Freedom Requires Eternal Vigilance
Fighting Off Incremental Losses
by The Liberator

Too many American citizens today take our liberties for granted. We have forgotten the hardships men had to endure to give rise to our present benefits. Rights may become lessened if allowed to be slowly chipped away without a fight, which is presently happening. Evidence suggests that the downward slope of civil rights has already begun. The short climb back toward virtual independence can be simply accomplished if we remember famous leaders of old and reteach ourselves the responsibilities of freedom.

Following a triumphant journey from New York to Annapolis, George Washington, victorious commander in chief of the American Revolutionary Army, appears before Congress and voluntarily resigns his commission, an event unprecedented in history
23 Dec 1783: Washington Appears Before Congress
Other countries around the world suffer from governments that lack consistency or blatantly misuse power. Those systems are tainted. When the peoples of those countries feel the effects of their rampaging governments, they have no recourse.

Two centuries ago, British rule became intolerable for a large number of Englanders. The desire to seek out a better life was so strong for these people, they traveled across an ocean and fought against British economic tyranny. We must not forget that men had to die to break free from tyranny and other men had to spend countless hours carefully planning for a fair, new country1.

These men gave birth to the foundation of our government by creating rules and procedures to keep the whole system in check. The freedoms to speak ones mind, own a gun, vote politicians into office and practice ones own spiritual philosophy were the strongest and most valuable rights each American was endowed. This rulebook has stood the test of time and is considered to be a superior work, second to none, mainly due to its inherent amendment flexibility and is called the U.S. Constitution2.

Fastforwarding to present day America, we have new laws that are more detailed and reflect the needs of a technologically different society. There are automobile laws that dictate how to travel safely. Air travelers are detained at airports to prevent terrorism. Also, yelling "fire" in a crowded place is illegal so as not to cause panic and harm someone. All of these laws are necessary, logical and unarguably correct.

How far and to what extent can our freedoms be reduced to allow for a safer nation? If all of us were to sacrifice all of our freedoms, we would obtain a perfectly safe Orwellian nation in which no one would want to live. Consequently, the extreme pursuit of safety is ironically harmful.

In light of a "safer" nation through a reduction of freedom, we still find our rights being slowly eroded today. School districts are conducting drug searches and monitoring children with cameras. Companies are forcing their employees to be tested for drugs. The military requires its soldiers to have their DNA recorded. There is a movement to ban guns, incrementally. The list of proposed losses is a long one and all of these actions have mostly gone unchallenged.

School systems are wrestling with growing concerns about teenage violence and controlled substances. Cameras are being placed in buildings to address the problem. Lockers are being sniffed by drug-trained dogs. Unfortunately, little is being said about the sports programs and electives that are being cut in districts across our country. Will teenage violence and drug use be deterred by the filming and the police patrols? Time will only tell but knowing that "big brother" is watching is not at all comforting.

If all of us were to sacrifice all of our freedoms, we would obtain a perfectly safe Orwellian nation in which no one would want to live.

Companies are battling globally and are operating under their own stressers. Some companies will be run out of business for many reasons. Boards of directors try to control the variables within their companies to maximize profits and longevity. The easiest to blame and control is the worker variable. Being able to fire employees who are not performing to standard is an important ability. Workers who are under the influence of controlled substances can and probably should be fired. However, random drug testing is a whole other story and infringes on all of our freedoms -- one of them being the innocent until proven guilty right.

DNA recording, a seemingly innocent endeavor, opens another can-of-worms. Military leaders claim DNA can be used to identify the dead. DNA can be used to do so but it can also be used to gather genetic information about the predisposition for diseases and other health conditions, be they of the soldier and of the soldier's offspring. The military should not have the right to pry into their soldiers' futures and quite possibly determine careers based on that information when healthcare is becoming incredibly expensive.

On another front, the bleeding hearts have targeted the second amendment as their latest cause. Even though the second amendment clearly states our right to bear arms, these gun-banners are trying to attack the handgun industry by requiring larger waiting times and reducing the capacity of weapons. They also want to reduce the types of weapons buyers can purchase. Fortunately for the NRA3, weapons manufacturers and second amendment defenders, the bleeding hearts are being contested. Rhetoric is not the tool used against the gun-banners; research on concealed weapon permits is supporting the constitutional right.

Unlike the handgun research, studies on smoking confirm it is dangerous to ones health. The act increases the risk of cancer. Research also tells us that secondhand smoke is harmful too. Enter in non-smoking sections everywhere -- a compromise between smokers and non-smokers. Yet, people should have the right to smoke. No, the tobacco industry should not taint their products with habit-forming chemicals nor encourage minors to smoke and should be made to pay when caught doing so. Nevertheless, the right to smoke without causing someone else to choke is one of our many rights.

Rights, like being able to smoke, can be lost when we allow others to ignore our freedoms. Those brave enough to fight against the loss of freedom suffer severe penalties when their efforts are allowed to go unassisted. Jobs are lost. Careers are ruined and prison terms become a possible consequence as well. Great leaders and challengers against oppression require knowledgeable and dedicated support. Without the support, the push against oppression will die as quickly as the freedoms are lost.

Two great leaders who were able to stir the masses into action in the fight for freedom were Mahatma Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King. They were successful practitioners of civil disobedience4 and included sit-ins, hunger strikes and pickets as their weaponry. From the results of these peaceful demonstrations, they have proven to be necessary components in altering injustices of great proportions.

There are areas of freedom that are extremely controversial, needing to be approached carefully no matter who leads the fight. Flag burning is one of those issues as is fetal tissue research. Flag burning to demonstrate displeasure of political decisions is attention getting and may bring issues to the forefront of the news docket across mainstream mediums. However, the key issue may get lost in the act of burning the flag. Fetal tissue research is closely linked to the abortion debate. There are strong arguments to be made on both sides of the issue of whether or not the research should be allowed to happen. In both cases, the controversy should be approached strategically to ensure maximum benefit.

By engaging in discussion, becoming knowledgeable about the issues, and challenging others to form an opinion, freedoms are further preserved. The all-to-common blurb, "Don't talk about religion, sex, and politics" invites the loss of freedom through shared ignorance. "Debating" soap operas, sitcoms, and designer clothing will not cut it in our complicated, technological society. Ownership of the issues needs to be demanded in order to benefit from our rights. It is the price of freedom, an informed, pro-active, involved citizenship.

Picture of Tiananmen Square demonstrator defiantly standing before four tanks
Tiananmen Square, China June 1989
Other countries around the world suffer from governments that lack consistency or blatantly misuse power. Those systems are tainted. When the peoples of those countries feel the effects of their rampaging governments, they have no recourse.

The United States is certainly capable of making improvements, but our system is a decent one by disallowing any one faction from having too much power. The people who come to this country due it out of respect of our freedoms which stems from our healthy system. No country can claim the immigration statistics we do over such a long history.

The dreams of those immigrants remain high and are unparalleled by any other group elsewhere globally. We, as United States citizens, patriots and defenders of truth, justice and the American way, should remind ourselves of those immigrants who dream of a better life. It is exactly that desire which shaped our country to be the "land of opportunity." It is exactly that reason why we need to further defend our precise constitutional rights.

1 Learn more about American History by visiting The History Place at

2 The U.S. Constitution can be found online at

3 The National Rifle Association has websites at and A specific article relating to gun control on The Liber8r can be found at

4 Further study on civil disobedience can be done at

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