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Freedom vs. Entitlements

April 25, 2016

Abraham Lincoln once remarked, “The world has never had a good definition of the word, liberty.”  But still, some of our liberties have been protected by Divinely inspired individual freedoms several examples are found in our very own Constitution: freedom to speak our mind, protections against intrusive medaling and self-incrimination, rights of self-protection, and the free practice of religion. But, at the pinnacle, stands rights of private property ownership; a right to possess, own, develop, and enjoy property without undue and unnecessary intervention.
Benjamin Franklin wisely wrote, “All property that is necessary for the conservation of the man...  …is his natural right.”  When governments seek unnecessarily to control property either through excessive taxation or directly, freedom dissipates. 

When societies gain wealth, feelings of entitlement start to grow, either from a belief that one is owed something or by greed.  Counterfeit freedom is enslavement through entitlement.

Several centuries ago, Christ taught his followers about the rich man who asked God to send Lazarus to help save his five brothers.  But God refused saying they would not listen any more than the rich man had. 

We strongly support helping, particularly those in great need, but they need to listen and be part of the solution.  This starts with a desire for self-improvement and applying one’s self – not sitting back and waiting for a handout.  For those who want to be part of the solution getting help through locally supported education, family members, private charities, and only as a last resort from local or state governments can help a person move forward.  Moving forward will never arise through government handouts. 

A strong reliance on our Creator provides a powerful antidote against entitlement.  Abandoning reliance on God leads to materialism and materialism to entitlement. Remembering our Maker is a powerful vaccine.  The greater the distance between the giver and receiver, the more likely the receiver will develop feelings of entitlement.   

Laura Ingles Wilder wrote several delightful books about family experiences during the latter Nineteenth Century.  Sometime after finishing her last book, she pondered on the hardships in the “Big Woods;” the famine along “Plum Creek,” and the bitter cold of the “Long Winter.”  In reflection, she left with this powerful advice:

“No other person, nor government, owed them a living.  They owed that to themselves and in some way they paid the debt and they found their own way. When possible they turned the bad into good. If not possible, they endured it.  Their old fashion character values are worth as much today as they ever were to help us over the rough places.” 
Today, more than ever, we need – courage, self-reliance, integrity and reliance on God.   “When we remember that our hardest times would have been easy times for our forefathers, it should help us to be of good courage, as they were, even if things are not all as we would like them to be,” Wilder concluded.

No free society ever survives excessive entitlements.  None! The entitlement mentality always enslaves people and nations.

Mark, Bill, and John


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