Note: A version of the following was delivered as the keynote address at the Jefferson County Lincoln Day Dinner, May 11, 2013 in Lakewood, Colorado.
Historically, Americans have taken freedom and individual liberty very seriously.
When King George III crossed the line, our forefathers pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. They declared and won our freedom.
To finally resolve the evil of slavery and achieve freedom for all Americans, 600,000 Americans died in the Civil War.
To defeat Nazi Tyranny, 420,000 Americans and more than 60 million globally sacrificed their lives to preserve freedom.
Ronald Reagan called the enemies of freedom what they are – evil – and he preserved freedom by winning the Cold War without firing a shot, as Margaret Thatcher noted.
Polite politicians don't often use that word – "evil" – but, Reagan was right.
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
We're living in a time when freedom is again being assaulted.
Not just by foreign threats, but by an increasingly tyrannical central government.
Jefferson warned about this kind of assault on our freedom.
"The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and ... breaks up the foundations of society."
"Guilty of a crime" – that's pretty strong stuff, especially considering the source!
In 2009 I published my book – A Return to Values. I suggested that politicians should use a simple test before deciding to vote Yea or Nay on any particular piece of legislation: "Does this preserve freedom, or compromise, erode, infringe on freedom?"