6- On Freedom: Wisdom as Required Reading
We all want to be free—after all, America is the “land of the free and the home of the brave”—but freedom often alludes us. Our constitution says freedom is an “unalienable right,”and our national history is filled with examples of great sacrifice to secure freedom. And yet so few are truly free.
Give a person work and he may eventually find himself enslaved to it. What once was a joy will become rot to his bones, but he stays with it because he has to.
Give a person television and what once was interesting and pleasurable will become consuming, but he keeps watching, because he has to.
Give a person time and money and he will find addictions. Instead of using his freedom to better himself or others, he may very well spoil that freedom on himself. But he keeps going back to his addiction, because he has too.
America is freer than we ever hoped, and more enslaved than we ever feared.
This is the storyline that companies like Harley-Davidson and Jayco RVs are tapping into. One of the funniest ads from Harley recently is a guy driving a mini-van, and the caption reads, “How long are you in for?” Freedom is the open road.
The full-time RV life-style has become more popular, and a Youtube phenomenon. Full-time RV’ers have similar stories of the freedom from their “nine to five.” Freedom is unlimited travel.
But all the motorcycles and RVs can’t solve this deeper problem of inner freedom. Freedom is mental and spiritual as much as it is physical, political, or financial. We can be free, even while bound. But we can be bound, even when free.
The great English philosopher Edmund Burke put his finger on this missing ingredient to freedom. He said, “But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and
madness, without tuition or restraint.”
What world is this, that humans could take a good thing like freedom and turn it into unrestrained madness—without even realizing it? What world could it be, that humans could be rescued from this madness, whether at work or in a mini-van?
It would be a world where the freedom of our actions leads us to fulfillment and satisfaction, where freedom is wielded by knowledge and understanding. Maybe it would be a world where the ultimate pursuit isn’t freedom alone, but freedom with a backbone.
If freedom is a “certain unalienable right,” then wisdom is required reading.
Kerrigan Capital and Risk Management
3543 N Crossing Cir, Valdosta, GA 31602
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