Individual liberty is globally under attack in ways unprecedented in modern history. Most obvious are the predations of the terrorists and radical Muslim proselytizers operating in the less developed countries of the Middle East and Africa. But a more subtle, insidiously creeping loss of freedom is currently occurring in Western cultures, in countries once collectively referred to as the “free world.”
In Europe, socialistic leaders and Nanny State bureaucrats, the nouveau tyrants of the allegedly sophisticated European Union, mete out legislative and regulatory mandates that soak up personal freedoms in the name of the common good. Whether the social implications of their actions are in reality beneficial to society is, in itself, debatable. France, for example, is currently considering legislation that will forever ban the use of the words “mother” and “father” in all government documents. These fearfully reprehensible appellations are to be replaced with the more politically correct, gender-neutral term, “parents,” because the traditional reference to one’s forbears is offensive to a limited segment of the population. In the Orwellian doublethink of social engineering, use of the word, “mother” is considered to be blatantly and egregiously discriminatory. The larger question, however, should be whether this legislation actually improves the common good. Is undermining the concept of the traditional, nuclear family and continuing to weaken the institution that has been, for millennia, the sustaining, stabilizing brick and mortar of society to mitigate an imagined, or, at best, purported slight of a small, but vocal minority, really in the best interest of society?
Similarly, in the United States, our liberty is being threatened to an extent not seen since the Founding Fathers declared our independence from the tyrants of an earlier Europe. Over the course of more than two centuries, we have gradually lost our freedoms through the fearful canard of government aegis, so that we can no longer escape its ubiquitous intrusions. It was determined, years ago, that anyone seeking employment would be required to obtain a Social Security identification number. These, the government assured us, would never be used for tracking an individual’s whereabouts or identity. Not ever. We must now buy health insurance or pay a penalty. Decisions regarding our health and well being will soon be determined by bureaucrats who will, of necessity, ration limited health care resources. Our ability to be openly guided by the precepts of our faith outside the walls of our church or synagogue is currently threatened by the arbitrary decision of federal bureaucrats through the HHS mandate, a clear assault on the First Amendment. Even our behaviors are increasingly dictated through government coercion, legislation and regulation. The Wood-Shed School of behavior modification is passé. A parent must only correct a child’s misbehavior in socially accepted, governmentally sanctioned ways. Doing otherwise in a public venue is particularly risky. We are all told that we cannot bully or commit “hate crimes.” Of course, we all agree that such behaviors are patently reprehensible and must not be tolerated, but who is to say what constitutes criminally objectionable deeds? Who draws the line? The obvious answer is, in the current social milieu, the federal government. I am not convinced, however, that learning to confront and resist a bully is not a more valuable lesson than coming to rely on the dubious protection of a government attempting to legislatively mandate politically correct behaviors. In a country increasingly vulnerable to the caprices of the social engineer, enabled by the power of the Federal Government, we, too, as surely as the citizens of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, are increasingly without liberty. And the rate at which we are losing our individual freedoms increasingly accelerates at a vertigo-inducing rate.
To me, the most important issue to be decided in the coming national elections is not who is best qualified to lift us from the depths of the current economic downturn. We have, in the past, encountered economic adversity, and, forged by the hardships thereby suffered and endured, emerged a stronger people. The question of whether or not we halt the erosion of personal liberty is of much greater consequence to the future of this country. Will we continue to tolerate the gradual atrophy of personal freedom under the insidious socialism encouraged by the feckless tenets of liberalism or again embrace the liberty won by our Founding Fathers through sacrifice and great courage? Liberty is the most important outcome of the great experiment in democracy. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and all the others, bequeathed to future generations the great benefice of personal freedom in the hope that we would cherish and protect this immeasurably valuable gift. We are their hope that it may endure.