Monday, May 29, 2006

What is the greatest threat to our freedom?

People often talk about freedom, what it means and who exactly is protecting or threatening it, especially on Memorial Day during a time of war. I greatly appreciate the sacrifices our military makes on behalf of us all. The War on Terror fought in Afghanistan and Iraq is being fought for our safety and security here at home. Those wars are being fought to ensure the freedom of others. Our enemies are not trying to take away our rights, they are trying to take away our life and security.

But being the linguistic person that I am, I do wonder how exactly those sacrifices are protecting our freedom - as our current administration is fond of saying. Do we believe that militias of armed Muslim extremist will force our women into burquas and our families into mosques? Do we really think that our government will be overthrown? (Well, maybe it should, but I'll save that for another post.)

The military protects only our right to live in safety and security. Safety and security are subset of the concept of freedom overall. So, I have to ask, whose protecting our other freedoms? Certainly not our government.

Whose protecting our private property rights? Certainly not the Supreme Court, which decided that the rights of private development can trump property owners when it will benefit the tax base. That should make every property owner in America tremble.

Whose protecting the right of parents to educate their children in the manner they see fit? Certainly not the government which insists on compulsory government schooling or some other form of education that it deems fit. Here they have trumped a parent's right to determine what a proper education is.

Whose protecting my right to use any herbal remedy, including marijuana, that I see fit? Certainly not the government which insists that herbs used safely for centuries and proven less harmful than some legal substances should remain illegal.

And just who is our government protecting? The rights and interests of corporate America and itself. It is protecting its own right to extort our money and educate our children to preserve its own power. It is protecting the rights of corporate America to ensure the re-election of politicians who will do their bidding. At this point, expecting the government to protect our rights is like expecting the fox to guard the hen house.

Last week, I heard someone say that we should thank the government for giving us the rights we have. This is backward thinking. It is not government that gives us rights. Our Declaration of Independence says that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights ... by our Creator.

When I reread this document recently, it struck me that our founding fathers believed that government was not an absolute power, that it can and should be abolished if it becomes destructive. They believed government was not the endower of rights, but a guarantor of the rights with which people are born. The founders of this country instituted this government to protect the rights with which we were born. The government does not allow us to have rights. We have designated our government to protect our rights. And when people begin to think this way again, I wonder just how much our government will be able to get away with.

The bottom line: It is our responsibility to protect our own rights from encroachment by our government. Our Declaration of Independence puts it squarely on us. That's why it's imperative that we keep a watchful eye on what our government is doing in our name. That's why a free press is crucial. That's why its important to vote. Too bad our children aren't learning that in the government reeducation camps.

1 comment:

mother judith said...

Mr. Rogers comes through more times!....Stu is a somebody..and he will always be a cherished memory...