Several years ago, Tracy and I decided to change the landscaping in our front yard, so I cut down a tree. In order to make way for a smaller scrub, I also had to dig out the small stump that remained. I toiled away for much of a morning, carefully finding and cutting the roots that supported the stump. As I worked, I thought about how our freedoms are like that tree.
Our freedoms have been nurtured, watered by the blood of patriots, and developed for centuries. In fact, they were developing years before the pilgrims landed on our shores. Our nation, founded on a then-novel idea of free people, grew those freedoms strong. Our freedom was supported by concepts developed over previous centuries; concepts that continued to develop as we grew closer to the ideals so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence.
Perhaps this has happened throughout our history, but I feel that today, someone is intentionally undermining our freedoms, just as I did to that stump. Finding and cutting the small roots of freedom individually, carefully, intentionally. Spending more time on the larger roots, the foundational roots that provide the strongest support and most nourishment to the tree. But nonetheless working to undermine freedom, just as I had to work to undermine the strong, tightly-knit root system of that tree.
Every root is vital to the integrity of the entire root system and private property is one of the main roots. As Maggie Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain and contemporary of Ronald Reagan said, “Let me give you my vision. A man’s right to work as he will. To spend what he earns. To own property. To have the state as servant and not as master.”
This is why local conservative government is so vital to the tree of freedom. We either protect and defend private property, or we don’t. Private property is one of the most vital personal freedoms that we have, yet most people wouldn’t number it in the top five.
And a strong defense of private property is one of the freedoms that starts right here at the local level.
Let’s not allow folks to intentionally start to whittle away at our freedoms here at home. Even noble causes sometimes unintentionally work to undermine personal freedom. Yes, Washington is a mess, but we have work to do right here, work that might not be as glamorous as higher levels, but work that makes up some of the strongest roots that support our intertwined, complex, and well-established freedoms.
Let’s commit ourselves to unfinished work to protect private property here in Collin County.
Note: This is a reprint of an article, somewhat updated, of one published several years ago.