ISSUES IN FOCUS
Week of July 12, 1998
Courage is integrity in the face of danger. The danger may be a threat to your life or simply the possible failure at some task before you, such as persuading others of the truth of your ideas. Courage is not the senseless sacrifice of your life and time to an undertaking that is clearly doomed to defeat. It is dedication, in action, to that which is possible.
Ideas created the possibility of America. Courage made America a reality.
Consider the momentous event of July 4, 1776. The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence risked everything: their lives and fortunes. Their enemy was the same we face today: the ideas of statism—which declared that your life is not your own. The Founding Fathers declared the opposite: you have a right to your own life; it is not the property of others.
In the first 16 months of their war, hardly anything went right. They lost virtually every battle until their victory at Saratoga, on October 17, 1777. They were still six years away from final success.
These men were faced with a large segment of the population that opposed the Revolution. There were those indifferent to the fight, blind to the significance of it all. Sunshine patriots deserted the cause. These were the times that tried men’s souls, as Thomas Paine eloquently put it. Yet these men were undeterred by opposition or indifference: they pressed on.
Were they ever discouraged? Yes, but they never gave up.
In the winter of 1779, at Morristown, George Washington harbored grave doubts about winning the war with so much of the public indifferent to the needs of his soldiers, who were poorly clothed and poorly fed. He feared all would be lost if he did not receive more support, but he pressed on.
These men were surrounded by the fools, by the dishonest, by the ignorant, by the indifferent, by loyalists who opposed the rebels and supported the statist regime of King George. Does any of this sound familiar? It should, since, with the exception of King George, it is an accurate description of the cultural landscape surrounding today’s freedom fighters.
Today, the threat to freedom comes from the spiritual descendants of King George: statists and their ideas. Statism rests on nothing, except quicksand. It rests on falsehood, not truth—on fog, not clarity—on force, not reason—on arrogation, not right. If statism eventually wins, it will win by default, by the surrender of those who failed to summon the courage to fight on the battlefield of ideas.
If you are discouraged by the indifferent, remember: such people make no difference precisely because of their indifference. If you are disheartened by the momentary success of liars, remember: courageous honesty strikes fear in the hearts of such liars. If you are paralyzed by the fact that you cannot single-handedly change the world, remember the Founding Fathers: they didn’t do it alone, they did it together, by joining with others to change the world. If you think the battle is hopeless because you are, for the moment, in the minority, remember: a minority created America and it was their indomitable courage, their unconquerable souls, that made their success possible.
Over 200 years ago, a few courageous men, armed with the right ideas, changed the course of the world in the direction of freedom. If they did it, so can we. This is the lesson of the Fourth of July. They started the revolution for freedom. We must complete it.
In the concluding paragraph of the final chapter of Fatal Blindness, I issue a call for courage, the courage needed to make freedom’s dream a reality:
"The sun of freedom still hangs above the horizon. Is it its twilight or its dawn? Is it to be your freedom’s twilight, eventually bringing us a night of brutality and depravity? Or, is it to be the dawn of this country’s rebirth, the beginning of a trip which will take us to the sunlit brightness of living your life in total freedom? While freedom’s sun still shines through the storm clouds of statism hanging over this country, while its rays still touch some part of your life, while you still have the freedom to decide, you must choose to make this the dawn of the rebirth of freedom in America. If you value your life, you must support those who are working to reverse this country’s direction, who are working to halt its slide into the bloody pit of some future tyranny. If you lend your support to those who seek to head this country in the direction of liberty, if you fight the fight for freedom, we will finally complete the dream of America’s founders, we will finally complete and make real their shining vision: America, the free!"
July 5, 1998
LIBERTY! The American Revolution is a six-part television series about the American Revolution. I have not seen the program yet, so I cannot vouch for the content of the series or its quality. However, the program's web site is full of interesting information about the Founding Fathers, including a Timeline of the Revolution. This site is worth a visit.
© Copyright 1998 Fulton Huxtable