Give Me Security or Give Me Death
Human history is full of stories of people making remarkable choices that have altered the future course. In the realm of public affairs, the most basic choice – if you distill it down – is the one between security and freedom. These two elements are inversely proportional to each other – meaning that if you increase one there is a decrease in the other – each are on one side of a single scale. One could say they are diametrically opposed or mutually exclusive. The safety that I am eluding to is the kind opposed not by a foreign enemy or a domestic intruder but from oneself. The notion that someone else knows how to best keep you and I safe(r). At the onset, this pursuit of safety may have seemed warranted: labor laws, food protection standards, environmental conservation mandates, and possibly even car safety belts. The law of diminishing returns applies here; is there a point where this pursuit returns no value?
Life can be said to be a collection of trade-offs, a collective balance of choices. Each choice follows consequences – good or bad – this is reality. For instances, a child makes a principle trade-off for security until maturity tips the scale and freedom/liberty naturally allows them to pursue their ambition. There has been an implicit expectation of the maturing of children into adults even under parental guidance. The noble goal of parenting is to seek independence for your children and provide them to tools to succeed in life without constant reassurance from anyone. Unlike the noble goal of parents, the catty goal of the modern administrative oligarchy does not wish for this independence. Instead the State seeks to perpetuate childhood outside the old realm of adolescence; their malice is to be the parent to us citizens until the grave. The essence of this was spoken eloquently by Alexis de Tocqueville.
It is natural to seek an authority figure in one’s life if that you lack the courage to stand alone. A bird seeks the security of the nest until it has the instinctual courage to fly away. Today there are a collection of people who seek the security of government and believe it is the only entity that can fulfill what they lack within themselves. Among a majority of them hold the presumption that the State should have a hand in everything; their Social Contract is all encompassing. While they foolishly cast any detractor of State central planning as wishing the void left by government to go unfilled. They discount any private entity or personal responsibility as being equable. These same detractors do however believe in the basic Social Compact spoke of by John Locke. The premise of this compact is one of limited government; as the only just form of government to protect natural unalienable rights. This compact is opposite the contract that Thomas Hobbes argued was necessary; for his premise was an unlimited government was needed to protect the people against themselves which would devolve into a “state of war” that was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” without it. It should be made clear that the compact intended to be voluntary and the contract was intended to be involuntary. This is to say, the government has sought to convince the bird that there is no reason to leave the nest for fear to all manner of dangers.
Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, et al are plain examples of the government’s attempt to force behavior for our own good (security). The presumption being that we would not provide for that security ourselves. It would be fair to say some would and some would not. Should not that be a choice instead of an unlawful and involuntary mandate? Those wishing to protect us from ourselves would say there is no more noble goal (freedom from worry); but as is reality, what are the trade-offs? Humans are creatures of habit and prone to nurturing dependence either from our parents or any authoritive figure. Incentive bends our behavior over time. I would argue that it softens generations to group think and compliance. It weakens innovation and alternative thinking – stifles creativity and critical thinking. Is this what a just government should want of its separate and equal citizenry? What is better? Who is more important You or Your Society?
Liberty instead of security should be build from the ground-up, through Federalism. Only by doing this can you guarantee genuine safety; the noblest objective of just government should be to build citizens that reject government dependency. This premise was the overarching principle of the American Revolution and the motive for organizing a government in such a manner. A very long list of distinguished historical individuals have reinforced this tenet throughout time. One of the more famous quotes came from Patrick Henry during the third Virginia convention at St. John’s Henrico Parish Church on March 23, 1775 where he uttered:
“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”.
Liberty is the ordered execution of freedom. These hard, strong, independent, and empathetic citizens are what made America prosperous; they are what make American’s unique to the world – the truest expression of the human spirit. They understood that living without liberty was no life at all. As the government-security-first mentality creeps over time it insulates life, it narrows skills, and numbs human senses. It changes the understanding of what God intended life to be. It requires constant assurance of what is happiness and what is living – the notion of freedom from necessity. Except the central planners always amend what is needed. There is always promise of a better life if the planners can provide this or a that for you; a guaranteed of absolute security for a time. The single malicious result of these promises are that they are not obtainable; however they are promised again and again. Absolute government security does not equal absolute safety (it can’t), but it does mean the minimization of individual freedom. For those who look to the government for the answers, instead of themselves, would rather perish from this earth than live without their government provided security. It is the USDA food from which they gather their nourishment. As for me, liberty is the oxygen from which I breathe. How about you?