Sunday, February 28, 2010

Maybe the intro of a book someday...

In the early 1600’s religious pilgrims came to the New World seeking refuge from what they considered lands that persecuted their faith. They came to America.

America was founded, in part, by the idea of religious freedom.

Around that same time, a British colony at Jamestown, Virginia, was founded. Those who came there sought the bountiful riches that the New World could provide, sought to create for themselves a life where economic prosperity would depend on their own ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit.

America was founded, in part, by a drive to succeed.

In 1735, John Peter Zenger was found not guilty for having published material that criticized the governor of New York colony, despite the law at the time stating that any material such as that would be considered libelous and criminal.

America was founded, in part, by the idea of free speech and free expression.

In 1773, American colonists who were fed up with being taxed without having a fair representation in British Parliament, dumped thousands of pounds of tea into Boston Harbor. To this day, Americans prefer coffee to tea.

America was founded, in part, by the idea of equality and fair representation.

Upon declaring their independence, Thomas Jefferson penned a brilliant display of what this country was meant to be, a mission statement of sorts that we call the Declaration of Independence. This document wasn’t only influential in America; it has influenced dozens of countries around the world.

America was founded, in part, by the ideas of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Combine these ideas, and what do you get? The foundation of liberalism. Free speech and free belief; free thought and free expression; a drive for excellence and improvement of one’s lot; an equal footing in the marketplace of ideas; the ability to work hard and succeed, bettering your life in the process.

We might not always agree on the means to reach our ends; but we want the same things. The invisible hand of economics cannot guarantee the things our founding fathers laid out for us. As liberals, we encourage free enterprise, the rewards of success, and the ability to spend your money how you like. But we also believe in giving those who are with want, who are unable to provide for their families through no fault of their own, the opportunities to become successful, to become the innovators that drive our country forward.

This is what liberalism stands for.

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