Liberty for all
Liberty is freedom to act, to choose your own destiny, to make decisions based on what you determine is right. Liberty is the opposite of tyranny. Liberty frees a man to become what he was born to become. Tyranny takes a man and binds him to what an all-powerful ruler determines that he should become. For Oscar, and for those who truly want to determine their own destiny, the choice is clear.
Liberty vs. Tyranny
One of the primary themes of The Hidden History of Oz series can be summed up in a two-part question: Can a man rule himself? Or must he have others rule over him?
This concept sounds very simple, and it is, but it requires a great deal of hard work. Hand-in-hand with liberty comes responsibility. Yes, you may have a right to do something, but that right also includes the responsibility to use your freedom wisely, and to protect the right of others to do that same something, even if you do not like it. Liberty requires honesty, integrity, and a commitment to do good.
Tyranny is the logical path of human nature elevated to the status of a king. As soon as your rights become more important than another person’s right, the path to tyranny has begun. If your happiness is more important than another person’s happiness, what happens when you are put in charge of the other person? Human nature tends to be selfish, and provides for self at the expense of others. If a king takes from his people to provide for himself and his friends, he is using his power selfishly. He is becoming a tyrant.
Freedom in Oz
The Land of Oz has only known kings and queens – there has never been a time in the history of the Land of Oz when a man could rule himself. Everything changed when Oscar Diggs arrived in his balloon to the land. He came from the territory of Nebraska, on the western frontier of the United States of America, in the year 1852. Nebraska was not yet a state. The Constitution of the United States had been in existence for barely 63 years. This young country was full of people from all over the world that came for freedom. They wanted to rule themselves, and so they came.
The idea of freedom and individual rights was a new one to the people of Oz. They had lived with kings and granted rights. Oscar taught the people that freedom is an inalienable right – that is, it belongs to the individual, and it cannot be taken away by another person or power. Many people flocked to Oscar’s cause of freedom. They built him the Emerald City. This marvelous city was built up on the foundation of Constitutional principles and the concept of liberty and accountability. It changed the Land of Oz forever.
In our own day there are rulers that think that they know best. There are individuals that want to rule themselves and be left alone by higher powers. In order to rule himself, a man must have knowledge. He must learn what it means to be accountable and do good. He must be willing to accept responsibility and consequences (both good and bad) for his actions. He must realize that not everyone wins. Sometimes life is just life. It is not always exciting, or even warm or well-fed. Sometimes life is hard. But for a man who treasures freedom and individual liberty, the knowledge that his is his own master is greater than all of the treasure in the world.
In our day, liberty is more important than ever, because so few people understand how important it is – so they give away their liberty a piece at a time. They trade their freedom to choose for comfort today. When a person does that, they quickly enslave themselves to a greater power, and they are no longer free.
These themes of liberty and responsibility are explored in the Hidden History of Oz series. If you have not started the series, may I invite you to begin today with The Hidden History of Oz, Book One: The Witch Queens? And if you liked that one, check out Book Two: Crown of the Dreamer. Share it with family and friends. If you like the book, share your thoughts in the comments below.