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

Coming to Account

Never have such extreme constraints been imposed on us – economic, emotional, and physically threatening.  The necessity to understand the current threat, to protect ourselves and to secure household and family, has required every bit of energy and attention.

Now, however, the reality of isolation is beginning to sink in.

Imagination easily wanders through feelings of helplessness and, perhaps, to thoughts of paranoia.  We are human beings, having a natural tendency to look for fault somewhere – the possibility of malevolence or the likelihood of mistakes and poor judgment – and to lay blame.

As people attempting to protect our families and to survive, such stray thoughts get us nowhere.  However, the opportunity to reflect deeply on our lives, both personal and societal, may be opening.  This is rare for many of us.

We are aware that things have not been right in America (and the world) for quite some time.

We have little opportunity as citizens to influence economic or political outcomes, yet we have significant control over how we manage our lives.

How have we been doing?

We value our own intelligence and self-respect.  So, given the opportunity to think, assess and evaluate — to reflect on what is missing in our lives or what we would like to do better – what ideas or principles might be helpful?

What ways of thinking might help at such an extraordinary time as this?

One of the principles available to us, and which comes with ancient roots in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the western world, is the idea that we each exist for a purpose – which presents itself in the opportunities we have to make a positive difference in the world, each in our own way.

Perhaps most importantly, this idea comes with recognition that our world is fragmented and in disarray.

The smallest acts of compassion and service, however insignificant they might seem, are the effective means for putting the world back together.

There is nothing new about this understanding.  All the world religions focus on healing and uniting the fragmentation of societies – on fostering fellowship within social and cultural diversity.

Why do so many adherents of the various religions fail to see this and understand?  Surely this is due, at least in part, to the habit of accepting only what feels comfortable, what is selfish and easy.  We reject the rest.

It has actually been in the direct response to catastrophe in religious history that the importance of individual deeds has come to be recognized as a fundamental principle.

It is in the immediacy of selfless interactions that we transform negative energy into a force that heals and restores the damage we experience in a battered world.

The smallest actions make a difference.

We do not need to be religious to do good or to understand moral responsibility.  To be moral is to do what is right or necessary, out of our own self-respect and not because somebody tells us we should.

Each of us is quite capable of rising up from our own difficulties and selfish preoccupations to reach out to others in straightforward ways.

In experiencing the effectiveness of selfless actions, we make a critical discovery – that we can look upon the disasters around us without concluding that America is irreparable or that human beings are irredeemable.

How important this is for the country, for our communities, and for the well-being of our own spirits!

A future that embodies the essential principles of the American Republic will depend upon citizen initiative that demonstrates the moral responsibility, trustworthiness and caring we are all capable of.

Let this become an everyday, habitual way of life: Allow it to color the character of your local community.  And watch what happens.

Tom

You may watch for the next post on or about April 22.

Note to new readers: A project description, introduction to the coming book, and several chapters in draft can be found linked at the top of this homepage.

  1. Life Interrupted – and Reconsidered 1 Reply
  2. America: Meaning and Challenge 2 Replies
  3. Unexpected Wisdom 2 Replies
  4. Finding Our Strength 4 Replies
  5. Values, Justice and Economics 2 Replies
  6. Deeper and More Dangerous 1 Reply
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  8. Disruption and Endurance Comments Off on Disruption and Endurance
  9. An Unexpected Threat 2 Replies
  10. A Confluence of Crises 2 Replies
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