s belief that America’s standing in the world would improve with his election, because he’s a “good listener,” is the exact opposite of the truth. Wise people, and nations, are always listening carefully… but the world improves when America speaks with confidence. Obama’s cherished Indonesian childhood, and the travels through the Muslim world he boasts of, have proven to mean nothing to the forces of Islamic fascism. He should have spent more time learning what his American heritage means to the people dying on the streets of Tehran, and those like them around the world.

Iran’s future remains cloudy. Even if the rumors about the Ayatollah Khamenei preparing to flee the country are true, a great deal of butchery may separate us from the moment when the wheels of his plane leave the tarmac. The wildest dream of democracy would have the Iranian people put the rest of the theocracy on the next plane behind him, with no blankets or pillows, and strict instructions to remain seated during the last hour of the flight. Even if the story took such an incredible turn, we should be under no illusions that the people of a liberated Iran would automatically love us… but we should love them anyway. The American flag was not raised solely for the benefit of those who are blessed and honored to stand beneath it. It is a challenge to all the tyrants of the world.

I dearly hope that, before his time in office is done, President Obama comes to understand that the challenge of freedom was not meant to be mumbled, or cloaked in the false vanity of regret. It should be bellowed in the faces of butchers and dictators. America has a moral obligation to remain strong, brave, and confident. No one on Earth should ever have to face a disaster and wonder if the Americans will be able to help. No victim of oppression should ever look at us and wonder if we still think freedom is priceless.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

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“I dearly hope that, before his time in office is done, President Obama comes to understand that the challenge of freedom was not meant to be mumbled, or cloaked in the false vanity of regret.”

Doc. this is a guy who can’t be bothered to put on a tie while delivering a major terrorism speech to the nation. (Muslims–who don’t wear ties–surely noticed his solidarity of dress.)

Half an hour later, Obama was playing golf.

This is a guy who gives shout-outs and smiles and then, oh yeah, thirteen people just got murdered at Fort Hood.

This is a guy who waits months before making a military decision on Afghanistan, finally delivering a lifeless speech before sleeping West Pointers.

He’s not going to change.

Obama’s heart is not in defending freedom and liberty.

barrypopik on December 30, 2009 at 2:34 AM

Experience teaches that people don’t often appreciate what has cost them nothing. There are many examples available throughout history regarding the cost of freedom. Pick your favorite whether it is America, France, Israel, Spain, or others, whether it was for national freedom, religious freedom, all have a very large cost, and usually blood will be the principal form of currency.

And Americans are now getting to experience another payment on the long term costs of maintaining that freedom in the War on Terror. The thrust of the jihadi assault was to deny freedom. Freedom to live, freedom to worship as we choose, freedom to associate with Israel if we choose. And it appears that the costs are headed north of high if we want to call ourselves free.

The freedom to be self determinant as Americans is being whittled away in Washington. Lost already are many freedoms founded in 1776; past generations have allowed an erosion of liberty across every frontier written into the Constitution. And the current “everybody DESERVES” crowd driving the newest installments of Free Healthcare, Free Citizenship, Free Houses and such aren’t concerned about the equity loss in freedom that eventually will require another blood payment in order to re-establish all the freedoms that will have been bargained away in closed door meetings, back room deals, and under table payoffs beneficent to few, costing all.

Take stock in the events of Iran. It is a good reminder of American’s previous costs, perhaps the future as well.

Robert17 on December 30, 2009 at 6:13 AM

Freedom is not a gift, or even a prize to be taken in battle. It is a challenge, and it is frightening. Modern Americans are born with the greatest inheritance of freedom enjoyed by any children of mankind, but they don’t guard it jealously. Too many of them view it as a currency to be exchanged for benefits. Freedom implies responsibility, and choice is meaningless without the risk of failure. We’ve come to define “fairness” as “everybody wins.”

Beautiful stuff, Doc. I’m just glad your mind is used for good and not evil!

PatMac on December 30, 2009 at 8:43 AM

I’m just glad your mind is used for good and not evil!

PatMac on December 30, 2009 at 8:43 AM

Ditto.

publiuspen on December 30, 2009 at 10:01 AM

John, I hope someday you can get in contact with Sarah Palin. The two of you can be a powerful force to restore and preserve our freedom.

To hear your words coming out of her mouth is a dream.

katy on December 30, 2009 at 10:20 AM

the challenge of freedom was not meant to be mumbled, or cloaked in the false vanity of regret. It should be bellowed in the faces of butchers and dictators. America has a moral obligation to remain strong, brave, and confident. No one on Earth should ever have to face a disaster and wonder if the Americans will be able to help. No victim of oppression should ever look at us and wonder if we still think freedom is priceless.

This paragraph will be embossed and set on my office wall. I think I scared my co-workers yelling DAMN STRAIGHT in the office.

KinleyArdal on December 30, 2009 at 11:31 AM

The image of a lone, unarmed man standing against a line of tanks in Tienanmen Square hangs proudly in the gallery of Western memory, but it is virtually unknown to the people of China, its rightful owners.

