Apathy is tearing at freedom. A recent conversation with a mid-thirties mother of several children illustrates. Responding to a statement that America is losing its freedom, she retorted: “If we lose it, we lose it. There’s nothing I can do about it…I’m not very interested in the topic…I really don’t care very much.”
The gut-wrenching clarity of her statement illuminates America’s rampant apathy, a core reason for our slide into oppressive government: too many people just don’t care. While few state it so succinctly, apathy runs deep. Americans are no longer willing to make the mortgage payments on freedom, and they are losing the property, as a result.
The United States Constitution is a 200+ year old contract—the product of 8 years of battle-heavy negotiations by a quarter of a million Americans, nearly fifty thousands of whom died before they could use the property—the freedoms—they paid for. The contract’s major feature: our right to call our own shots.
That contract of inalienable rights, duties, and limited government had a payment clause, as do all contracts. Our great-great-grandparents’ signatures are affixed, and the property remains “in the family” for as long as we meet the agreed-upon payments. If we default, we are evicted from freedom, like a home buyer who ignores his house payments.
Mortgage payments on freedom are not made by cash, check, or credit card. Any usurper who tells you otherwise is forging the contract. Payments are made with attention to, interest in, and sacrifice for the freedom system itself, and by supervising enforcement of the contract. One need not march with signs to the governor’s office, or give up annual vacations; the mortgage payments are made in quiet moments by the continued study, well-timed actions, and small but steady investments of a lifetime. In short: we get freedom; we give attention, effort, concern, and supervision.
Most Americans have quit making payments on the contract. Their Entitlement 101 mentality has embraced “I’m too busy, I don’t care, I don’t know”, and they never consider sacrificing for freedom. They are too busy. The pressing duties of family, career, and religion are real, but most find time for social networks, fashion blogs, crafts, and sports events; thus, they can find the moments to make installment payments on freedom. It isn’t hard. Pick your favorite freedom-under-attack and do something: read a book, some websites, talk to your neighbor, attend a meeting, join a group, donate wisely to the freedom fight. You have that much time. If we don’t, each generation gradually absorbs the losses of the one before, and we settle into slavery without protest. As Robert H. Jackson, Supreme Court justice, said in 1950: “It is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” The system is based on involved Americans.
There are excuses: it’s depressing; it’s hopeless. Patrick Henry, the revolution’s fiery orator said: “We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…for my part, whatever anguish…it may cost, I am willing…to know the worst, and to provide for it.” That is the key: if we know what we were promised in our contract, we can provide for it and work to maintain its terms.
If apathy and indifference persist, we will, indeed, lose our freedoms. Once lost, they will be difficult to regain. History has recorded no nation that ever held freedom, lost it, and recovered it, to return to former greatness.
The cavalier “If we lose it, we lose it” is a harsh obituary. Those who live without freedom come to care about it very much; perhaps enough to reclaim it generations or centuries later. What a travesty: to lose, by inattention and indifference, what patriots died to give us, and billions of people have so desperately sought. It would be much wiser to make the installment payments, because, in the end, we will not be spared the eviction notice.