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Letters: Liberty, made in the USA

July 17, 2012

Re "Liberté or liberty?," Opinion, July 13

"Freedom from material insecurity, want and illness," as Robert Zaretsky describes the French revolutionaries' idea of liberty, is a pretty fair description of life minus its inherent challenges, and any nation that believes government can provide such a thing deserves to be disappointed. The American idea is to free people to meet life's challenges as they see fit, engaging their own energies and capacities and cooperating without being coerced.

History suggests that "freedom from" coercion releases more energy and initiative than the "freedom to" sacrifice one's desires to the collective.

Liberals who would use France and similar welfare states to prove the contrary had better hurry: The slow-motion collapse of the European model could accelerate at any time, making the idea of government-guaranteed prosperity even more ridiculous than it already is.

Michael Smith

Cynthiana, Ky.

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