Monday, September 17, 2012

An Illusion of Safety

If I were to ask you what the direct cause of the majority of invasive legislation is, what would your answer be?

Corruption is what many people would say. However, I argue against this as if it were corruption, wouldn't the corrupted be voted out of office? Nope, not working.

Try this: Safety.

No, don't laugh yet, hear me out.

Let's use the recent TSA legislation as an example. What is the government's reasoning behind letting these people pat you down? It was, simply put, to keep you safe whilst traveling on airlines.

How about the Patriot Act, which President Bush Jr. enacted? That act introduced a whole bunch of regulation in the name of safety.

To get more current, what about ObamaCare? Last I heard, it is to keep us safe from unscrupulous practices and keep people who didn't have health insurance safe.

Benjamin Franklin said: They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety

We live in a culture of "safe". Think about it. There are warning labels everywhere, both to keep the consumer and the business safe. We have welcomed tons of legislation designed to keep or our loved ones safe, insurance companies are doing very well, cars beep incessantly when you're not buckled in, the vitamin/supplement market is better than it's ever been, weapons are illegal just about everywhere, hunters wear orange, and the list goes on and on.

Don't take me wrong, I'm not of the opinion that we should never think about trying to stay safe, but rather that our culture, as a whole, is too worried about their personal safety.

And I don't think the government, or the news, are trying to fix the problem, but rather nurture it. The news industry thrives off of people's fear. When was the last time the your local newspaper's headline  had good news? The left-wing leaders in the government have realized that fear and safety are some of their best playing cards. All they have to say is "This is for the greater safety of America as a country and the American people" and suddenly they have support from everybody.

I was having a conversation with my sister Shanna, and it somehow turned to government and money (surprise, surprise). We were talking about the possibility and effects of having a government-run bank where all your banking would be done. I had a light-bulb moment and said "Do you know how the government will get the people to agree to this? They will say 'This is for your good, american citizens. Not only will we protect you from identity theft, but automatically pull out taxes (so there will be no loop-holes for the billionaires), link your bank to your Social Security, prevent you from spending money on fraudulent schemes,  and add all your government benefits straight to your account! This is to keep you safe.'"

Next thing you know, they have complete control of all your money.

Scary, huh? But, so close to reality at the same time.

Now, I have to ask this: can a government offer "real" safety? I guess it would depend on what "real" means to you. To me, Christ is the only thing/person who has the ability to do that. However, if we are speaking of safety of ourselves here on earth, then I don't believe that anything can keep us safe, and a large government is more than likely to do just the opposite.

I read an account of a missionary in China the other day. He was over there when the communists first came in. The communists promised peace and safety, and they did to an extent. They cleaned up the gangs and drugs, and made everybody feel safe. Then they said "You don't need your guns anymore, as you can see we will keep you safe. Tonight, drop off all your guns in the town square". The people obeyed, and the governing officials started the next day with several executions.

My point is that although we do need to be mindful of our safety, government should not be our only source of it.


2 comments:

  1. All true. I think big government only truly cares about its own safety, anyway. What a lame card to play, safety - even an adventurous kid could tell you that.

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  2. An interesting point of view, but one I think is approached from a narrow perspective. No action is ever taken in a vacuum, there is a trigger or lack of action which is normally the cause. The basis of our government has always been checks and balances, whether internally between the different branches of government or externally when the people (which are the basis for the government's authority) throw off their normal apathy and actively engage in their own governing as intended by the founding fathers. With that being said, the perspective that "safe" is the motivation behind bad legislation is only a small part of the story. As we have discussed in the past, I believe the government's primary responsibility is to provide for the defense of our way of life and ensure a fair playing field for all. This does not mean providing advantage to one group over another, but to ensure each has equal opportunity to take advantage of the freedoms which are the basis of a society such as ours. The actions taken in response to issues perceived to be a threat (to any aspect of our lives) are normally made with good intent, but application is normally where the issue is. If the people would actively engage in the rights guaranteed them by the blood of others, the issue of government overstepping would be mute. Comparing actions in China to actions in the United States, is like comparing apples and oranges. As I am falling asleep as I write this, I will cut it short and hopefully find the time to continue at a later date. You state government should not be our only source regarding safety. I claim it is not. Since the people are the source of our government's authority, it is the people who are ultimately the source of how our government addresses any issue of safety or any issue for that matter. Each of the examples you gave were all well intentioned responses by our government to address major threats to our way of life. Even without the full cooperation of the people, they have saved countless American lives and helped ensure no further deadly attacks have occurred on our soil. Are they perfect...no they are not...but what endeavor involving humans ever is? Bottom line...if more people actually engaged in the rights others made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure they never lost, most of the issues we currently have have with all levels of government would be more relevant to our true needs and concerns.

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