I know that I am in the minority on this subject, although for the life of me, I don’t know why.
The subject is Liberty. More accurately, the disintegration of liberty that we have allowed to occur.
Please allow me to make this point, at the outset. Liberty always seems to be acquired through revolution. Also, it is most often taken away by war, and occupation.
But not this time, not now, in America. American citizens are handing over their liberty to a government, and without a struggle. Sadly, it is our own government, and not some invading horde.
Why are we doing this? Some define it as the desire for “comfort and safety.” Some call it apathy; many others simply feel so detached from government that they think have no hand in it.
Why would government do this? The answer lies on the human level.
Any philosophy will allow that part of the human condition is to act in your own self-interest. Along with this, we know that three conditions will most often corrupt a man. These are; money, sex, and power.
Now take those facts, and apply them to a few of the recent laws that have been passed for our comfort and safety.
Consider seat belt laws, for one. It is now illegal to operate a car without a seatbelt. Illegal. This means that it is a crime and it can be enforced. You can be tracked down, and punished for it. Is this what we had in mind?
The argument is not whether seat belts are a good idea, but whether making it illegal erodes liberty. It does.
The policeman who becomes corrupted by his power to enforce this, gives himself access to anything about us. Certainly not all cops are corrupted by this, but there is an apparent love for the enforcement potential, enough so to buy billboards that say, “click it or ticket.”
Once a law is passed, enforcement takes on it’s own life. No one imagined that the drunk driving laws would include the ability to stop every driver on the road for interrogation.
Who profits from the money? The state.
If you don’t think this is so, then investigate the huge revenue stream that is created by the drunk driving laws, and why they were so anxious to lower the blood alcohol level to a ridiculously low point.
Is it just me, or are there others that believe that people are capable of acting in reasonable ways, without making them illegal.
In Philadelphia, Michael Nutter recently won a handsome victory that may well propel him to becoming the next Mayor. How did he do this? By “protecting” us. He has made smoking illegal, he wants it to become mandatory to post the fat content on every menu item, and he wants cops to be able to frisk anyone, at will.
All of these things are serious attacks on liberty. Do we really need bullies like Michael Nutter making laws for us, because we are completely incapable of making decisions regarding our own health? People of his ilk are to be removed from public office, not granted it.
There are some, of course, who will say that we need laws to control the guns, and booze, and the tobacco, and jay walking. Some will say that we need laws that make it illegal to drive in the rain without our headlights.
Think of the considerable power we have given over to government on these subjects. It allows them to continue to be completely irresponsible in fiscal matters, because we have granted them access to forty percent of our pocketbook, and it’s not enough. They will continue to take, because we allow it.
This giving up of our liberties is an insidious, creeping, consuming thing. We are not so far from being without liberty at all.
Consider the way in which public schools spit upon liberty, in the name of comfort, protection and safety.
Increasingly, any act that involves contact is followed by an encouragement to involve the police.
Recently, some middle school aged boys were shooting rubber bands at their bus driver. Not an act of kindness, admittedly. But also, an activity that has occurred since the first school bus was boarded by adolescent males.
Shortly before this occurred, the local school board was bragging about the fact that they had increased their police presence in the school. I found this to be a shameful act, and I wondered how soon power would override reason. It didn’t take long.
The bus driver contacted the policeman in charge, at the school. The policeman, who apparently has been granted the power to do so, ordered the bus turned around, and returned to the school, for his investigation. Clearly, he had no responsibility to notify the parents of all of the children on the bus, that there whereabouts would be unknown for enough time to cause worry, so he didn’t, and neither did anyone else.
Oh, one more thing, the bus is equipped with videotaping equipment, which recorded the entire incident, and every move that the kids make.
The school apparently has no desire to insure liberty, if they are keeping children “safe.” That’s why they also feel that it is within their rights to publish and distribute private and unlisted phone numbers.
The worse part of the school attitude, is that they are teaching children that neither they, nor their parents, are at liberty. As they say, children learn what they live.
The constant call about “today’s world,” and the fear of children shooting each other, or the faculty, apparently gives them the right to act dictatorially. It is our fault if we allow unreasonable rules.
Certainly, reasonable precautions need to be taken, but reason has been overpowered by power.
Consider these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
If it is our Creator that has endowed us with liberty, than who is it that seeks to take it from us? Is it the devil’s work?
Has this constant erosion of our liberties made us powerless? Have we forgotten that government derives its power only by our consent?
I don’t believe that the principles of the Declaration of Independence are of “another time.” They are timeless. So, when they trot out that “the world is a different place, today,” I find it even more important that we covet this liberty, while we protect ourselves.
Given the fact that it is illegal to hitchhike, smoke, drink, ride in the back of a pick-up truck, serve fatty foods, drive without a seatbelt, keep half of your paycheck for yourself, and generally make your own decisions, we must recognize that somebody took away a lot of liberties that adults had, just thirty years ago.
Government is now fighting for the right to have access to all of our communications and finances. School boards are, to quote a recent headline “fighting for the right of drug testing.” The right?
Unless we stop the spiraling addiction to supposed protection, comfort, and safety, we will look up and find the last of our liberties gone. Those liberties that were given to us by our Creator.
Oops, am I still allowed to say Creator?
Soon, freedom will no longer ring. It will thud.
Considering how much we have given up, it will take a revolution to get liberty back. Nothing less.
I’m ready when you are.