December 25, 2000
As a strong believer in liberty and constitutionally limited government, I often find myself opposing Congress and the administration on a wide variety of legislative and policy matters. The fight to preserve and restore liberty seems endless, and it is tempting for liberty-minded Americans to feel overwhelmed by the battle. Oftentimes the outlook from Washington appears bleak; new threats to freedom arise constantly. Yet while freedom indeed requires eternal vigilance, we also must remember to take time to reflect upon and celebrate our great fortune as American citizens. The Christmas holiday provides us an opportunity to turn our attention away from the political landscape, and focus on our families and loved ones. It is very important that we appreciate the blessings of liberty we all enjoy as Americans, blessings which are easy to overlook when we are caught up in our daily lives. Our freedom is our greatest national treasure and resource. Countless thousands have died protecting it in wars; countless others have risked everything to reach American soil. As you celebrate the holidays with your families, I urge you to celebrate our freedoms as well.
America is the only nation truly conceived in liberty. The Founding Fathers, weary of oppression and taxation by a faraway king, made the heroic decision to secede and stake a claim to their own nation. They sought to disavow centuries of tribal warring, medieval feudalism, and collectivist rule by tyrants of every stripe. For the first time in human history they created a governmental system where the state existed to serve the individual, rather than vice versa. It is impossible to overstate how radical this notion was at the time (and still is today). They created the first society where individual human happiness was held up as an ideal. The limited state established by the Constitution was charged with fostering that happiness by protecting property rights and preventing aggression. The courage of our Founders, clearly demonstrated in the resulting secessionist war with England, was fueled by their unquenchable desire to be free. Their daring set the stage for the emergence of the America we enjoy today.
225 years later, our undeniable status as the greatest nation on earth is due to our origins as a free society. America is a place of unequaled prosperity. Our capitalist economic system, which is the only system compatible with freedom, creates affluence far beyond that of any other country. Capitalism provides the incentive for tremendous individual achievement, which benefits society as a whole. Americans of all economic classes enjoy a better standard of living and greater opportunities than the inhabitants of any other nation.
Innovations in medical science, particularly preventative and emergency care, allow us to lead happier and healthier lives than ever before. These innovations, combined with improvements in diet, have vastly increased our average life expectancy. New drugs permit us to eradicate or lessen the severity of a multitude of diseases. Young Americans today can look forward to leading far longer and more comfortable lives than their parents and grandparents.
The American information technology industry continues to lead the world. Our software and internet companies dominate the worldwide marketplace (not coincidentally, high tech is our least regulated industry). Talented individuals in technological fields have come to the U.S. from around the globe, increasing our competitive advantage. The technological boom of the past decade, and the resulting rise in technology markets, was largely an American phenomenon. America is poised to continue to lead the world in information technology in the new century, to the benefit of all Americans.
Liberty is the cornerstone upon which the greatness of America is based. Our prosperity and status as a world leader surely will continue if we strive to foster liberty at home. The challenges before us are great, but we must never forget to appreciate the wonderful liberty we enjoy every day.