Jerry Marsengill

Liberty has become so deeply ingrained within us as a part of our American heritage, that few people can imagine a government in which the basic concept of human liberty does not exist. Our young protesters, shouting anti-American slogans, are using the very privileges which are given them by our government, to attempt to overthrow that government. Probably none of them give any thought to the immutable fact that, were they not being protected by the laws of the very government which they are endeavoring to overthrow they would be immediately executed as menaces to society. Certainly, they would not be allowed to even state such concepts let alone endeavor to practice violent overthrow of the government if they were within a totalitarian type of government. Whether these young people Will admit it or not, whether they are even acquainted with the abstract idea of liberty, it must be understood that liberty, as fine a thing as it is, is not merely freedom from restraint. The early immigrants to this country finding that there were certain laws which it was necessary that they obey rapidly became disillusioned with the American form of government and fell easy prey to the disciples of world socialism and of anarchy There simply is no possible situation where a government, regardless of the particular type of that government, can function practically if all restraints should be removed Before liberty can be granted to any people it must be safeguarded by certain restraints. What, then is real Liberty?

According to Brother H. L. Haywood: "In my own conception of it, liberty means that each man of us is to enjoy unhindered the full exercise of the normal functions and powers of his nature." This is a completely different concept from that of the theory of non-restraint: Man is by his very nature a gregarious creature. Take him away from the society of his fellows and he fails to function properly. Like all primates man must live in a group system and cannot function normally in a void. Liberty, to be enjoyed by a person must take into consideration the rights of all other members of the society. As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: "The right to free speech ends at the point where one shouts 'fire' in a crowded theater". Certainly any man has the right to punch out in the air with his fist, but his right to punch ends where the other fellow's nose begins. To be an effectual form of government liberty must be bound by certain laws which will protect the liberty of not just one but of all members of society

Procedure for Change

In our American system, any man should be free to disagree with the actions and the policies of the government. However when it is necessary to defend the form of government which gives him his liberty to disagree it is his duty, regardless of his intellectual disagreement, to conform to those policies with which he disagrees until such policies can be changed in the manner which is set up in our governmental system of checks and balances. Legislation, not violence is the only way to effect change and still retain the basic liberties to which all persons arc entitled. Certainly, no one has any right to tell another person how and what he should think or say. Neither has anyone any right to endeavor to inhibit any of the constitutional freedoms which each of us enjoys. When, however, we preach violence, and endeavor to disrupt the normal functions of the government by illegal means, we are, and by all rights should be, punished.

Violence doesn't beget liberty or freedom. Violence merely begets more and more violence. The tyranny of the medieval church, and that of the monarchs who presumed that they ruled by divine right, though crushing the basic liberties of the people for a time, eventually led to the overthrow of those oppressive governments. This is the reason for the form of government which we now enjoy. Though totalitarian governments may succeed for a while indicating to people the manner in which they will act, they cannot stifle the basic liberty of thought. Regardless of how many recant their belief in liberty with their mouths, yet their hearts and souls still believe in that same inalienable right of human dignity. The action of Galileo before the inquisition is a good case in point. The "Astronomers Drinking Song," a ribald little piece of irreverence, puts it thus:

"Poor Galileo, forced to rat
Before the Inquisition,
E pur si muove was the pat
He gave them in addition:
He meant, whatever you think you prove, v The earth must go its way, sirs:
Spite of your teeth, I'll make it move,
For I'll drink my bottle a day, Sirs!"

(Abraham de Moivre (1667-1754) French Mathematician.)

Restraint Necessary

What type of society would these "new revolutionaries" set up were they to be successful in their attempts to overthrow the established order? They would use approximately the same type of government which we now have, following a short period of anarchy and a somewhat longer period of dictatorship. The reason for this is, regardless of their much shouted slogans of "Power to the people" and their protestations that they will obey no law with which they do not agree, they would find themselves forced to use the same type of government under which they are now living. It is the only practical way in which they can be enabled to enjoy any of their much wished for "liberty." As was stated liberty, to be enjoyed, must be handled by certain restraints. One man's liberty ends where the other man's rights begin.