Liberty = fascism

Liberty is the new fascism, or at least in can be insofar as serving as an impediment to reasonable discourse.

I came across a gem, on an online discussion board, which I feel  illustrates the roadblock to reason posed by the liberto-fascist faithful. “The main point is that life is inherently unsafe. Anything could happen at any time, so we shouldn’t actively impair our liberty just for the sake of seeing another day,” the fearless defender of liberty asserts!

Such a claim is unreasonable, to say the least. As romantic as it may sound and feel to demand a life with full liberty or no life at all, it’s still an uniquely unreasonable position to take.

The very existence of government is an encroachment on the concept of absolute liberty(as if it were something that is realistically obtainable, or even existent.)

Even Benjamin Franklin, one of the supposed fathers of this line of thinking, differentiated between “essential liberty” and the lesser liberties, which could be reasonably exchanged for security.

There are reasonable trade-offs we make with liberty for security. A stiff-lipped demand for more or maintained liberty is as equally unreasonable as this panicked clamor for accepting tyranny in pursuit of absolute security that so many defenders of liberty pretend to hear.

There is a damn fine reason why bomb attacks aren’t more common, and it has a lot to do with far more dangerous materials being either regulated or restricted.

Imagine for a moment that bombs of all varieties of potential devastation were freely available for purchase. Can anyone realistically say that these tragedies would not be more prone to occur?

Chances are good that anyone politically engaged knows someone apt to make romantic appeals to liberty when discussing policy. One would expect those who find regulation so insufferable to lead the charge in rolling back existing safety policies, regardless of success rates. One would expect this, and there are indeed those people, but they are much rarer finds.

The truth of the matter is that, despite their cries for liberty, these people yield to a realistic preference for security when it comes down to it.

Few truly want to live in a society so full of liberty that it is devoid of security, and vice versa. Appeals to liberty, such as the one being discussed, are every bit as emotional as appeals to fear for a security policy. This is because at its root an appeal to liberty it is an appeal to fear.

There are valuable contributions to be made by people who claim to find extra value in liberty. However, many must reconcile their differences with others as a matter of degree, rather than principle, if honest, constructive dialogue is what they desire.

Is it really all about the Benjamins?

Those who would give up a rational discussion by purporting to know what a dead man would say about a modern issue deserve a reality check.

There is an appeal to authority that is often made in the realm of gun control talk. This appeal is in the form of a mutated strain of a Benjamin Franklin quote.

“Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither,” is what those wielders of Franklin’s infinite, immutable wisdom would have everyone believe. It’s most likely that these quote slingers honestly believe this is the quote in full, and are oblivious to the falsity they are peddling, as these things tend to have a viral quality.

This is the full quote:

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Clearly there is a bit more nuance in this quote, and in its full form it reflects Franklin’s pragmatic thinking. Franklin makes it clear that there is a difference between essential liberty and any liberty and the scale of security which is achieved by the surrender of a liberty.

But even if he had written the quote in the obtuse form that it has mutated into, what authority could Franklin hold over such a modern matter? I’m not saying that the thoughts of great and long dead thinkers be discarded. But shouldn’t we consider the reality of their times before we go imposing their words on wholly modern issues?

Just think: What absolute advice could you possibly give today, specifically about public safety, citizens and weapon ownership, that would not be obsolete after another 250 years in technological advancement?

I can only think of one time-proof statement.

“The hell are you doing quoting me? We didn’t even have pocketable disintegration ray guns yet.”