Lincoln * Institute

Colin A. Hanna

Colin A. Hanna

Let Freedom Ring, USA


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Let Freedom Ring

Two Roads

by Colin Hanna

One of the most famous American poems of the 20th century was Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken. Familiar though it may be to most, let's refresh our memories by reading it in its four verse entirety.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

I bring that poem to mind because it focuses us on the two very different paths that the two very different Presidential candidates would lead us down as a nation. We are not, unlike Frost, truly at the point where the roads diverge.

That was four years ago, and we took the wrong road. Survey after survey corroborates that our nation knows that it is on the wrong road, or, in the preferred language of the pollsters, on the wrong track. Unlike Frost, who peered as far as he could see down each road, and then chose the one less traveled, we can now see a little further down the one that we took four years ago, and we don't like what we see: the world's largest economy following the well-worn path of debt, taxation and public spending that has put Greece, Spain, Italy and others on the brink on genuine economic collapse. In other words, that path leads to a cliff.

Unlike Frost, who doubted if he should ever come back, we have a chance to do so in less than ninety days. The road less traveled is the one that leads to less government, more freedom, more innovation, more wealth creation, more poverty alleviation and, in general, more liberty. Governor Romney may not be most compelling, charismatic or engaging candidate we've ever seen, but he clearly understands the fundamentals of free enterprise. President Obama is a statist, and that's becoming more obvious every day. He believes that the state is inherently benevolent and that the private sector is inherently malevolent. He believes that only by regulating and redistributing the economy can the state mitigate the intrinsically selfish and exploitative aspects of capitalism. He does not really believe in free enterprise.

We have a rare chance to reassess where the road we chose four years ago leads, and to return to the fork in the woods and take the other path. If we do not, the incline towards the cliff will become greater and greater, until we slip and fall on the wet leaves and slide over the edge. We still have the chance to avoid that fate. We need to go back and take the road less traveled by — and that will make all the difference.