Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not prepared for freedom

We've lived a certain way in America for so long that we forget our liberties are not a natural condition; that specific ingredients were required for Western Civilization to develop as it did. Chief among these is self-control. As one observer put it:
“It may be that the human race is not ready for freedom. The air of liberty may be too rarified for us to breathe…The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.”
Socrates' 'paradox' is more fully explained through the Biblical worldview that the human race is born corrupted, self-centered and lawless.  There is no more selfish creature on the planet than a baby, who cares not one whit that a 2 a.m. feeding or diaper change inconveniences the adults around them, or that an object catching their eye belongs to someone else.  The adults understand the baby's dependence, and so out of love accomodate them.  What is often overlooked, though, is that unless the adults around him teach him to consider others, that default self-centeredness will deepen in adulthood into utter disregard for anyone but himself. 

Parents who took seriously this responsibility used to have significant support from a society that reinforced the basic value of self-restraint.  Not anymore.  Today, advertisers promote a culture of "get it at all costs," while entertainment in all forms compete to advance the most unrestrained hedonistic lifestyles possible.  Voices raised against such vapidness are shouted down as prudes, or worse.  Yet nobody bothers to project the logical results of such a social posture.

The result of this cultural shift shouldn't be surprising.  As the quip says, "in a society where anything goes, eventually, everything will." 

By removing the constraints of social pressure that once kept our natural tendencies at bay, we've created a dangerous situation... one where those who still respect civility and lawfulness will have to use increasing force against those who do not.  Force, whether in the form of war or policing, is the health of the State.  The State, however, is itself the natural foe of liberty.  Having failed to rule ourselves, we are increasingly ruled by others.

And thus does the society we think we live in hang by a thread, as we exit 2011...


KSH said...


Jemison Thorsby said...

Seen several articles on the 'surplus' transfers lately. Key graf from the one you linked:

"“It’s kind of had a corrupting influence on the culture of policing in America,” Lynch says. “The dynamic is that you have some officer go to the chief and say, people in the next county have [military hardware], if we don’t take it some other city will. Then they acquire the equipment, they create a paramilitary unit, and everything seems fine.

“But then one or two years pass. They say, look we’ve got this equipment, this training and we haven’t been using it. That’s where it starts to creep into routine policing.”

...and that's why I use the tag "SWAT-ing Freedom" to describe this police militarization...

Site Meter