Freedom and prosperity are directly linked. In order to be free, you must have some level of prosperity. If your entire day’s toil is spent merely getting food and staying safe, it is difficult to gain or even maintain freedom. You have no time left for it. On the other hand, you must have some measure of freedom if you want to be prosperous.
Prosperity is an advance or gain in anything good or desirable; successful progress in any business or enterprise, success (American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, published 1828.) Prosperity for an individual then, is success in anything they deem good or desirable, anything they have set out to do. Prosperity is a goal for each of us.
I suppose in a nutshell, prosperity is the goal of freedom in a lot of ways. In the United States’ Declaration of Independence, the Founders declared three of our unalienable rights to be Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Number three is how we achieve prosperity, by being able to pursue Happiness.
It is important to mention that the right is to pursue Happiness. The right is not a guarantee of Happiness. Why not? Well, for starters, the Government has no business guaranteeing anything to the people over and above the protection of their rights. I know this is in contrast to the “Four Freedoms” spoken of by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. Roosevelt said these four freedoms were worth fighting for: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
While the first two of these four freedoms are guaranteed by the 1st amendment in the Bill of Rights, the last freedoms from want and fear are not something that can be guaranteed, except perhaps by the individual himself. Here’s why. The first two freedoms exist because government is forbidden from infringing upon those rights (“Congress shall make no law…”). With government out of the way, it is up to the individual to exercise that freedom in a way he sees fit. The responsibility lies with the individual. That is the freedom to succeed.
The problem with trying to guarantee freedom from something is that it implies that the government has to become involved in protecting you from that thing. Unlike foreign invasion, want can be very different for each individual and can change throughout an individual’s life. Given the number of individuals living in a given country, it would be a Herculean task to provide for each person’s wants. This also brings to mind the saying that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything away. The same applies to freedom from fear.
When the government backs up and protects our rights (to free speech, free exercise of religion, etc.) by getting out of our way, we have the freedom to succeed. The individual is able to determine what is of most value to them and their family and they can work and sacrifice to achieve it. This is what makes an individual, a family, and a nation strong and prosperous: determining for themselves what they will do and how they will prosper.
How do you really feel about Freedom and Prosperity? Do you feel you have the freedom to prosper? Is there more you need to do to gain that freedom? Do you feel you are prosperous enough to be free? What steps can you take towards prosperity personally? Write down your thoughts.
Now that we have discussed Freedom and prosperity, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the details of prosperity. Click on the following links to learn more about it: