Saturday, June 26, 2010

More thoughts on freedom

In the US, there is a great hullabaloo regarding the reduction of freedoms that were allegedly once enjoyed by the masses. These allegations typically are made by people on the political right as the situation relates to the political ideology of the current administration - both executive and legislative. The loss of freedoms tend to subsist of the argument that there is a greater governmental intrusion into the lives of the private individual - more so than existed in the past. And while there is a certain credence that can be given to this argument, it certainly is not an argument that should belong to one side or the other of the political aisle.

Frankly, it can be argued that there has been a continuous loss of the individual freedoms upon which the US was established. As the government continues to expand its powers over the daily lives of its citizenry, albeit at the alleged benefit of those it governs, it continues to reduce the liberties to which the people once may have had rights. One example, hot button issue though it is, is the right of gun ownership. There continues to be an active movement to restrict the ownership of firearms in order to reduce the violence that plagues many areas in the country. The motivation for this movement is seemingly a pure one intended to help reduce the number of victims of gun crimes perpetrated by criminals with supposedly easy access to guns. To argue against them paints the opponents of gun control as violent fanatics. Yet the purpose of the second amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to own firearms not for the purpose of shooting fellow citizens at will but as a guarantee to mitigate the power of the government. A government that has no fear of its unarmed citizens is a government that is either already, or on its way to, a tyranny.

But this does not mean that there are not other ways for the government to exercise its expansion of powers over the daily lives and freedoms of its citizens. And certainly in recent memory, no newly elected leadership has refused the powers that were accumulated under previous administrations nor has failed to increase the powers that it could wield through whatever machinations it could create or twist to its own desires.

Frankly, power begets the desire for more power. And power in the hands of a few, even those who are freely elected, is freedom given to those same few for whatever pittance may be granted in return. So handing over the freedoms that the people may currently possess for whatever meager promises the government may make is a dangerous bargain in the long term. Even Thomas Jefferson knew that
Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
How much further down the path must the people trod before they are willing to see it?

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