On Tuesday, The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan spoke at the University of Central Florida. During his speech, which was sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), he spoke about the real cost of freedom.
Klavan first noted that in order for one person to be free, that person must allow the freedom of others – even if they don’t like it:
I want you to be free to speak your mind, even when your opinions are unpopular and seem hateful to other people. I want you to be free to choose your path in life, even if somebody else thinks it’s wrong. I want you to be free to decide how you spend your own money. This is a big part of freedom, how to spend your own money. Money is not just money, money is your time. You use your time to make money. When they take your money, they take your time. When they take your time, they take your life – your life is made of time – and when they take your money, they are taking control of your life.
The definition of slavery is that you do the work, and someone more powerful than you decides how to spend the money. That’s also the definition of socialism…
I want you to be enthusiastic, eager participants in this unique American experiment in limited government and personal liberty. And so, I want to be honest with you when I tell you that the kind of freedom I’m talking about is not easy. It’s hard. Everything good, as you must know already, in life is hard.
Love is hard; peace is hard; wealth is hard; staying in shape is hard. It’s all hard. You have to work at it. One hard thing about freedom … is that in order for you to be free, you have to allow other people to be free…
You can’t be free by stepping on another guy’s throat because one day, somebody’s gonna come along who’s bigger than you to step on your throat. It’s that simple, right? You have to have a system, an agreement, that everybody is going to be free. That has to be in place.
If you want to speak your mind, you have to let other people speak. You can’t define somebody else’s ideas as hate speech because eventually, the bigger guy’s gonna come along and define your ideas as hate speech. There’s only free speech, and speech governed by the powerful…
You want to go your way, other people have to go their way. You’re gay and you wanna get married, go ahead – but if somebody doesn’t want to cater your wedding, you’ve got to leave them be, even if it hurts your feelings. Freedom is hard on the feelings.
Klavan then spoke about how freedom is inherently “unsafe” because it requires risk and responsibility:
Another way freedom is hard is that it’s very unsafe. It’s risky; it’s frightening; it entails taking responsibility for yourself and paying your own way. If you can’t decide how other people spend your money, you can’t take their money to spend it on what you want to spend it on.
If you want to build a business … and it fails, you shouldn’t be able to bail it out with taxpayer money because that’s not your money. That’s somebody else’s money. Somebody else earned that. If you want to sleep around, knock yourself out, but when you get pregnant or get an STD, or when you’re miserable and enslaved in the drugs you took – it’s not my fault. You can’t take my money. I earned that money. That’s my time; that’s my life. You have to pay for yourself.
If you went in debt to go to school, you can’t suddenly turn around and say, “Pay my debt.” I didn’t take out the money. You took out the debt. Its dangerous. Every time that Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders says, “I happen to believe that everybody should have free health care” … he is taking somebody else’s freedom – and when he takes that freedom, he’s taking your freedom because if their money’s not safe, your money’s not safe. All this free stuff they’re giving you is not free. Conservatives are always saying, “How much is that gonna cost?” Never mind how much it’s gonna cost in money. What’s it gonna cost in freedom? You are handing over to the government the right to take your earnings away.
But Klavan’s final point about the difficulties of freedom was that, as humans, we often find it easier and more comfortable to be taken care of by someone more powerful than we are:
Maybe the hardest thing about freedom is that nobody really wants it. This is another founding story of the west, and they don’t tell it enough. It’s the founding story of Exodus in the Bible…
People don’t want to be free. They want to be fed; they want to be safe; they want to be taken care of; they want to be children forever – except for Pharoah. Except for the people who want power. And the people who want power know one thing. They know most people don’t want to be free. They know if they offer to feed you; they know if they offer to keep you safe; they know if they offer to treat you like children, you will give them power, and you will lose your freedom. And by the way, that’s the way it’s always been until folks got here. I lived in England – one of the freest counties on Earth – they’re nothing like as free as we are. There is nothing on Earth like the freedom we have here. It’s unique. It pops up only every now and again in history, and it dies fast, and it doesn’t come back for a long time.
So when you ask yourself what people want when they stir up your passions, and point at one another and say, “There a fascist! There’s a sexist! There’s a black person! There’s a Jew! There’s a homosexual! There’s a hater!,” what they’re doing is they’re pointing you away from the main thing you have, which is your freedom. They’re trying to get you angry, divided, passionate, and unthinking so that you will give them [your] freedom. And they do this sometimes sounding like it’s the best intentions…
Klavan concluded his speech with a rallying cry for freedom, kindness, and joy:
No matter what happens; no matter what new things come along, the old truths are going to remain exactly the same. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Judge not, lest you be judged. Love your neighbor as yourself. All your joy is going to be found in love and virtue – and there is no true love, and there is no true virtue unless you’re free to choose them.