This is the iconic Norman Rockwell 1943 painting “Freedom from Want”. It epitomizes family, togetherness, peace and plenty. The painting was published in the Washington Post as part of a four part series on President Roosevelt’s state of the union address. The four paintings were: 1) Freedom of Speech, 2) Freedom of Religion, 3) Freedom from Fear, and 4) Freedom from Want.
At the time, starving, war displaced Europeans resented the “over-abundance” depicted in the picture. However, as we pondered last week, over-abundance rather than mere sufficiency is the true answer to Want. The painting not only portrays abundance of food but also abundance of family, friendship and security.
Freedom from Want added economic liberty to America’s articulated social aspirations. It’s a newer freedom than the other 3 (freedom of speech, religion and from fear). The Washington Post also published an essay to go with Freedom from Want that draws a “haunting and sharp” contrast to the painting. The essay sets forth an egalitarian vision of America speaking to those who struggle in our capitalist democracy. The writer turns a negative liberty (freedom to enjoy abundance without interference) into a positive liberty (the State has an obligation to provide people with a basic level of subsistence).
Classic liberal political philosophy is rooted in 1) Liberty and 2) Equality. Older, traditional ideas emphasize Liberty, while newer socialistic ideas emphasize Equality. Emphasizing one necessarily diminishes the other. Your Estate Planning War Chest is forged in Liberty. As Thomas Hobbes believed; a free man is one who is not hindered to do what his strength and wit enable him to do — more on strength, wit and will next week.
May your family enjoy the abundance we are so fortunate and thankful to have.