As we pray for the people of France today, can we learn some very important lessons from the past?
When the Twin Towers fell, we made a very serious mistake. We believed we could trade our Liberty for security and allowed our government, with our permission, to “temporarily” impose upon our Rights in an effort to keep us safe.
Let’s be very clear of two things: it was NEVER temporary, and we are NO safer now than we were then. We have just lost very precious Liberties, and dangerously expanded the power of government.
You will undoubtedly hear, over the next few days, people claiming the need for MORE government power of surveillance and the need for MORE government power to keep us safe. Make no mistake; whenever government gets more power, the people have less Liberty.
When we hear these “desperate” cries for power, in the face of a fearful and vulnerable generation, we must remember the words of William Pitt, the younger:
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
These cries of necessity, Pitt is explaining, classify people in their own human nature. Those who want the power as tyrants, and those whose fear will turn them to slaves. Who do we want to be?
I believe John Milton would punctuate Pitt’s statement with this:
“And with necessity, The tyrant’s plea, excus’d his devilish deeds” (Paradise Lost)
These tyrants will NOT let a crisis go to waste. They will frame the narrative such that if you care about civil liberties, then you don’t care about national securities. They admit you can’t both keep their oath and fight terrorism. So they take the oath disingenuously and then set about to remove the constraints of that oath. Their cry will become, “We must defend America from these radical barbarians at all costs! If you don’t give us the power to do this, in all cases whatsoever, you won’t have your Liberty because we will all be dead.” Enter the “Necessity Plea.”
The danger we are facing is the attitude that Liberty doesn’t matter, that any boundary and limit of government can be violated if you can come up with a good enough reason. Then those who control the narrative will be able to use any reason at any time to violate the Liberty of an uninformed people for the purposes of power and control.
Our framers lived through ALL of these scenarios prior to our Independence. There is a reason they declared the purpose of the union was to “Preserve the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” There is a reason John Adams wrote in 1765 that “Liberty must at all hazards be supported.” There is a reason that Samuel Adams wrote:
“No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.”
We cannot let our ignorance destroy our Liberty in the face of ignorance and fear. There is a reason that Patrick Henry asked these questions and made his final stand:
“What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Without Liberty, you are a slave, and your life is not worth living. Without Liberty, your peace, your national security, will become your chains and bonds.
These are the times that will try men’s souls. We will see what Americans really want. Do we want to remain the greatest place on earth, established on the fundamental principle of Liberty? Or do we want to be just like every other country in the world, driven by fear and dictated by government power?
On an individual level, I will simply say that no person’s fear ever trumps my Rights. And as for me and my house, we stand with Patrick Henry.
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