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40-Hard-Earned Truths from Politics, Faith, and Life
By Dick Armey
John Wiley & Sons
Copyright © 2003
All right reserved.
Armey's Ultimate Axiom
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We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
-THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
It is no wonder that everyone cherishes freedom. On some
level, we all understand freedom to be our natural condition.
Still, in fact, none of us is wholly free, for we are all
answerable to God in the end. As our founding fathers said, it
is God who gives us freedom in this, our mortal, life. Indeed,
the two characteristics that distinguish mankind from all other
creatures are intelligence and freedom. Only man has the
ability to understand the wonders of the universe and the
ability to alter it for his own comfort. No animal can do this.
God, the creator, made man in His own image byendowing
him with creativity. Not the power to create, for God holds
that for Himself, but the power to understand and to alter
God's creations to his comfort. That is freedom, and freedom
Freedom is not license. Freedom is not free. True freedom
carries with it responsibility and accountability. Unfortunately,
this is not always understood. Some people don't feel
free unless they are free from responsibility. If that is your
understanding, you will never be free, and you will never be
happy. You will live your life like a hapless child being forever
a victim in a world that seems too demanding and too cruel.
You will miss your chance to be a success in your own life and
a joy in the lives of others, for that false freedom that we call
license does not work. It does not work because it is incomplete.
God did not give you freedom "no strings attached"
because He knew the harm you would do with it. No, His
gift was the right to be your own person with the constraint
of accountability first to others in this life and then ultimately
for all eternity to Holy God Almighty Himself. It is from that
accountability that we learn lessons of responsibility.
It is not only in the lives of individuals that freedom
works, but also in the fate of nations. Nation-states can be
organized along vertical lines of power, control, and submission
to a central authority or along horizontal lines of respect
and voluntary association. For simplicity's sake, let's call the
former authoritarian states and the latter democracies. The
essential difference is in respect for the rights of others to live
as the free men and women God intended them to be. While
power and dominion over others may work well, at least in
the short run, for those who hold it, it does not work well for
those who are subjugated to it. Freedom, on the other hand,
works for everyone.
Consider East and West Germany, North and South
Korea, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of
China (Taiwan), and the People's Republic of China and
Hong Kong. In each case you find people of the same cultural
heritage, some living with tyranny and others living free. In
each case the victims of tyranny are worse off in every dimension
of life: economic, social, political, spiritual, and emotional.
Every measurable observation about "quality of life"
favors those who live free. Furthermore, just as the history of
immigration patterns has demonstrated the desire to flee
totalitarian states for freedom, the history of nation-states has
been to reject tyranny for freedom. Witness, for example, the
American Revolution, the French Revolution, the breakup of
the Soviet Empire, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Tyrants have always denied freedom of religion, a freedom
that subjugated people inevitably hunger for. Why?
Because tyrants have known what people know: Truth is ultimately
found in Holy Scripture and the truth will set you
free. When people know that God intended them to be free
in this life, they demand that freedom. This is never so clear as
in Christianity, where people draw courage from their Lord
Jesus Christ, who freely fulfilled His responsibility and our
accountability on the cross so we can be free as God intended.
It is no wonder that the enemies of freedom are the enemies
of religion. It is no wonder that lovers of freedom ground that
love in faith. For in faith, as with all things, freedom is possible.
While the Lord God Almighty has the power to chain us
to Him, He has the love and the respect to allow us to come
of our own free will. We can honor our God and our Creator
if we will do the same for one another. That is the duty of
Freedom is our natural state, if we can hold on to it. Try
as he might, no man can deny another his freedom. We can,
however, forsake our freedom if we are weak. Just as Michael
had to fight through Satan's demons to get to Daniel in order
to interpret his dream correctly, we must with the Lord's help
fight the demons of sophistry, pride, audacity, irresponsibility,
unaccountability, tyranny, and fear to know our dream and
keep our freedom. The fight is worth it because freedom is
our greatest gift from God, and freedom works.
Excerpted from Armey's Axioms
by Dick Armey
Copyright © 2003 by Dick Armey.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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