The topic that I want to address this morning is fascinating. And, I believe that it will be of real benefit to you.One would think this concept is just common sense. Unfortunately, many modern people don’t seem to use common sense.
I’d like to start with some words that I know you’re familiar with: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These are the opening words of the Declaration of Independence.
Of course, that was 1776. From those words, we in America as a nation seem to have this foundational belief that there truly is a connection between liberty, or freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, and finding happiness.
Now, fast-forward 13 years from the signing of the Declaration to 1789, when George Washington gave his first inaugural address.In that inaugural address, he added a little something to that thought. Washington said, “There exists, in human nature, an indissoluble union between freedom, virtue, and happiness.” He threw in that word virtue.
So here, 13 years later, Washington realized that in order to have a free society, there has to be a certain character quality in the people. There has to be an ability to have self-restraint. He says, “This is necessary for any culture to flourish.” But, as you know, we seem to have lost this understanding of what it really means to be free.