Comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias once jokingly questioned, “Why do people measure life by the years rather than how good the years were?” He was joking about overeating, but there was wisdom in his question. Indeed, it posed a secular version of a truth religious people have always known: there is more to life than being alive.
Christ did not come to this earth to live a long life, he came to die for our sins; to accomplish the mission given to him by the Father. He did not promise a life of ease and longevity; he sent believers out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Today, we are all to carry our own cross, no matter the cost.
The Founders knew this truth. Patrick Henry echoed it when he proclaimed, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Abigail Adams taught her children this truth, writing to John Quincy Adams, “I had much rather you should have found your Grave in the ocean you have [crossed], or any untimely death crop you in your Infant years, rather than see you an immoral profligate or a Graceless child.”
There are things in this life that are so valuable it is better one should die with them than live without them. Among these, only one’s adherence to Christ is of greater worth than one’s liberty.
But this is a difficult truth.
President Reagan had to persuade Americans of it. He said, “If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin-just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ‘round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain.”
Today, America has once more lost sight of this truth. In the face of the pandemic, millions believe that there is nothing more important than staying alive. There is no restriction they will not condone. Appeals to liberty are scorned. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “Screw your freedom.” Dr. Fauci said, “I’m sorry I know people must like to have their individual freedom… but I think that we’re in such a serious situation now.”
COVID-19 is dangerous. I got vaccinated and I encourage others to get vaccinated. I supported mask mandates before the vaccines, and I’m open to state governments mandating the vaccines. There is a line between liberty and recklessness; between properly exercising your rights and encroaching on your neighbor’s rights. In a pandemic, the task is to find that line.
But Schwarzenegger and Fauci aren’t looking for it. They’re denying it exists. For them, freedom is not essential. Only when risks are low will they consider freedom, but until then it must be swept away. They essentially argue for a right to be free from risk. If exercising your freedom increases their risk of getting COVID, not only must your freedom be curtailed but you are a bad person if you object. They ask, “Is your freedom more important than my life?”
Failure, sin, and death are the only certainties freedom brings with it, yet freedom is still so precious that not even the death of God’s own Son was too high a price to attain it. To play a game is to risk losing. To apply for a job is to risk rejection. To stand up is to risk falling down. To be with others, to see their smile, to talk to them, is to risk getting sick. There is nothing in this world worth having that does not require risk. Indeed, when one gets to choose the path they take, there’s a good chance they’ll sometimes take the wrong one and fall along the way.
To eliminate risk is to eliminate liberty and the possibilities that come with it.
Those made in the Image of God are made to be free. It is an insult to both humanity and our Creator to have the meaning of our lives judged by how well we were able to maximize the number of breaths between our first and our last. Whether it be concerning the dictates of a king or the risks of a virus, I desire only liberty or death, and I sincerely hope my fellow Americans concur, for there is more to life than being alive.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.