Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Take my liberties, I'm scared to death!"

That title is a pun off of Patrick Henry's famous speech "give me liberty, or give me death!", but that title is a perfect example of Americans' philosophy today. Do you ever wonder why the government does things to purposely frighten Americans, and that leads Americans to giving up our freedoms? Are Americans so scared that they will lose their liberties in order for government to comfort them in the false cloak of security? That reminds me of a 1993 article by columnist Molly Ivins, who died yesterday at the age of 62. Her article said:

"We get scared so bad--about the communist menace or illegal immigration or AIDS or pornography or violent crimes, some damn scary thing--that we hurt ourselves. We take the odd notion that the only way to protect ourselves is to give up some of our freedom--just trim a little, hedge a bit, and we'll all be safe after all. Those who think of freedom in this country as one long, broad path leading ever onward and upward are dead damn wrong. Many a time freedom has been rolled back--and always for the same, sorry reason: fear."

It's an excellent point. Throughout history, fear has caused people to relinquish their freedom--oftentimes "temporarily"--to their own government officials in the hope that those government officials will protect them from what they are scared of.

The "temporary" loss of freedom inevitably turns out to be permanent because once government officials have acquired expanded powers, they hate relinquishing them. Also, once people have surrendered their rights and freedoms out of fear, they inevitably lack the courage and the moral fortitude (and the means) to regain their freedom.

Not only do government officials prey on a frightened citizenry by enlisting their assistance in the infringement of their freedoms, they oftentimes produce the very crises and emergencies that endanger the fear.

For example, look at some of the things that so frighten the American people: losing their Social Security, illegal aliens, drug dealers, and terrorists.

Social Security is a government program that is based on taxing young people to give the money to old people. There never was a fund that people's money got deposited into. As old people are coming to realize the truth, they are shaking in their boots at the thought of losing their dole. A government-caused "crises".

Illegal aliens frighten the American people for a multitude of reasons, including losing their jobs to them. But the reason there is a "crisis" is because the government plans and controls the free movement of people across the borders. That's what happens when government intervenes in the free market--distortions and perversions occur, which then gives rise to "crisis", which then cause the citizens to support ever-increasing assaults on their own freedoms.

Drug dealers scare Americans too. Yet the reason for the unsavory drug lords and drug gangs and all the related violence is the drug war itself, not the drugs. The drug war produces the crisis, which then frightens people into supporting ever-growing infringements on their freedom, including warrantless drug raids conducted by militarized SWAT teams.

Terrorism is the great frightener of our times. Yet, terrorism against Americans is rooted in U.S. foreign policy--that is, the bad things that the federal government has done--and is doing--to people overseas. Government policies produce the conditions for the "crisis", and then government uses the resulting fear within the citizenry to induce them to support "temporary" suspensions of their freedom.

It's just like Jim Bovard and his latest book, Attention Deficit Democracy. It's the people produced among themselves (from the government) the condition called Battered Citizen Syndrome.

Isn't it ironic that the most powerful government in the world has the most frightened citizenry in the world? Perhaps it's not a coincidence.

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