Sunday, September 09, 2012

FDR: The Four Freedoms

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world. 
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world. 
The third is freedom from want -- which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world. 
The fourth is freedom from fear -- which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor-- anywhere in the world. 
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. 
To that new order we oppose the greater conception -- the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. 
Franklin D. Roosevelt's Address to Congress January 6, 1941
Unfortunately, 71 years after this speech, we have not achieved FDR's vision. Indeed, it seems that the United States is furthest in the world from achieving the 4th freedom. Many seem willing to give up the fight to achieve the 3rd, even as the world has made great strides in that direction. In many countries this summer, people have been killing others in the name of religion.

Eleanor Roosevelt led the United Nations in the definition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights soon after her husband died. It was a suitable monument to his memory. The United States has still not ratified some of the Conventions that would give teeth to human rights globally.

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