Sunday, April 13, 2008

Freedom Increasingly at Risk

It is sad that our government being the risk to our own freedom is rising. I remember 10 years ago understanding that the risks to our freedom due to government action were minor. The real risk to freedom were from criminals forcing people to restrict their activity for fear of becoming a victim. The protections from government, so dear to those escaping the rule of Kings, seemed outdated.

Sadly I have to say we have entered a new era where the freedoms granted by the constitution, for freedom from government abusing our rights, is a serious danger. I am amazed this has come to be, honestly. I did not anticipate serious threat of government restrictions on freedoms.

Freedom granted by The First Amendment is not guaranteed in practice. If people allow government to become less and less accountable for unacceptable behavior those freedoms disappear.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" - Wendell Phillips
which is often quoted as "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" and attributed to Thomas Jefferson

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Richard Jackson (maybe)

We have been lucky enough that the threats to government restrictions on freedom have been low. Our lack of vigilance did not do much harm. But those that treasure what our constitution has created for over 200 years should heed the guidance now. The cost of our complacency will not be apparent until the forces against freedom have great momentum. It seems to me that evidence is piling up quite quickly. And the price for continued complacency will be steep.

So About That Tree of Liberty...

Of course, the real irony here is that all of this happened at the Jefferson Memorial, in observance of Jefferson’s birthday. Go out to celebrate the birth of the most hardcore, anti-authoritarian of the Founding Fathers, get hauled off in handcuffs. The photo’s almost poetry, isn’t it? One of history’s most articulate critics of abuse of state authority looks on as a park police cop uses his elbow to push a female arrestee into one of said critic’s memorial pillars.

Related: Tired of Incompetent Government Harassment - Quarantining dissent - Arrested Bush dissenters look to the courts - Orwellian "Free Speech Zones" violate the constitution - SWAT Raids, government failures - Dancing fools - The Photographer’s Right - HOWTO resist warrantless searches at Best Buy

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me."
Martin Niemoeller

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