This Memorial Day, as we remember the brave men and women who sacrificed everything to protect us, we as a nation must come together to cherish their legacy and work to protect the fragile gift of freedom.
To commemorate our 50th anniversary, we commissioned The Support for Freedom Index, a first of its kind national study on freedom. Our survey showed that 38 percent of Americans feel less free than they did ten years ago. Why do so many Americans, despite having the world’s strongest military and despite the sacrifice of life and limb by many in the armed forces, feel that their precious freedoms are at risk? As our military heroes fight overseas, other threats come from within our country, from Washington, D.C., our state capitals and city hall.
In the past half century, our country has experienced an explosion of government intervention in the marketplace and in our daily lives. 2015 was a record-breaking year for regulation with our Federal Register amounting to 81,611 pages, an all-time high. This increase in government intervention, and our willingness to turn a blind eye to it, comes at a cost in terms of our freedom. And it has turned us into a nation of law-breakers. In his book “Three Felonies a Day,” civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate estimates that the average person unknowingly breaks at least three federal criminal laws every day.
As our organization celebrates 50 years at the forefront of building a culture of freedom, we continue to strive to find new ways to foster an understanding and an appreciation of liberty in the next generation. Through our academic and fellowship programs, we hope to bridge the gap that traditional education has left by passing on the message that our freedoms are precious, and fragile, and are worth fighting for, on campus, in the courtroom, and, when necessary, on the battlefield.
By taking responsibility for our lives rather than asking the government to provide security at the expense of liberty, we can contribute to a future where America remains the land of the free. The military does its part, but it takes more than dedicated servicemen to be free. We must also protect our constitutional limits on government, which prevent it from encroaching on our freedom.
While we enjoy a well-deserved break this weekend with family and friends, it is worth reflecting on not only the sacrifice of American servicemen and women, but also on the fragility of our liberty – the source of human prosperity and ingenuity.