Give Me Liberty

By Regnery, Alfred S. | The American Spectator, February 2008 | Go to article overview

Give Me Liberty


Regnery, Alfred S., The American Spectator


INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY-the foundation of our freedom, the essence of the Constitution, and one of the foremost contributions of the English common law-continues to be as vibrant a topic as it was during the Constitutional debates in Philadelphia. Hardly a day goes by without a headline or two involving some aspect of, or challenge to, the liberty that we Westerners hold so dear. But too often, many of us take the idea of individual liberty for granted, assuming simply that it is one of those things to which we are entitled, and that will never go away.

Where does the concept come from and what does it mean? Is it an inevitable part of Western culture? How enduring is it and what does it take to protect it? To what extent is the development of individual liberty a product of Judeo-Christian ideals-ideals developed over centuries throughout the Western world?

To the American founders, protection of individual rights against the tyranny of government, against an overzealous bureaucracy, or even against the most well-meaning, if ill-conceived, efforts of the legislature was the essential task of the new republic they were forming. Ultimately, after much debate, these protections would become the basis of the Bill of Rights: freedom to say or write what we believe, to worship as we please, to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure, and to enjoy the right to a trial by our peers and, yes, even the right to bear arms.

We thought that these ideas would be worth exploring in the pages of our magazine, and so we asked the John Templeton Foundation to support a series of major articles on the subject, the first of which appears in this issue. Over the next year, The American Spectator will explore these questions, and many others, in every issue. …

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