I wish I could remember exactly how my father instilled in me his deep revulsion for statism in all its forms. I think it was just an ongoing process of life and conversation. Although he was well known for his prowess as a talker – he could rave for hours – I certainly don’t think he ever gave me a lecture on the subject. But then it’s a bit of a mystery, too, why children hold passionately to some of their parents’ beliefs and principles and reject others.
Today is the first anniversary of my blog, which I launched the day after what would have been my father’s eightieth birthday. (He shared his special day with the Queen, in case you haven’t clicked to that.) As a naturalized New Zealander and come-lately British subject, I think he was quite tickled by the connection. And he certainly appreciated the legacy of British law and its safeguards of individual freedom.
Dad grew up in Nazi Germany, and he could smell statism a mile off. I often wish that he was here to give his opinion on the erosion of our freedoms today, the flaccid acceptance of state regulation which characterizes modern life, and the rise of the United Nations towards the status of a world state. It’s easy to feel helpless and powerless in the face of such opposing forces. But while we can still pass on a vision to our children, we need not feel outnumbered. We have the power of love, and the power of love is great: not foolish, romantic love, but the fierce, passionate love that holds strong families together. The powers of the world know this, and they are out to destroy the family because the family is actually the basis of personal freedom. How the battle will go, who can say? It’s not actually that much of a comfort to know that it is all in the knowledge and plan of God, when what you’d really like to know is how much you’re going to get hurt before it’s all over.
What we need is not so much courage as vision – a vision for something that is worth fighting for, and that is inseparably connected to a fierce, undying love. We need to read many books with great heroes, real and fictitious, and catch their passion for the things they held more dear than life. Courage can be found in the most surprising places, but we rarely find it by going out and looking for it. We find it instead by having that which we hold dear, and that love which no threat can tear from our hearts.