Saturday, July 3, 2010

Freedom's ROI

"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”- Thucydides (Ancient Greek historian)
What is freedom? Sounds like a question that one of my college professors could talk about for months. Freedom is one of those elusive modern terms that we hang the hat of our nation on yet don't really understand.  The dictionary defines freedom as the absences of necessity, coercion or constraint in action.  In short, freedom is choice. The choice of how to live, vote, pray, eat, talk it is all parts of who we are.

"ROI = Return On Investment. Although this term originated in financial circles I recently figured out it also applies to life in general." ~ Melowout's Missteps

On this fourth of July I wonder, how would a nation determine the Return on Investment for Freedom?  Like the earlier quote suggest this is something that we associate with the financial realms but what if we applied it to our fourth of July.  First we have to look at what was invested which can be immeasurable.  How do you calculate lives lost, fortunes gambled, the precious value of choice? 

If we can't calculate a set number than lets focus on the cost versus profit or this case national benefits. 

1) When the signers of the Declaration of Independence took those bold steps against a government they made the hard choice to jump from being rowdy to rebellious. For a country that largely considered themselves British this was a deadly switch. The cost were reputations, fortunes and lives.    

Those signers determined the fate of a nation.  When they singed that paper there were only 2.5 million people in the United States.  Little did they know that 309.6 million people would be celebrating that choice over two hundred years later.

2) The forefathers were stepping up against the tyranny they felt from taxation, economic repression.  The "heavy taxing" was still less than the continental British citizens had to pay but it was the lack of vote that upset the colonist the most.  The benefit of their wanting an economically free nation has been a tradition that has stuck.  If you look at current economic indexes of freedom the United States is still one of the most free nations economically ranking as the 8th most free. Interestingly the United States is ranked two above her colonial mother which is ranked ten. 

3)  Every fourth of July an email starts to float about that tells the wretched outcomes of the men that signed that fateful paper. History, particularly historians are prone to embellish for the making of a good tale.  These men did pay a price however it may not have been one that is much different than the other United States citizens. Our soldiers and their families today still pay the price of freedom of stepping up to tyranny.

What is the ROI of freedom? The cost of human life, of courage it took to fight against the familiar for some unknown was a pretty high price.  Everyone in those early years was touched by it and paid some how.  The benefits have been overwhelming. Even in an economy sitting in recession we are still one of the most blessed nations having the highest GDPs.  The United States is by far the largest donor to International Aid for foreign development encouraging nations world wide to follow our lead economically.  A nation that was butt of many a joke starting out has become a global powerhouse because we chose  freedom. 

Celebrate this day- celebrate your freedom.   


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