Let’s not surrender liberty for security
By Darrell Beck
Freedom is described as the power to do as one pleases; the power of choice; the power of independence; the power to make our own decisions. It means freedom from physical restraint; freedom from arbitrary or despotic control; liberation from slavery or restraint from the power of another. Freedom rests on a tripod of a “market” economy, a “limited” government and “private property.”
Freedom is the power we exercise but may suddenly discover we are about to lose when we’re approached by a stranger who proclaims, ”I’m from the government and am here to help.” To that we say, but we don’t want any help — and to that the agent says, but you are breaking a law and you must accept my help to correct the problem.
When my Pilgrim ancestors James Chilton and family sailed on the Mayflower to the New World in the winter of 1620 to seek freedom and escape religious persecution and despotic control by European tyrants, they risked everything, including their lives. But after flourishing here due to their own energetic efforts, self-reliance and their belief in God, the king realizing the Pilgrims’ initial success, sent agents and soldiers to the New World and made an offer they couldn’t refuse: I’m the king’s envoy and I am here to help. As a result, the Pilgrims would be taxed fairly to conform to the king’s unsolicited assistance.
As time went by, some of the Pilgrim descendants, in an effort to escape being “helped by the government,” began to spread across the land. Then about 1776 a small band of radical revolutionaries called the Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their honor to rid America of these helpful tyrants to preserve freedom by defeating King George. In doing so they formed a new government based on a unique premise called ”of the people, by the people and for the people,” thus creating the United States of America.
The “revolutionaries” such as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Franklin, Henry and others wrote a Declaration of Independence stating that “all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights;” meaning that human rights do not come from governments of men but human rights come from God. Therefore these rights preceded the government. They wrote a Constitution laying out the rules for the function of a limited central government consisting of three equal branches based on self-rule by the people. Then they wrote a Bill of Rights placing limitations on government with property rights being foremost, because without private property there can be no freedom.
To make sure the people could preserve their freedom and rights, they wrote the Second Amendment, clearly stating the people’s right to bear arms, meaning the people were the militia necessary to make sure that human rights “shall not be infringed.” Because there was no U.S. government at that time, the states actually relinquished some of their sovereign power to create the central government. Due to the revolutionaries’ recent experience with a tyrannical monarchy, the people also feared an overly powerful central government, so they wrote the 10th Amendment, giving the central government limited powers, reserving all other governmental duties to the states or to the people respectively.
By the 1860s a Civil War was fought pitting brother against brother and father against son, killing over 600,000 Americans to preserve the Union and to provide freedom for the slaves. Following that Civil War the pioneers began moving westward to start new lives and get away from the carpetbaggers, crime and from an unjust government.
My Mayflower ancestors, Charles Harper and family, eventually came west to California in 1913 in search of land and liberty. While they knew that a limited government was necessary to make practical laws and maintain a reasonable degree of order, they rejected the tyranny that always accompanies big government. They merely wanted to be left alone to live by their own industry, self-reliance and common sense.
But as the pioneers began raising families and were taming and building up the West, they were soon followed by a variety of people who would later become known as “progressives,” or “community organizers” to assist and organize the pioneers. And of course the progressives quickly became the “ruling class” and began to levy taxes and fees to pay for an intrusive and abusive government to administer their abundance of new laws and unwanted helpfulness.
By the mid-20th century there were few places for free people to hide and escape from the helpfulness and intrusion of big government. They began to realize they had much less freedom because they had too much government. This was because the people in Washington, D.C., were ignoring the Constitution and expanding their powers.
In the following years the big central government imposed new ways to addict the people to their unsolicited help including the Internal Revenue Service, the League of Nations, the New Deal, the United Nations, the Great Society, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, welfare and hand-out programs, “redistribution of wealth,” cap-and-trade, Obamacare and hundreds of government regulatory and taxing agencies paid for by our taxes.
Today the Obama Administration, imitated by some state governments, is defying the Second Amendment and is actively working to deny Americans the right of self-defense. They want to register and confiscate firearms to “help protect the people.” But just as world history reveals, the people will suffer because the progressives want to deny us our last defense against absolute tyranny.
Today the gargantuan federal government has become the pinnacle of incompetence and corruption, where partisan politics has become more important than representing the people. They have burdened us with thousands of oppressive laws and mandates that affect everything we do. They have even advanced the absurd and unfounded claim that they can control the climate and save the planet.
Yet too many people are placing all their faith in government by becoming totally dependent on government assistance and false promises. Sadly this is exactly what the founders warned us to avoid if we were to maintain a free society. And sadly the people will soon discover that those who surrender liberty for security, or for unconditional dependence on government, will lose both liberty and security.
Darrell Beck, vice president of the Citizens for Private Property Rights, is a Ramona resident.
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