– Thomas Jefferson
Free people are nothing more than those who refuse to be enslaved…in neither body nor mind. They crave freedom, desire the protection of their God-given inalienable rights, and will fight to the death to defend them. Most of all, these people will not sacrifice liberty for security or freedom for comfort.
Sadly, if these are the markers of free people, free people are disappearing at an alarming rate in our society.
Too often we settle. Too often we willingly place our necks in the noose of tyranny for the promises of its false security. This “security,” however, goes beyond a mere call for liberty to be sacrificed in the interest of “national security.” It exists on a much more subtle level. Subtle to the masses, but blatant to the eyes of the patriot, who looks upon such encroachments as what they truly are—attacks on freedom of the individual…attacks on the very cravings for liberty burning within Man’s soul.
We are told that for the price of our docile acceptance and the fruits of our labor we will have much reward. For, nothing shall be of want. All needs will be met, and some needs will be met that we didn’t even know we had. Our government protector will provide for our food, shelter, health, equality, etc. Moreover, this “benign” government will tell us what we can do…what we can say…what we can think (though we may not be willing to admit as much).
And why should we complain? Criticize false comfort, false security, and a lack of real responsibility? Better our government be responsible for our choices…our resources…our everything. When we give up our liberty, we cast off our responsibility. And to some, this on its surface seems liberating. For, the slave holds nothing in want. All his needs are met by his master. All his cares are cast aside.
To what am I referring in all this? I am referring to the constant willingness of people from both sides of the political aisle to neglect true individual responsibility and true individual liberty. I am referring to a nation so fearful of responsibility and individualism, that they would willingly lose the very republic our Fathers fought to establish and keep.
These encroachments exist at all levels. At times you are told what you can consume from food...to information…to drugs. At other times you are told that the government will meet your responsibility to provide for your healthcare, housing, etc. They even take your money and decide how to spend it for you.
Of course, those who step in to meet the demands of the community, realizing it is their responsibility (not the government’s), are told to step aside and are regulated out of existence. The fruits of our labor are taken from us, either through taxes or government-created inflation, and used to finance projects and programs not agreed upon in our Constitution, violating covenantal obligations. As our freedom documents are cast aside, those who step up to defend and protect the Constitution are treated like enemies from within.
Though we many not realize it at face value, when corporatism increases, individual liberty decreases. And when the government picks winners, there are also losers. Tyranny comes a bit at a time, and liberty is taken just the same.
The most striking revelation is that these encroachments upon our liberties are often welcomed as we look to short-term illusions of comfort. Freedom does not come without great cost, and certain inconveniences, certain burdens must be endured to live peacefully in a free society.
But, like Thomas Jefferson, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”
Jefferson also said that "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Regretfully, if any price is to be paid, many are unwilling to pay it. What they don’t know is this: a price will be eventually have to be paid, and if we continue on our current path, that price will be a grave one.
Let us pay the price of responsibility and liberty now. For, I fear we cannot afford not to.