Guest Opinion: July 4: What does freedom really mean?

RBC I On Independence Day we celebrate the gift of freedom given to us 239 years ago by the founders of our great nation.
Freedom is as precious as life itself. However, its true value is rarely appreciated unless it is either threatened or lost.
July Fourth isn’t just a day off. It’s more than barbecues and parties.

The Fourth of July is a time to renew your gratitude for your good fortune to be living in the greatest country in the world.
In 1776, America became the first country to be founded on the recognition of the sanctity of individual freedom. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the core of America.
The power of American freedom unleashed the human spirit as never before. In less than 200 years, Americans had invented, developed, produced and accomplished more than societies thousands of years old. Our gift of freedom has enabled Americans to create the highest standard of living in history.
Although the human spirit yearns for freedom, tyrannical regimes have been the norm throughout history. Since the dawn of mankind, people around the world have lived miserable, subjugated lives repressed by monarchs, fascists, tyrants and dictators who controlled virtually every aspect of their lives.
Our founders understood the tactics used by these oppressors to enslave a population through the suppression of freedom. America’s founders knew tyrants had an attitude that they were above the law and better than others. Our founders foresaw that authoritarian individuals would inevitably come along, intent on stealing power and wealth from the people.
Authoritarians’ quest for power and control utilizes a strategy of deception. They publicly claim to seek to protect your liberty, while deceitfully working behind your back to eliminate one freedom after another.
In America, no one has the right to take your freedom.
The yearning to be free from oppression is our core. We recognize freedom as a fundamental, unalienable right. In America, we are free to succeed or fail. It’s an individual choice, not the dictate of any ruling class.
We are free to take personal responsibility for our lives, rather than expecting others to take care of us. It is this freedom, to be the masters of our destiny, which is a precious gift.
We have more rights and freedoms than anywhere else in the world. Our freedoms are innate, not privileges granted by government. Every item in the Bill of Rights is a precious jewel designed to ensure the immortality of our liberty.
America was founded to allow each citizen to control his or her destiny without fear of interference by government or others. Our government was intentionally designed to serve the people rather than vice versa.
Our government was specifically structured to play a minimal role in people’s lives.
Every American benefits from the gift of freedom. Success has a positive impact on all.
It creates a vibrant, growing society filled with opportunity. People are willing to work hard when they are free to benefit from their efforts and able to retain the fruits of their labor.
Nothing surpasses the gift of freedom where each individual has the right to determine their own life.
What is the alternative? Is it being told what you can and cannot do? Is it having some person or government deciding what, and how much you are permitted to have?
Our Constitution was crafted explicitly to protect freedom and prevent government from infringing on individual liberties. The Constitution has numerous checks, balances and safeguards designed to prevent the rise of tyranny.
But our Constitution is only a document.
Maintaining our free society requires constant vigilance and participation.
There will always be those seeking to subvert the Constitution in order to seize control.
If freedom is allowed to fall, one freedom after another is lost, creating a chain reaction that ultimately consumes all of your liberty. Your freedom was hard to get, but it is easy to lose. Although it takes vigilance to protect it, it takes so much more effort to get it back once it’s gone.
Only you can ensure that no one steals your gift of freedom.

Bryan is the author of “Dare to Live Without Limits.” Contact Bryan at Bryan@columnist.com or visit www.DareToLiveWithoutLimits.com.