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Drew Clark: Faith, family and freedom join to explain Utah exceptionalism

Published: Sunday, July 20 2014 3:46 p.m. MDT

Updated: Sunday, July 20 2014 3:46 p.m. MDT

So what do strong faith traditions and extensive nuclear and extended families have to do with freedom? This, in essence, is the true point of Mero’s essay: Freedom must be distinguished from its frequent synonym, liberty. To its staunchest advocates, liberty is both a means and an end. But freedom’s end is human happiness.

On this view, an unchecked libertarianism – insisting that casinos be legalized and unregulated on the theory that an adult has the right to lose his or her wages through gambling, for example – errs in neglecting to account for the societal costs of licentious behavior.

“If our goal is happiness in a free society, we need all of the elements to be healthy and vibrant – stable and autonomous families, effective religion, a pervasive culture of charity, pristine private property protections, truly free markets, an unwavering commitment to personal responsibility and governments that reinforce and sustain each of those elements through our laws,” he writes.

The story of freedom is about discovering and cultivating the better angels of our nature. Our nation readily accepts the principle of sacrifice in the defense of our freedoms. That is something that our armed forces do every day. So why can we not see how central sacrifice is to our existence, as a people and as a nation? Utah is exceptional. But it is exceptional in same way that America itself remains a blessed and promised land. Let us work to convince our countrymen about how central faith, family and freedom are to preserving a cherished American exceptionalism.

Drew Clark is opinion editor of the Deseret News. His email address is dclark@deseretnews.com.

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