In Defense of Liberty

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 

Benjamin Franklin penned those words nearly 300 years ago but they are more applicable now than ever before. In the wake of a global pandemic, fear and control have convinced us that sacrificing our civil rights – even temporarily – is acceptable. Perhaps we have “purchas[ed] a little temporary safety” from the effects of a virus. But at what cost? By conceding our liberties? By being conditioned to concede even more in the future?

Battles were fought to obtain these liberties. Wars raged to defend these liberties. Lives were lost on both foreign and domestic soil. Our brothers and sisters, fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers laid down their lives in defense of our liberty. They weren’t doing it for themselves. They were doing it for us! 

Are we somehow exempt from defending these same liberties? Are our lives somehow worth more than theirs? Will our children somehow not need the same liberties?

A democracy requires men and women to be agents unto themselves to defend their freedom. When a democracy collapses, it is because the individuals and families are dropping their arms. What are the usual symptoms? First, there is a feeling of fear, then resignation, then we get used to the worst. “To get used to” is a horrible phrase, to say the least. To get used to violence, to degradation, to mediocrity, to oppression, to humiliation. (Charles Didier)

This memorial season, and always, may we pick up our arms in defense of our liberties. 

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