Freedom is not a solitary journey through a desert, where every error and deviation may be fatal; it is found between the hedges and walls of a populous land, defining sovereign islets that combine in mutual defence and succour.
Like a musical string, its harmony relies on bounds. It is the tension between tyranny and anarchy, a common land affording refuge from public and private oppression. It is not lawless. Liberty is to defy another's rule; freedom, to obey one's own; free doom, the "freo la3e" of La3amon's Brut. No law, no freedom.
And now, confusedly and perhaps too late, we must begin to defend our freedom. Here in the once United Kingdom, our self-rule is fragmenting and being sold piecemeal to an unlicked bear-whelp of an aggregated foreign power; in the United States, many of the people and a handful of their representatives are calling for a rally around the principles of the Constitution, while the government becomes forgetful of its foundation. In both, there is economic mismanagement and perilous concentration of wealth. The Big Brother of a political power cutting itself free from popular franchise has his arm round the shoulder of Big CEO, whose business no longer depends on the community from which it sprang. The land will be cleared or peopled at its masters' pleasure; they will move us between their pastures for their profit. The movement will show us that the earth is not ours. We shall be rootless. We shall be dispossessed, wanderers, desperate hired men, like the landless Gregora of Scotland.
This is where we were some two centuries ago. It must all be fought for again, but perhaps, like the valiant tailor, we shall again find a way to overcome the rich and powerful who ravage our lands. Long before the battle, the American Revolution began to assemble its forces among a rabble of pamphleteers, philosophers, dissident clergy, smallholders, inventors, dreamers and adventurers. Every voice, however small, adds to the chorus.
My brother became an American citizen yesterday. Part of the ceremony was a homily, in which the presiding official said (was it a quotation from Jefferson?) that liberty was not passed down to one's children by nature, but by one's actions.
Although my brother has his own views on religion, and although I feel that America has, and has always had, much to learn in its foreign relations, it is without irony that I wish a blessing on America and the American people, and my newly American family.
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Ronald Reagan 40th president of US (1911 - 2004)