Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

On this day in 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a State of the Union address in which he proclaimed, “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.”Freedom of Speech

Two of those four freedoms — of speech and worship — are enshrined in our First Amendment. But the other two were new: “freedom from want” and “freedom from fear.”
Freedom of Worship
No one desires people to go wanting or folks to be afraid, of course, though sometimes fear can usefully spur us to take corrective action. But while government can capably protect freedom of speech and religion, it cannot magically wipe out want or fear.
Freedom from Want
Wants are unlimited; fears can be, too.

When a child wakes up crying from a nightmare, do we need a government program? When a fellow member of the “Me Generation” fervently desires a new iPad, should Uncle Sam provide it?

FDR wasn’t talking about iPads or bad dreams, but his new notions were so loose and fuzzy that they changed the conception of government from a limited association protecting our individual ability to pursue happiness into an unlimited institution powerful enough to create a society without want or fear.
Freedom from Fear
Government has a role in protecting us from invasion or attack, from crime, but it cannot provide freedom from fear. Government has a role in protecting our economic freedom to produce and trade, to engage in commerce, but it cannot fulfill our every want.

We lose what we can achieve when we demand what cannot be given to us.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Marian says:

    Blind demands are fed by exclusion. Until only few know what to whom for what is given by governments, ‘blind’ demands of ‘blinded’ people will persist. We’d rather urge them to demand ‘eyes’ to see themselves ‘what can be given’ – by entering the ‘kitchen’. First – freedom, then –

  2. MoreFreedom says:

    FDR’s call for a government to give us freedom from wants and fears, is just trading liberty for promises of security (from wants and fears), and ending up with neither (credits to Ben Franklin).

    What FDR was really talking about was freedom from responsibility, which is actually the opposite of freedom. Freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

    If you want more people to be responsible, give them more freedom!

  3. Paul jacob says:

    MoreFreedom — Bravo!!! Well put.

  4. Pat says:

    I never think about what FDR meant by the ‘four freedoms’. Every time I hear those two words I think of what is guaranteed by our First Amendment: freedom of speech, religion, press and assembly. They are all-American and distinguish us even from our European cousins.
    What’s that saying? A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have? (Something like that)

  5. Rick_in_VA says:

    Who was it who said that a government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have?

  6. Drik says:

    Gerald Ford in his presidential address. Also misattributed to Reagan, Goldwater, and Jefferson. Not really impoprtant who said as that more people realize its truth.

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