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However, I was never so naive as to believe that freedom, in any full sense of theword, is possible to more than a few. But I have believed and do believe that thesefew, by self-sacrifice, by wisdom, by courage, by continuous and tremendous effort,can achieve and maintain a free world. The labor is heroic, but it can be done; byexample and by education, it can be achieved. This is the faith that built America;this is the faith that America has surrendered, and this is the faith that I call on America to renew or perish.We are one nation, and one world. The soul of the slums looks out of the eyes of Wall Street, and the fate of a Chinese coolie deter mines the destiny of America.We cannot suppress our brothers' liberty without murdering ourselves. We willstand together, as men, for human freedom and human dignity, or we will falltogether, simians all, back to the swamp.In this late, this very late hour, it is with solutions that we must be primarilyconcerned. I seem to be living in a nation that simply does not know what freedomis.We believe that it is a word, a piece of paper -- something we are told that we have-- that we tell each other we have. Indeed, it is more -- far more than that.It is to that object -- to the definition of freedom, to its under standing, in order that itmay be attained and defended, that this essay is devoted. I need not add thatfreedom is a dangerous thing. But it is hardly possible that we are all cowards.
I. A Sword is Drawn
For numberless centuries society unquestioningly accepted the proposition thatcertain men were created to be slaves, whose natural function was to serve priestsand kings, nobles and great lords, men of substance and property that wereappointed slavemasters by almighty God. Further, this system was reinforced bythe established doctrines that all men and women were owned, their minds by thechurch, their bodies by the state. This convenient situation was sup ported by aconsiderable body of authority, morals, religion, and philosophy. Against this doctrine, some two hundred years ago, was openly raised the mostastonishing heresy the world has ever known, the principle of liberalism. Inessence, this principle stated that all men were created equal, and endowed withinalienable rights. The words inalienable rights mean rights which cannot be takenaway, which belong to a man, as his birthright.This principle appealed to certain intractable spirits, heretics, atheists andrevolutionaries, and has since, in spite of the opposition of the majority of organized society, made some headway. As a doc trine, it has become so popular that it is rendered lip service by all the major states.But it is still so distasteful to persons in authority and seeking authority that it is