25 May 2015

Why We Fought: On the Four Freedoms Speech, 6 January 1941

There should be not doubt that the work for the four freedoms was not nearly finished after the end of the Second World War. The rights of minorities, and women, and the working classes took a long time to come, and are still in the process of being fulfilled and protected as the forces of progress and repression, of money and power versus moral principles, ebbs and flows.

But in judging what has gone before us, we ought not to forget the context in which the great lights of history existed and fought.

And before we judge the Roosevelts, Lincolns, and Jeffersons of history too harshly and out of context, as is the fashion for those who would tear down giants to make their own lack of stature and accomplishment less appalling, let us first look at our own times, and our own actions, and judge ourselves first with these same strict measures we would apply so blithely in our ignorance and oversimplified prejudices to others.