In our modern world we struggle with many different threats that draw our attention away from what is most important in our lives. The United States has so many enemies that would love to cause us harm and pull us down out of their own hatred for what we have accomplished in just a couple of centuries. It is a natural thing for human beings to prefer making someone else less rather than putting in the work to make themselves more. It’s always easier to hate than to love.
It used to be that everything moved slowly enough for us to keep up with it, but now there are so many things happening so quickly that we struggle to stay on top of most of the threats we face. Terrorism has become a common thing now, and even though we have become used to the idea of it we are unable to conquer our fear of it. Many people spend quite a lot of time worrying about being hurt by some kind of attack.
The interesting thing is that in some parts of the world this might be quite a reasonable fear, but here in the United States there is little reason to worry. We have the strongest military in the world, so no force would risk a real confrontation with us. Our intelligence service is second to none, so the big groups would have a very hard time causing any significant harm before we noticed and stopped them. The only real threats we have are those who are too small to get noticed, and there really isn’t much that can be done about that.
Knowing this, it never ceases to amaze me that we continue to do things to restrict our own lives in the vain hope that if we put enough measures in place we can somehow mitigate the threat of terrorism. It is this utopian idea that if we just keep trying we can somehow create a world that is perfectly safe and free from risk. This is an incredibly flawed perspective, not only because eliminating risk entirely just isn’t possible, but also because the things we would have to do to even approach this kind of “safety” just isn’t palatable to most people.
The only way to decrease the chances of something bad happening is to start removing variables. The problem is that we Americans have build our society on freedom of choice for the individual, which by definition is exactly opposed to safe environment. When people have the ability to decide for themselves, the brutal reality is that some people are going to choose evil. That’s just the way it works.
This isn’t anything new. Philosophers have understood this dichotomy of safety versus freedom since the very beginning. Ben Franklin famously stated that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”. Truer words have rarely been spoken, especially when we begin to understand that safety is and always has been a devious illusion.
No matter how many rules we put in place, human beings are unique individuals with their own thoughts and ideas and values. You cannot legislate behavior, especially when there are so many people in our society who disagree about so many things. Some of those people are going to take action based on what they believe in, and many times that will include some form of violence. This can’t be helped; it is a part of human interaction.
As certain political parties continue to move forward in an attempt to combat what can’t be defeated, they propose that we give up our liberties for the vague promise of some kind of safety. Words such as “domestic terrorism” are thrown around because it sounds scary and they believe it will convince us to do what we’re told so we can all be safe. Those of us who know better can do little more than laugh at the arrogance and stupidity of such people.
America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and will be for as long as we remember what made us the beacon of light for the entire world. Our politicians may have given up on our country, but the citizens who grew up here or fought through trials and tribulations to get here understand the value of what America is. They will not allow greed and fear and the lust for power to fully contaminate what we have built. In the end, America will fight back against such things and we will remember what our flag represents.
What does a free nation look like? It looks like America, and it is the model that the rest of the world envies and wishes they could emulate. It is the shining example of what a great society can be. We have proven that it is our desire to give each and every citizen the ability to make the best out of their own lives that makes us stronger, because when we are each free to reach our own potential we are all the better for it.
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