There is no more precious possession than one's own life. But without political freedom, human life is empty. Man cannot exist in any meaningful sense as a serf. The New Hampshire motto says it perfectly: "Live Free or Die."
Because human life is so precious, war should never be undertaken unless our rights are threatened. It is often said that our soldiers must sacrifice themselves for our country. This is precisely what we must not ask them to do. A sacrifice entails the surrender of a greater value for a lesser one. But if a man loses his life on the premise, "I would rather die than live in slavery," it is a tragic loss—but it is not a sacrifice. Such a man is acting in his own interests, to protect his most precious values.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Giving Real Meaning to Veterans Day
By Edwin A. Locke