Too Much Freedom?

Stephen P. Watkins
4 min readJul 26, 2021

Are We the Land of the Free?

Copyright 10/31/17, The John Locke Foundation

Given the widespread lack of critical-thinking ability, and the equal lack of exposure to philosophical studies, Americans have virtually no ability to distinguish between significantly different ideas. “Freedom” and “license” are chief among these.

When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near. — Will Durant

The Founders of America knew that human beings were not perfect. The Founders thought of the Laws of Nature as the only governance necessary in a perfect world, but they realized that in order for a society to function and not break down in a wild state of anarchy, of “might makes right,” they would have to interpose some laws, some regulations.

In our early history, the indigenous peoples of North America — the First Nations in Canada, the American Indians, the Mexican indios — lived in harmony with the Earth. They recognized that they were never owners, but only stewards, of the land. They knew they had a relationship with Mother Earth, such that they had to protect her, cherish her, and keep her resources safe and used in non-destructive ways, for the sake of each band, each nation. And so they lived, for many thousands of years, in accordance with “the Laws of Nature.”

Then, the Europeans came: Leif Ericson, Christopher Columbus, Juan Ponce de Léon, Hernan de Soto, Samuel de Champlain, Sir Walter Raleigh, and too many others to name. These Europeans had an acquisitive, domineering mentality, and pursued a program of “3 Gs”: God, guns and glory. Ambitious Kings and other members of nobility joined forces with the Catholic Church, imbuing naked land grabs and quests for power with religious overtones to lend an air of morality to what would otherwise be seen as stealing the native people’s lands and brutalizing the tribes wherever they went.

This imperialist dynamic continued throughout South America, Asia, and Africa and lasted for hundreds of years. But in the 19th and 20th centuries, native peoples throughout the world got rid of their colonial masters and assumed self-control (although British and American colonialism continued to exist for a few more decades, albeit in a more subtle manner).

Stephen P. Watkins

Top Writer in Politics. Author of “The ‘Plenty’ Book — the Answer to the Question: What Can I do to Make This a Better World?,” available on