I recently attended a forum at Cal Poly discussing “Individual Freedom versus the Common Good.” The six panelists included state Sen. Sam Blakeslee.
This forum didn’t delve into the weighty issue of our foreign policy but touched upon the friction that exists between the desire to address serious social issues — from health care to property rights — and the imposition of solutions that infringe upon established boundaries between individual rights versus social needs.
We didn’t solve the issue, but some speakers gave me pause for concern, especially one who seemed willing to overturn most of the Constitution to achieve social objectives. The cavalier manner in which he was willing to discard our most sacred freedoms was chilling. I wonder how much longer we will be able to resist the impulse to take the easy road to tyranny to fix intractable problems when community leaders eagerly cast aside the cornerstones of freedom for a quick fix.
Unfortunately, it has become fashionable to question the continued validity of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and their relevance to a modern society. Ominously, there are calls to abridge freedom of speech by those offended by everything and everyone. Sadly, U.S officials are making sympathetic noises in reaction to the latest outrages, ostensibly, to obtain the good will of our enemies, instead of vigorously defending our most cherished freedoms.
Sen. Blakeslee gave me reassurance that all was not lost as he reminded the audience of the high cost at which our freedom was achieved and not to be lightly discarded. To say that “Freedom isn’t free” isn’t a cliché, it’s a fact as the cost to obtain and preserve it has always been paid in blood.
Ancient mapmakers marked unknown areas with a symbol indicating, “Here there are tigers,” a warning of danger. We live in a world of tigers. Some think that projecting trust and peace offerings will keep the beast at bay, but that isn’t the way of the world. Vladimir Putin of Russia, former KGB operative and all-around thug, recently demonstrated his character to the chagrin of a trusting American businessman and owner of a Super Bowl-winning team. The businessman displayed his Super Bowl ring, encrusted with diamonds, which Putin admired, tried on, then put in his pocket, walking away, not returning the ring. That a head of state should so casually steal with impunity should give warning to the kind of men who rule the world; most aren’t nice; some are thugs and murderers.
For two centuries, Americans have stood up to thugs, drawn lines in the sand, and said, “this far and no farther,” backing it up with their lives. Such is the cost of freedom that more than 1 million Americans have paid the ultimate price to preserve it. Before you surrender your rights for the “common good,” make sure that it’s worth the cost; its original price was paid by the blood of patriots.For the complete article see the 10-10-2012 issue.
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