About the Project

Lincoln3

Freedom’s Truth: Reality and Responsibility

Liberty and the American Idea is a writing project that includes this blog, a forthcoming book, and the development of additional resources. The blog also appears on Facebook, where more than 2600 readers are following.

The project is exploring the meaning of freedom and responsibility in American history and culture, and addresses the immense challenges currently confronting the American people.  It is a response to a decades-long deterioration of social and economic conditions in the United States, to the growing antipathy, divisiveness, and loss of civility among Americans, and to the loss of integrity and self-reliance in the American character.

Without partisan posturing or polemic, the book brings together the history of ideas influencing the United States with a strategic proposal for bringing us through a long night of hardship and into a future we can believe in.  A pragmatic approach to healing and reconstruction is offered, which transcends political divisions and proposes a path forward to inspire and engage every citizen.

With insights into how personal freedom and empowerment can be realized despite the obstacles we face, and how our ability to live and work with our neighbors depends on our own self-confidence and discipline, it proposes a direct path to long-term stability and honorable prosperity.

After briefly outlining the complexity of the challenges before us, the first half of the book offers wide-ranging consideration of the historical perceptions and ways of thinking that will influence any effort to strengthen the foundations for a truly American future we can respect and believe in.

A strategic approach is then presented in the second half of the book which responds directly to the growing disorder we can expect from multiple oncoming crises.  Americans are encouraged to rise above our differences to the extent necessary to ensure safety and ensuring access to essential needs in our local communities.

Rational attention to resolving local problems and meeting shared needs will necessarily lead to functional civility, allowing us to engage rationally.  Only in this way can we come to understand and influence one another meaningfully.

This strategy is outlined briefly in the Introduction to the book, (linked at the top of this page), and developed fully in the book.  The project will include developing practical resources for strong, well-organized American communities.

Until the book is published, most blog posts will be adapted from the manuscript.  At the top of this page, several full chapters are made available in draft, as well as a tentative Table of Contents.  Thoughtful responses from readers, and dialog among readers, will be welcomed and greatly appreciated.  Rules of engagement are posted at the bottom of the homepage.

 

Recent Posts

Finding Our Strength

We have choices to make.  They might differ from the choices we are used to thinking about, but these are not normal times.  Indeed, it appears the challenges before us are likely to worsen before they get better.

Faced with crises and instability we turn our attention to safety. And, our local community is where that needs to happen.  Shall we strengthen dependability with our neighbors and build supportive relationships, or pretend that every day will be like the last?

When the world is breaking down and hardship grows, we can always find common cause with our neighbors.  We need people in our lives who have the practical knowledge and skills to help resolve local problems – whatever their politics or religion or the color of their skin.

This is a choice that calls for wisdom and initiative.   Common sense, really, but the first step is always ours to take.  The road to security is built with civility and paved with trust.

Building community can be hard work, but it is the only certain protection from calamity.

Conflict is natural in relationships, yet differences can only be fully understood and surmounted in and through relationships. It is in the work on interpersonal relations that direct and honest communication can take place.

The means for making this fractious process possible and effective in America is the subject of this blog and my forthcoming book.  Yet, it will not succeed unless we believe it is worth the effort.

Some may say it’s too late.  I say that Americans are courageous, resourceful, resilient.  The United States was conceived in controversy; and the vision of the Founders came with recognition that wisdom and strength are found in diversity.

Indeed, it is argued here that diversity is the foundation for strength, and that the United States Constitution is a visionary assertion of this belief.

The Founders gave us a structure.  It is our responsibility to make it work.

We are confronted today by one of the great tests of American history, a challenge to the intent embodied in the Constitution and the coherence of a vision that has been gradually maturing for more than two hundred years.

Perhaps we have lost our way at times, stumbled, gotten sloppy.  But now it is time to pull together.  It is argued here that we must begin in our local communities – the historic home to democracy and the seat of civilization.

Stability cannot be imposed from above in a free society.  The kind of strength we seek is grounded in trust and dependability in personal relations.  This is the nature of genuine community.

I am not talking about a “recovery” from crisis in the normal sense.  Rather, I submit that we stand at the threshold of an unprecedented turning point – a crossroads that offers a unique window of opportunity for Americans to affirm and uphold our exceptional and multifaceted identity as a nation.

In navigating through an extraordinary confluence of crises we will be forced to renew our values, think on our feet, and make both pragmatic and ethical adjustments.

A creative process is now underway that would not be possible otherwise.

We need to assess our shared values and rethink the generosity of spirit that once made America so attractive to the world.

If American communities are to emerge into a vibrant matrix of local and regional networks, they will depend on citizens with diverse skills and varied perspectives, people who are capable of teamwork and practical problem-solving.

Resistance to diversity is often caused by discomfort with those who look or think differently, or who come from unfamiliar cultural backgrounds.  Yet, in crises it is differences in perspective that allow effective problem-solving.  We cannot afford to do without this.

You should feel confidence in your own ideas and values.  Yes, but why should we be afraid to hear and understand different ways of thinking?

The strength in calm composure brings us clear mindedness and the ability to listen well.

The opportunity to explore the world through the eyes of those different from ourselves is a blessing and a gift.  And, in the event of social collapse it may be the key to survival.

Tom

A note to readers:  You may look for the next post on or about February 26.  New readers can find a project description, an introduction to the coming book, and drafts of several chapters on the homepage.  New chapters have recently been added, including one on Freedom and Individualism.

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