Let Freedom Ring
The rivalry is always good-natured. It's the debate over which state has the greatest freedoms for home schoolers. It takes place each year at the national conference as home school leaders from nearly every state gather in the fall.
This year, under our recently-revised law, Idaho staked its claim to that honor. Although other states came close, none could equal the newly-acquired liberties that home educators enjoy here. And all were stunned to learn that the bill recognizing our new freedoms passed both houses of the Idaho legislature unanimously.
So now that Idaho has gained the distinction of having the greatest home schooling liberty anywhere in the country (indeed, in the world), may I encourage each of us to ponder the subject of our beloved liberty and freedom. For, if we fail to understand the fragile nature of the great treasure that we have been given, it will be lost.
The quotes which follow all touch on our precious liberties. But as you will see, not everyone views freedom with the same high regard. Some comments will inspire. Some will amuse. Others are sure to surprise or even irritate.
I hope you will contemplate these comments and let them sharpen your own understanding of the wealth of freedoms which we are, for the moment, privileged to enjoy.
"It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed."Vladimir Lenin
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same"Ronald Reagan
"It does not take a majority to prevail . . . but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."Samuel Adams
"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking . . . is freedom"Dwight D. Eisenhower
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."Thomas Paine
"Listen, when you take my liberty away, you've taken away more - something more precious than life. I mean, what good is life without liberty?"Dr. Jack Kevorkian
"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common, but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."Alexis de Tocqueville
"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves."Henry David Thoreau
"When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking, or thinking, I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more."John Adams
". . . to protect the right to home educate in Idaho without government oversight or interference."ICHE Mission Statement
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."Thomas Jefferson
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."James Madison
"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once."Robert A. Heinlein
"We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought."Bertrand Russell
"Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."John Quincy Adams
"The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom."Lady Bird Johnson
"In freedom, we drive a perilous winding road. If distracted for even a moment, we will find ourselves up to our axles in well-meant tyranny."J. Barrington Peters
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."Thomas Jefferson
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."Thomas Jefferson
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."Thomas Jefferson
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."Benjamin Franklin
"Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive."Theodore Roosevelt
"Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches."Will Rogers
"All government, of course, is against liberty."H. L. Mencken
"Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost."Jean Jacques Rousseau
"Liberty is the right to do what I like; license, the right to do what you like."Bertrand Russell
"When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near."Will Durant
"'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded."Friedrich A. von Hayek
"It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once."David Hume
"Every law is an infraction of liberty."Jeremy Bentham
Less than 25 years ago, six Idaho parents languished in jail due to their home schooling convictions. Their children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed with other families.
We have been blessed to rise from such tyranny to the pinnacle of freedom in one generation.
As we savor that sweet liberty, let us remain vigilant, always ready to defend against those who might wish to roll back the clock.
BARRY PETERS is an attorney in private practice with offices in Eagle, Idaho, and is one of the legal advisors for both ICHE and CHOIS. His law practice focuses on the areas of wills & trusts, real estate contracts, and business formations. He and his wife, Res, homeschooled their daughters, both of whom have now graduated from college.