Freedom From Fear

I am a fan of realistic fiction in both literature and in art, and one of my all-time favorite visual artists is Norman Rockwell.  I've been to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts a couple of times, and the works never fail to impress me.  Most may know him from his folksy Saturday Evening Post covers, but my favorite Rockwell paintings are the powerful ones, including the "Four Freedoms" series.  For those who are not familiar with the series, more information is available here:

I was struck tonight by the news of the bombing of Libya and its parallels to the other allied actions that have taken place over the last century.  On one hand, taking action is a necessary evil: violence that must be done to counteract violence against people.  On the other hand, violence often begets more violence, and there will always be the question of whether we could have used more peaceful means to get the same result.  I can see examples of both.  If we don't fight against violence, we're damned.  If we participate in violence, we're damned just the same.  There are no winners here.  Nevertheless, sometimes the sin of omission is worse than the sin of commission, so to speak, and to sit idly by while evil is being done is to condone it.  It's sad how these things always turn political when those innocent people caught in the crossfire (literally) have no allegiance except to life.

But I digress... back to the freedoms bit.

Look at the Freedom from Fear painting of the American parents gently tucking their children into bed right after the Blitz.  As I was tucking Lolly into bed tonight, knowing that her bed was the safest place for her, I had to stop to remember that for millions of people in the world, there is no security.  Look at the tragedies in Japan and Libya, and all over the world, wherein parents cannot tuck their children into bed without worry.  Even in our own country, how many families live in fear right now?  How fortunate we few are right now to be reading this blog with the freedom from fear of imminent danger.

I'll end with the seventy-year-old speech excerpt that inspired the paintings:

"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."
— Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941

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