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Freedom and Responsibility

 Let’s take an extreme case. A robber breaks into your house and threatens you at the point of a gun. Discretion being the better part of valor, you give in and tell him where your valuables are hidden. But you make the decision, and you do the telling. If, instead of a robber, it were a kidnaper after your

child, it would be a different story. But in either case, your thoughts and acts are under your own control. Thousands of men and women have suffered torture and even death without speaking a word that their persecutors tried to make them speak. Your freedom of action may be forbidden, restricted,

or prevented by force. The robber, kidnaper, or jailer may bind your hands and feet and put a gag in your mouth. But the fact remains that no amount of force can make you act unless you agree -perhaps with hesitation and regret – to do so. I know this all sounds hairsplitting and academic, but it leads to a very important point – in fact, to two important points :

 

1. Individual freedom is the natural heritage of each living person.

2. Freedom cannot be separated from responsibility.

 

Your natural freedom -your control over your own life energy – was born in you along with life itself. It is a part of life itself. No one can give it to you, nor can you give it to someone else. Nor can you hold any other person responsible for your acts. Control simply can’t be separated from responsibility; control is responsibility.

 

The Mainspring of Human Progress, Henry Grady Weaver, p.19-20 (c) 1947

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