Monday, June 13, 2016

One Step Closer to Less Freedom

Someday several decades--maybe even a couple of centuries--after all of us are dead and gone historians will look back at the United States and marvel at the personal freedoms and individual rights that it once granted to its citizens.  And then they will look at how those rights and freedoms were whittled away over time. 

Those historians will find that those rights and freedoms weren't taken away by a tyrannical government or an invading foreign power--as was feared by those who endowed those rights upon Americans at the founding of the country.  Instead, those rights were voluntarily abridged by the citizens themselves--often in reaction to the actions of a very few.

Take for instance the Fourth Amendment right to freedom from search without a warrant.  That was freely given up after 19-religious zealots hijacked four aircraft and crashed them into buildings.  Or the First Amendment right to freedom of expression and practice of religion.  Those were abdicated to prevent a select few from having their feelings hurt or to be able to buy wedding cakes from any bakery in the country.  And then there was the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  That was eventually stripped away because of the actions of criminals, the mentally ill and more religious zealots.

Our future historians will likely conclude that Americans decided that they were more willing to accept control and perceived security than they were guaranteed freedom and uncertainty.  As people who never enjoyed those rights, they may wonder what the big deal was about having them--why so many people fought so hard to preserve them for so long--and probably why they were even considered in the first place.

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