For a country to stay free, it must be dominated by people who want to be free.
To want freedom, you have to NOT be afraid. If you’re afraid of life, and you lack confidence or initiative, freedom will not appeal to you. Being taken care of will appeal to you.
America started as a vast wilderness, populated only with a few cities. People who came to America were not afraid. If they were, they would not have come here. And they certainly would not have stayed, or survived.
It’s easy to see how and why America’s earlier generations yearned for freedom. In many cases, they fled European and other nations to escape the kind of oppression we see from the American government today–high taxes, restrictions on individual rights, property, gun ownership. In Europe and elsewhere, people lived to serve the government. In America, people wanted government to serve the people.
Things are very different today in America. In a way, the United States was the victim of its own success. It did so phenomenally well at raising the standard of living that people became scared again. They became scared of losing it. Their focus shifted from liberty to security. It has been gradual, but the current movement — especially among America’s youngest age group — toward some version of socialism (translation: security over liberty) shows just how much the character, psychology and soul of the country has changed.
I want to emphasize that a country or a nation does not have a soul. A country or a nation is a large number of individuals. There are many individuals in America who still yearn for independence, liberty, individual rights and the sort of sacred liberties embodied by the Bill of Rights, the most important part of our Constitution.
But there are at least as many (I fear more) Americans who yearn for security more than liberty. This is not a new struggle for human beings. Security versus liberty is part of the human struggle for serenity and self-esteem. However, there’s an error millions have made in the past, and millions more –in America, of all places — seem poised to make again. That error is to assume that you can trade off liberty for security. Or that you can even have both. You can’t. Because — as any emotionally abused spouse or battered wife will tell you — the moment you hand over the reins of control to somebody else in exchange for their taking care of you, it’s the same moment you subject yourself to the worst, controlling and abusive tendencies of the party you have given consent to take care of you.
Turning government into Mommy or Daddy is the worst thing people can do. It will turn ugly, so quickly. It’s a common theme throughout human history. What I can’t wrap my mind around is what it will look like in America, with its generations-long history and heritage of liberty, freedom, and continuous prosperity. A socialist America? I liken it to falling from a 150 floor skyscraper rather than from a 5 floor building. The fall will kill you either way. But what a fall this will be.
All I’m left with is to say, especially to younger people: Don’t let it go.
Most societies have never known liberty and freedom. America knew it — and then lost it? It would be the greatest sin in all of human history.
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