I remember so clearly when this happened, it’s always stayed with me as much as the fall of the Berlin wall or 9/11. I only recently found out that most of the Chinese people don’t even know about it and to me that is so tragic and heartbreaking.

Freedom is not a gift, or even a prize to be taken in battle. It is a challenge, and it is frightening. Modern Americans are born with the greatest inheritance of freedom enjoyed by any children of mankind, but they don’t guard it jealously. Too many of them view it as a currency to be exchanged for benefits. Freedom implies responsibility, and choice is meaningless without the risk of failure. We’ve come to define “fairness” as “everybody wins.” To build that rickety and doomed variety of “fairness,” freedom must be melted down into nails.

You’re just the best Doc.

beachgirlusa on December 30, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I keep saying you cannot get any better…………and then you do……..

Cinday Blackburn on December 30, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Hence it happened that all the armed prophets conquered, all the unarmed perished.
- Niccolo Machiavelli

MB4 on December 30, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Too bad, Barry has a different history book.

GarandFan on December 30, 2009 at 8:45 PM

Freedom is not a gift, or even a prize to be taken in battle. It is a challenge, and it is frightening. Modern Americans are born with the greatest inheritance of freedom enjoyed by any children of mankind, but they don’t guard it jealously. Too many of them view it as a currency to be exchanged for benefits.

Truer words were never spoken – The real danger we face today is that we have a generation that doesn’t know the price of freedom and is flitter it away with not so much as an afterthought.

It is like a man who is handed money but doesn’t know it’s value and who will spend it without thought or reason.

Chainsaw56 on December 30, 2009 at 8:47 PM

Another great column. Your ability to wield the english language like, a sharp sword…Your web-site is appreciated too. doczero dot org

Jeff2161 on December 30, 2009 at 9:35 PM

Doc, you have an amazing talent that knows no bounds…You just keep on getting better & better…You have fire in your soul with the ability to express it in words. You are a great patriot. Thank You !

bj the muse on December 30, 2009 at 9:35 PM

Another great post Doctor Zero, thank-you.

mcmm on December 30, 2009 at 9:47 PM

He should have spent more time learning what his American heritage means to the people dying on the streets of Tehran, and those like them around the world.

Freedom cannot ring from a limp bell.

TXUS on December 30, 2009 at 10:00 PM

Sometimes beauty will bring me to tears like a beautiful sunset. You Doc have done that with this post. My God it’s beautiful and I hope you live to be over a hundred. You pulled the strings that reach way down into my soul that make me the person that I am. You are a gift to us and I thank you.

mixplix on December 30, 2009 at 10:08 PM

The problem is simple. Corruption. Not corruption of the ruling class. That’s a given, considering their power. It’s the corruption of the citizenry that is eroding the foundation of freedom in this country. When people can be bought off or bribed by their own tax money, when they can agree to let government victimize their neighbors so long as they personally benefit, when the very concept of freedom is warped to mean security, when politicians can get away with their tawdry deeds because people are distracted, aren’t looking and don’t care, when people prefer to be lied to and punish those who tell the truth, when people refuse to forego present benefits for future worth, well, what hope is there?

NNtrancer on December 30, 2009 at 10:09 PM

Capitalism is the practical expression of freedom. The two concepts are inseparable. Freedom of speech without property produces nothing but serfs with active social lives.

Yes yes a thousand times yes. This is what the GOP needs to communicate within the framework of fiscal conservatism. Thanks, Doc.

Weight of Glory on December 30, 2009 at 10:14 PM

“Should the Iranian resistance be eager to fight and die, to replace mullahs with swindlers who steal trillions with midnight votes?”

Doc…

Your words really need to be heard by the world, not just us lucky chaps here at Hot Air.

Seven Percent Solution on December 30, 2009 at 10:19 PM

Doc,
You and Sarah….seriously, a match made in heaven

tencole on December 30, 2009 at 10:31 PM

Damn man, you make a guy want to stand up and salute Old Glory and maybe shed a tear.

Yakko77 on December 30, 2009 at 10:36 PM

i second the idea that you look into speechwriting

Chiasmos on December 30, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Not a speechwriter, folks. A thought leader.

publiuspen on December 30, 2009 at 11:39 PM

Speechwriting wouldn’t do justice to such an incredible mind and man! My vote is that he replace Michael Steele as head of the RNC!

KendraWilder on December 31, 2009 at 12:00 AM

I dearly hope that, before his time in office is done, President Obama comes to understand that…

he won’t

your article, while nice to read, is impotent

this communty-organizer-in-chief is a fool, a coward, and a traitor, and he deserves a traitor’s fate

urbancenturion on December 31, 2009 at 1:38 AM

Good article!

visions on December 31, 2009 at 7:28 AM

Most victorious “revolutions” end with a new class of slaves cleaning up the victory celebrations, beneath the whips of a new set of tyrants.

^ Something well worth remembering for the revolutionary-minded, both here and elsewhere.

Dark-Star on January 2, 2010 at 9:59 PM