What’s in a Word?


The proud theme of this column has been Liberty.  In choosing this theme, I took the risk of sounding like a political nerd, because I know that some people will react to it that way.  Had I chosen “Freedom” as the theme, there would have been less of a risk.  So what’s in a word, and why take the risk?  Because Liberty is the theme that our Founding Fathers and Mothers stressed for our country.  Not only did they not shy away from it, they lost no opportunity to accent it.  Thus it is prominently stated in our Declaration of Independence: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” the Preamble to our Constitution: “Secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” and later even our Pledge of Allegiance: “With Liberty and Justice for All.”  And what is the definition of Liberty?  People like Thomas Jefferson defined it as being able to live your life as you choose, as long as doing so does not wrongly affect the ability of other people to do the same.

So in the last 21 editions of this column, we have discussed how Liberty works in many different areas: in education, immigration, our tax system, healthcare, marriage equality, and allowing honest competition in the marketplace and world trade instead of employing crony capitalism and protectionism.  Thus we have seen that Liberty is not just a philosophy or an approach, we have seen that Liberty is practical – and it works!  It was Henry Ford, who is not my favorite American socially, but who, from a practical standpoint, said it best: “Anyone who thinks they can prosper by relying upon the Government should talk with the American Indian.”  So join with us Libertarians and stress and be a constant advocate for Liberty.  And don’t shy away from using that word.  We don’t have all of the answers in this complicated world.  But we certainly have one of them.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)