Last time in Common Sense Civics and Citizenship, we discussed our national anthem being under attack again. https://www.facebook.com/commonsensecivics/posts/1273396769718458
One of the suggestions for a new national anthem is “America the Beautiful.” Now, critics read every line of every verse to look for any offensive terms. What do you think about these words from verse 2?
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control
Thy liberty in law!”
There seems to be a need for clarity on what “liberty” and “law” mean for all who reside within our borders. Not long ago, people understood it and were not offended by it. Many Americans remember singing this verse in school. Liberty in law ran in our veins as well as the concept of God.
Let’s start with the premise that law prepares us for liberty.
Rewind. Law prepares us for liberty.
Liberty does not mean “doing what you feel” like the cultural revolution of the 1960s. If you have any doubt, look around America today. Self-restraint is a virtue in a free society.
Liberty does not mean “free to be me” at any cost to those near you. There are certain expectations of you as a member of the human race in your home, at your job, even on vacation in another country. (Seriously. I’ve seen what Americans think they can do on foreign soil).
Liberty does not mean “my way or the highway.” Selfish people gain their fiefdoms at their own peril. The walls of self-centeredness crumble.
Liberty does not mean “God is dead.” In other words, you are not the center of the universe. You are accountable and responsible to a higher authority, no matter who you are or what you have.
You cannot be selfish and liberated at the same time. You are a prisoner of your desires. There is never enough or the right kind to satisfy you.
In short, liberty is the opposite of license. License is bondage. Liberty is best described for our purposes here as “the freedom to be all that we can be under the laws of nature and nature’s God.”
Law is only as good as it is applied equally to all people.
Law and consequences go hand in hand.
Law is a system of rules meant to regulate behavior for the sake of reasonable order and peaceable living. However, too many laws are autocratic and oppressive.
Effective laws bring order, not confusion.
Disobedience to the law without consequences yields chaos. Obedience to the law brings liberty and inward discipline.
Look around today. Could some of the confusion we are experiencing be due to the lack of clarity about liberty and law? I’m talking about the entire country from our national government on down to the family and individuals. Think about the above concepts of liberty and law applied to the greatest and least among us.
Perhaps we should sing our American songs from first to last verse. Instead of looking for what offends, we might find the things that mature us in our citizenship. “Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??