- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2013

In a discussion a few days ago, a gentleman asked me, “What is individual freedom, or liberty?” It really caused me to pause for a moment, for, like most other Americans, I have always taken freedom for granted.

Because I was born and raised in America, I have never personally experienced government oppression the way billions of others have throughout history. So I began a search to answer for myself the real meaning of individual freedom, and to learn whether America is an exceptional country because of it. President Obama has said publicly he does not believe it is. Hearing a president of the United States make that statement struck me like a bolt of lightning.

After many days into the midnight hour of searching for the answer, I finally came to understand that individual freedom is the absence of restraint on our ability to think and act for ourselves. And of all the things that make America great, individual freedom is our most precious and greatest possession, and it is the reason we are an exceptional country.

Being free from government oppression that restrains our ability to think and act for ourselves has only one meaning, and it automatically carries with it individual responsibility. I believe very strongly in the power of the individual, and freedom is the capacity for self-determination. However, it is not cast in stone to forever be, but is rather a condition, and conditions can change if so allowed.

Individual freedom can grow and expand, but it can also shrink and disappear. It will be preserved only as long as there is devotion to freedom expressed in the hearts and actions of the people of America. President George W. Bush said a few years ago, “History moves toward freedom because the desire for freedom is written in every human heart.”

Mr. Obama promised “fundamental” change in America, but Americans were not looking to exchange individual freedom for subjugation to an expanding federal government with more and more regulation.

Our great nation is a representative republic, not a socialist state. Americans everywhere must get involved and take a stand against government control of our lives. Now is not the time to be silent as Mr. Obama attempts to dismantle this great country.

JOHN PORTER

Harrison, Ark.