A horrible tragedy occurred in Paris, France last Friday the 13th of November.
This blog is not about retribution, conspiracy theory, military escalation, terrorism, racism, immigration, mistrust, foreign policy, religion, treaties, war, humanitarian assistance, middle east diplomacy, or the propensity of human beings to kill others for no good reason. While all of these issues and more have come up in debate since this event, I will discuss the aftermath of this event that relates to the foundational feelings of people regarding that faith that they place in government, and how that faith sustains government power over us.
Benjamin Franklin stated, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. When times are calm, most of the people are willing to accept Franklin’s quote without argument. They are willing to admit that government intrusion into the lives of the people is vastly overreaching as long as they do not perceive a threat. The problem is that the attitudes of the people change when they do perceive a threat. Once there is an attack that makes them feel insecure, it’s.. “Benjamin who?”.
Our government is only too happy to respond to these events with things like the Patriot Act, the TSA, NSA spying on us, operation choke point, and more that we know of, and even more that we still are not aware of. While there is no surprise that our government will take every opportunity that they can to increase their size and scope, the problem is that people will readily hand over this power and more at times they perceive a threat.
I have seen comments over the years related to these intrusions into our lives, such as…” If you have nothing to hide, then why should this bother you?”… That still sends chills down my spine. Many people of today do not have the vision, foresight, and historical perspective of the founding fathers, and that situation represents a threat to our individual liberty on a grand scale.
Government has always done what they could for the purpose of getting the people to fall in line. During the Vietnam war, there were many who felt that the word “peace” was a dirty word, because the government was waging a war in Southeast Asia that was responsible for the casualties of tens of thousands American Soldiers, let alone myriad civilians. The calls for peace were against the will of the government that was promoting the war.
A popular bumper sticker of that time read, ” America.. Love it or leave it”. Sure, that statement warms the hearts of people who consider themselves patriotic. The reality was and still is that a patriot does not necessarily support the actions of their government. In reality, a patriot has a greater goal in mind… that the best way to support, protect and defend our country is not always to support the will and whims of our government, and in the case of the USA, to remain mindful of the vision and goals of our founders.
The USA has always had an “enemy” that motivated the people to pay increasing taxes, incur debt, and give away more personal liberty. Today, that “enemy” is terrorism. Assuming terrorists were actually to blame for 9/11, (remember I am not discussing conspiracy theory in this blog), there is no argument that they won. The way that they won was by impacting the lives of Americans, by reducing our liberty via the will of government.
Humankind inflicts atrocities on each other on a daily basis. When such atrocities happen to us or others that concern us, the people voice their objections and demand results. Here is the problem as I see it: Many of those who would previously recognize that we have allowed our government to grow out of control still seek action from and blindly follow the rhetorical lead of our government to give up more liberty for more perceived safety.
There is no argument that violence begets violence. War elicits more war. The morose merry go round of murder in the name of war will continue to rotate until we all refuse to ride it, and only then will it stop.
The problem is that at times like this when emotions run high, those of us who remain mindful of the needs of individuals for liberty and want the power to be returned to the people are told by some that we should be sent to other countries because our plans and goals are stupid, and we are simply naive.
My response to these people is always the same… If Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and those founders who designed our nation and were mindful of the human need for liberty were to use their same words and warnings today, would you want to kick them out as well?