All Commentary
Monday, April 1, 1963

We Call it Freedom

Mr. Gates, who does machine accounting work at Pensacola, Florida, also finds time to con­sider the meaning of freedom.

I’m not a very educated man. I have no degree, no certificate that says, “Genius, type a, b, or c.” I can’t find my birth certificate, so legally I can’t even prove I was born.

The only thing I have stamped on me is common to all mankind. We call it freedom.

Each of us is born free. Yet by our own great misunderstanding of what freedom is, we shackle ourselves with the bonds of gov­ernment and spurious intellectual­ism.

The basic concept of freedom is lost. For God—not government—gave us freedom. The law—the government—did not give us life, liberty, property, or anything else.

The purpose of government is only to help us protect our right to these gifts from God.

The reason we are losing our freedom is simply because we don’t know what it is. We even ask “gov­ernment” what freedom is. We ask the officials to define it for us and to write it down. But the officials in Washington are supposed to protect our freedom, not to tell us what it is. If they tell us what it is, we don’t have it. If we ask them what it is, we have already lost it.

I am an I.B.M. operator. If I speak of anything outside this area, I’m considered some kind of nut. Well, in truth, I guess I am some kind of nut. I don’t have to ask anybody what freedom is or where it comes from. I’m an I.B.M. operator because I like it. But I refuse to limit myself to that. I also study, read, write, think, and dream. I practice free­dom, my gift from God.

So I’m laughed at. So what! One usually is scorned today when he points out that we are losing our freedom to our own government. Perhaps it is not even govern­ment’s fault. If we don’t know what freedom is, they will tell us what it is. If we don’t know where it comes from, they will tell us it comes from them. If we won’t pro­tect it ourselves, they will protect it for us.