The Blog

Let Freedom Ring

One of the silver linings in recent months has been our renewed focus on freedom as a national ideal.

11:00 PM, Apr 3, 2002 • By CLAUDIA WINKLER
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This better freedom must be nurtured by education, and is intertwined with law. Weigel borrows the analogy of learning to play a musical instrument. "Anyone can bang away on a piano; but that is to make noise, not music, and it's a barbaric, not humanistic, expression of freedom. At first, learning to play the piano is a matter of some drudgery as we master exercises that seem like a constraint, a burden. But as our mastery grows, we discover a new, richer dimension of freedom: we can play the music we like, we can even create new music on our own. Freedom, in other words, is a matter of gradually acquiring the capacity to choose the good and to do what we choose with perfection."

It's what the old patriotic song was getting at: "America! America! / God mend thine ev'ry flaw, / Confirm thy soul in self-control, / Thy liberty in law." It's an understanding of freedom that is worthy of defense.

Claudia Winkler is a managing editor at The Weekly Standard.