How free do you want to be, America(ns)?

I was challenged this morning with a very personal question: “How free do you want to be?”  It was unrelated to the subject of politics, but, as with all deadly serious truths, has political implications.

As I consider the question personally, my answer is “I want to be as free as I can be, as God would have me be.”

I know at a very deep level He wants me free, wants my family free, wants our neighbors free, wants the world free.  He is clear on this – at least to me, when I am quiet enough to listen.  Men and women – sometimes speaking for themselves, sometimes for another – do not always want to do the hard, right things freedom requires, the most important of which is pursuing the will of one greater than themselves.

This question startles me.  How free do you want to be, America? But I don’t think it can be asked this way solely.  It must be asked of individuals: How free do you want to be, Americans?  Together, these appeal to the collective and to the individual.  This is what statists get wrong time and time again: they appeal only to the collective and forsake the individual.  They must.  It is rather a fundamental tenet of statism: the individual must be destroyed for the collective’s sake.

It seems to me the questions that might stir the good and right in individuals – embolden them, pushing away the despair – are all rooted in this simple question: How free do you want to be?

It is a Reaganesque sort of question, isn’t it?  When a politician, effusing humility, asks this question – makes it a strong theme, the statists will have no answer but to defend the state and shame the individual.  When a politician makes this question resonate, the shame will evaporate.