15 March 2012

Quote for today on choosing freedom

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.
– Senator Ron Paul, from Security and Liberty, April 23, 2007

When he wrote Security and Liberty, Senator Paul was responding to the terrible shootings that had just happened at Virginia Tech University, counseling against those that called on the the government to "do something" to protect people in the future.

"Doing something" can only involve a loss of liberty, whether it's from increased gun control, police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, or the like. As he questions in the article, do we really want to live in such a world? (Arguably, the world gets more that way all the time anyway.)

The thing is, this same general concept applies to our need to accept overall responsibility for our lives and be as self-reliant and prepared as possible. That's the true path to freedom. 

As an example, let's consider where we live.

We're free when we can choose where to live, even if it's near a fault line (with the threat of earthquakes), or on the coast (with the danger of hurricanes), or in a mobile home in Tornado Alley.

Of course, the flip side of that freedom is that we are responsible for the damage if we choose these things  and something bad does happen. However, our freedom allows us to choose how to handle that risk too. We can buy insurance, have a preparedness plan, and so on... investing as much or as little as we like in mitigating the risk.

The other approach, having the Government step in "for our own good," only result in our forced compliance with additional building regulations and limitations, requirements for more protective measures (more sensors, alarms, and monitoring), increasing insurance obligations, and could even end up in restrictions on where we are (or are not) allowed to live.

There's nothing inherently wrong with with some of these things. As I noted above, insurance can be a useful tool for mitigating risk, as can some alarms.

The difference is in who chooses the use of the these tools. When we choose, we are free; when the Government chooses, we are not.

Which do you want?


  1. I love the quote and picture you provided of Ron Paul. He sounds an awful lot like the founding fathers. I can't believe so many disregard the Constitution today.

    1. Thanks Jeff! I agree... Ron Paul is one of the few politicians that really "get" the Constitution. From what I've seen, he's been remarkably true to that vision for decades, and not just staked out that position to differentiate himself from the rest of our politicians.