Saturday, February 03, 2024

Liberty takes more responsibility

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 17, 2023- For some reason I skipped posting this in its entirety when I should have. Sorry about the delay!)

Most people don’t seem to want liberty. Many of them want freedom, but they aren’t interested in the responsibility that comes with liberty.

A majority want to feel safe and comforted. They want guarantees. They want the familiar, even when the familiar is guaranteed to be harmful to them. They don’t want the uncertainties that come with liberty. Uncertainties are a fact of life, like it or not.

Some of them would like liberty for themselves but are terrified of allowing others to exercise their own. “Liberty for me, but not for thee.” This tells me they don’t understand liberty at all.

I’m not just guessing about what people want; they’ve told me. Even most of those who express a general appreciation for the idea of liberty couch it with a “but.”

It’s why they balk at liberty and allow political criminals to retain power. It’s why they tolerate government officials who claim “Violence is a contagious disease” instead of tarring, feathering, and running these politically useful liars out of town on a rail.

It’s one thing to define words to make your meaning clear. We should all be prepared to do this. It’s a different matter to redefine words with the intention of confusing people for your own gain. I’d call this “fraud.”

To define words as the opposite of what they are generally understood to mean, in order to use your new definition as justification for violating people with tyrannical legislation, is one of the most common acts in politics. If people were more interested in liberty and truth, perhaps they’d stop putting up with it.

There’s a comfort in allowing someone else to make the decisions and bear the responsibility. I may not agree with this path, but I understand it. I see how seductive it can be.

That’s not reality, though. Or, at best, it is a distorted reflection of a faded and tattered version of reality. Without taking responsibility, are you really even alive? Without liberty, is life worth the effort? If you allow government to treat you as a naughty and stupid child, unable to run your own affairs without its overbearing “guidance,” what are you? Not a responsible adult, but something smaller and weaker. Something less.

As much as I dislike the politicians and their lackeys, I can’t blame them for taking advantage of an opportunity that has been handed to them. I’d love to see this opportunity retracted.
I couldn't do this without your support.

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