Our country was founded on the concept of Liberty. Brave men and women have fought wars, sacrificed and spilled blood in defense of Liberty. We are descended from great men and women whose dream of a special country, conceived in Liberty, designed to keep its citizens safe from tyrants and those who would conspire to take our Liberty away have made our country the greatest ever conceived.
Now, supported by weak willed, lazy and apathetic individuals, we have seen that these old venerable concepts of Liberty and Freedom attacked. What have been the principles of this country for over 200 years have been eroded to the point that the once strong fabric of this nation is not much more than tattered rags hanging on by threads. This started slowly, but now we are racing headlong into a dark night where I fear there will be no Liberty left whatsoever. The incredibly sad thing is that we are losing this right, this concept of our nation’s founding without much of a fight. We aren’t being attacked from foreign invaders; we aren’t losing a war on distant shores. No, the enemy is using something so innocuous that we have been rendered defenseless without much notice at all.
The secret to enslaving a country it has been discovered is Safety. That’s right, Safety and its silent partner Fear are the only things needed to completely wipe Liberty off the map and decimate her influence in the hearts of people everywhere.
That seems odd doesn’t it? That a concept so strong, so inspiring as Liberty can be felled by so meek, so unassuming of a word, is foreign to me. Safety is at the other end of the spectrum from Liberty. I guarantee you will not hear any speech made by great men or women who have done great things, extolling the virtues of Safety. You will not find classical literature with the recordings of their thoughts and how they depended upon that word, Safety to set their paths straight. You will not see a documentary from Ken Burns with slowly moving sepia toned photographs, narrated by a golden voiced actor describing how Safety was the one thing that decided the events that brought them to greatness. Safety was the one animating concept that lead them to victory or turned the tide against overwhelming odds.
Liberty means Freedom and Freedom means that you assume some risks because you are responsible for your own self. Safety assumes no risk whatsoever. Actually, safety seeks to reduce risks so completely that there is no way you can ever be harmed. How can this meek and mild word destroy Liberty at every turn?
It is under the guise of keeping us safe that so many of our Liberties have been taken away. The most recent “threat” is just a general concept of terrorism. This has been going on for a long time, but I will just point to the last several years. When we as a country began to fear for our safety from Terrorists, we started losing our liberty. This hasn’t stopped, in fact it is speeding up I believe. In the beginning there was at least some debate about our loss of Liberty or Privacy, but who needs that now. The government at all levels seems to be acting on everything under the banner of keeping us safe.
And we have allowed this.
We have all been afraid of the big bad terrorist out there. We consistently make decisions based upon the need to keep people safe when that is the only thing you can’t control. There is no way we can ever keep everyone safe. It is just ridiculous to believe that if you jump through enough hoops that nothing bad will ever happen. No amount of safety helmets, knee pads and training wheels will prevent all bike injuries. The only thing you could do is take away the bikes. Will you be safe then? Nope, you will get flattened by a truck walking across the road.
I like the much overused quote by Benjamin Franklin that says “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I say it is overused because I hear reference of this quote almost weekly. I have used this myself in other blog posts, but what does it say to you that a quote like this is so common that people are almost sick of hearing it? The reason that is the case is that we are living in a world that is daily giving up our liberties in the name of safety. The simple fact is that we are living out this proverb from Mr. Franklin.
There are too many cases in very recent history to point to that illustrate how our liberties are being taken from us daily under the umbrella of a threat with their stated reason being safety. At their heart, all of these policies go directly against the Constitution. In an April article by Andrew P. Napolitano he summed this up nicely:
The government’s fidelity to the Constitution is never more tested than in a time of crisis. The urge to do something — or to appear to be doing something — is nearly irresistible to those whom we have employed to protect our freedom and to keep us safe. Regrettably, with each passing violent crisis — Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, Sept. 11, Newtown and now the Boston Marathon — our personal freedoms continue to slip away, and the government itself remains the chief engine of that slippage.
The American people made a pact with the devil in the weeks and months following Sept. 11, 2001, when they bought the Bush-era argument that by surrendering liberty they could buy safety. But that type of pact has never enhanced either liberty or safety, and its fruits are always bitter.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It was written to create and to restrain the federal government. Every person who works for any government in the United States has taken an oath of fidelity to the Constitution, not unlike the presidential oath, which induces a promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
He goes on to explain several other examples of how the Supreme court has both corrected and enabled Government after abuses that go against the Constitution and sums up with the following paragraph:
The Constitution was written to preserve freedom by restraining the government. The courts from time to time have required the government to respect the natural law, as well. But when the attorney general arbitrarily changes the law to suit the demands of the people when they are weeping, it fundamentally undermines our freedoms. And a pact with the devil is the most dangerous of all, because his appetite can never be sated.
I will argue that every loss of Liberty we have faced since 9/11 has been allowed because we as a country are afraid. We have allowed this to happen because the government has told us that in order to keep us safe, we have to surrender some of our liberties. It is odd to me that this hasn’t succeeded in keeping us safer at all and this is the same government that says they can incarcerate any American and hold them indefinitely without charging them in the name of Safety. It is also the same government that says they can kill anyone with a drone in the name of Safety. Lastly this is the same government that says American Veterans and people who believe in the sanctity of the Constitution are now the real threats to our safety.
It seems to me the only ones who are truly safe in this scenario are government and they are doing everything they can to keep it that way. We must stand up and say that we won’t be driven by fear. That our liberty is far more important than any illusion of safety and that these abuses of our Constitution cannot be suffered upon the very backs of the people, for which that document was written to protect.