America’s have a long history of fighting for freedom. During the Colonial Era, they developed a sense of liberty strong enough that in 1775 they were willing to fight and die on the battlefield to protect their freedom. In 1776, they declared independence and said that “all men are created equal” and that we are have the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

As decades passed, the question of slavery became unavoidable and Americans fought other Americans about the freedom from African Americans. Clearly, freedom from slavery was worth the cost. In 1915 when the European powers went to war, Americans generally felt that the conflict was not their fight, and it was not until 1917 that the United States officially joined the war. By then, President Woodrow Wilson and most other Americans had concluded that preserving freedom in Europe was worth the cost.

Wars cost more than lives. Wars are an expensive financial investment, and they have a social cost as well. Patterns of life are changed, often irreversibly. Going to war is a momentous decision, and sometimes the United States, for all that we love freedom, had concluded that freedom is simply not worth the cost. For decades before the Civil War, we put off dealing with slavery because we had not decided that a fight of freedom for African Americans would be worth the cost. In 1915, Americans were not willing to pay the price of freedom. It took two years of bloodshed in Europe before Americans decided it was a war worth fighting. Even today, there are opportunities around the world for the United States to flex its military might and protect the freedom of others, but we do not, because we simply do not see the benefits as being worth the cost.

What do you think? Is the fight for freedom worth the cost?