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Speak Free, Write Free, Live Free
The price we owe to our ancestors is undying gratitude, and the price we owe to ourselves and posterity is eternal vigilance. The Freemen News-Letter seeks to answer and reckon with such a charge.
“Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words give you a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat – the same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first step or his first baby shaves and makes his first sound as a man. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words.”
Today, over two centuries ago, a few wise men seeking to preserve liberty for themselves and their children signed their names to a document that culminated one of the most momentous spans of time in the annals of history.
What had begun with a seemingly simple dispute over taxation had grown into a revolution unlike anything the world had ever seen before. Something had caught fire in the hearts of colonial Americans, and they rose up to become something only seen in a few places and at a few times across the entire saga of mankind: a nation of freemen.
And it was the Constitution, that great political charter of free government, that secured such a nation, one committed and dedicated to safeguarding the values espoused years before in the Declaration of Independence, the prospect that “all men are created equal” and that we have rights given to us not by a man sitting upon an earthly throne but decreed immutably through divine birthright.
And so, today, in memory of those who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor and of those who built and preserved for us a nation of freemen, we embark upon a journey to answer and reckon with Benjamin Franklin’s charge to keep the republic we have been given.
Today, we launch the Freemen News-Letter, a place I will endeavor as its Editor in Chief, with all the passions of my being, to craft into a beacon of enlightenment upon the first principles of free government, a community for deliberation and discussion upon the laws and processes that safeguard our republic, and a place to share both the realities and the aspirations of our written and unwritten constitutions.
And in this effort, we must allow no disheartening setbacks nor sojourns through the political wilderness to dissuade our course or cause us to falter in dismay. For I personally disagree with Ronald Reagan’s well-intended warning that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Freedom, as a birthright from God, lies within the grasp of all men at all times and in all places, if they are but willing to pay the price for winning and preserving it. No earthly fetters can ever fully extinguish the fires of liberty placed in the hearts of all men by their Creator. And neither can I believe that the perpetual and sacred sacrifice of blood, sweat, and tears in liberating strife placed upon the altar of freedom by the generations who have come before us can be so easily swept away.
This, then, is the proper course for our defense of this great republic. We must proceed with both eternal vigilance but also with undying gratitude. We cannot let the proper vigilance of a patriot become the panicked voice of fear and reaction. Neither can we let the gratitude and security provided by the strong foundations and deep roots we stand upon fall into a careless state of apathy, complacency, and indifference. We must have both a watchful eye and a grateful heart.
And through this path, perhaps we can strike the first chords of a renewed effort to carry on the composition of the great unfinished symphony that is America, in the hope that it can crescendo into a new enlightenment and another great awakening.
This is my hope as we embark on this journey to conserve and renew American constitutionalism, to preserve for ourselves and our children a birthright as freemen, just as those who came before us did in crafting the Constitution on this day so many years ago.
So, welcome, my friends, to the Freemen News-Letter. May we speak free, may we write free, and may we live free.
Justin Stapley received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Utah Valley University, with emphases in Political Philosophy and Public Law, American History, and Constitutional Studies. He is the Founding and Executive Director of the Freemen Foundation as well as Editor in Chief of the Freemen News-Letter. @JustinWStapley