“For centuries man’s freedom has been crushed, contained or at best discouraged, and sometimes in subtle ways. In the days of Solomon, he decreed that man could learn too much, that one should not dig too deep, nor read too often saying that too much reading was the weariness of the flesh, that the search for knowledge was where Adam and Eve went wrong, thus proving that learning leads to man’s downfall, or his sin. St. Paul centuries later said the same thing. 1500, Francis Bacon wrote to the king trying to convince him that man could never learn too much, that knowledge did not somehow also contain the serpent, yet free thought continued to be squashed. Immanuel Kant, the man who first described the Milky Way as a collection of suns in the fashion that we now know it, wrote in 1760 that there are many things that he believed that he would never have the courage to speak, but he would never speak the words that he didn’t believe. 1760, our most precious freedom, the freedom of thought, had not yet been born.
Yet just a few years later on the other side of the globe sat a man alone in a hotel room. His wife dying in bed hundreds of miles away from him as he scratched words on paper: We find these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal and have certain inalienable rights given to them by their creator. Among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I don’t know if we really understand the impact of those words yet. Man has never been as free to think as we are now. The Chinese dissidents didn’t make a statue of Lady Liberty in Tiananmen Square out of happenstance. Americans changed the world. Our freedom of thought allowed man to discover electricity, the light bulb, the car, the motion picture, the radio, the television, the computer, to put man on the moon. We put a spacecraft on Mars. It was in the American Century that the theory of relativity was conceived, leading Albert Einstein to say, the thing about America is the joyous, positive attitude to life. The smile on the faces of the people is one of the greatest assets of the Americans. He’s friendly, self-confident, optimistic and without envy.
The American lives even more for his goals for the future. Life for him is always becoming, never being. His emphasis is laid on the “We” and never the “I.”