Abraham Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
The loss of our freedoms is the real threat to the American way of life. Despite what many Washington politicians would want you to believe, it is not some militant holed up in a cave in the Middle East that poses the most significant threat to America. Allowing our own government to sacrifice the liberty of its citizens in the name of security is the gravest threat of all.
Benjamin Franklin warned, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Liberty is the freedom to make your own decisions. The principle formed the foundation of the American government at its inception. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution states one of its purposes is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
And yet, the concept of liberty as conceived of by the founding fathers of this nation remains elusive. The system of law established to prevent one from infringing upon the natural rights of another has morphed into a system in which laws form within the court system rather than legislature. The legislatures of both the national and state governments have worked to promote their selfish interests over the liberty of their constituents, covering their path with a propaganda smokescreen. The executive branch has ascended to the most powerful branch through the formation of various agencies under its command that regulate the daily activities of citizens. The propaganda machine has triumphed here also, promoting its figurehead as a savior from certain doom.
The growth of a socialist type of authoritarian government is the greatest threat currently facing the American political system. The sacrifice of personal liberties in the name of security has led to the rise of the warfare-welfare state, with programs such as Homeland Security and Social Security. The renaming of the Department of War to the Department of Defense shortly after World World II is an excellent example of the “war is peace” mentality cautioned by George Orwell in “1984.” President Eisenhower warned America about the rise of the military-industrial complex and its potential to endanger our liberties in his eloquent 1961 farewell address, but history shows us few took note. The appeal of state-run central social programs has broad appeal among the masses who do not understand the potential damage of such programs to economic prosperity and personal liberty.
The recent severe intervention of the federal government in the business cycle serves as a precedent for stronger power assumptions in the future. While the interventions were labeled as in the best interest of the common man, it is becoming more evident that government favoritism is being used to bolster the status quo. Redistributions of currency from the people (through inflation and taxes) to centrally-determined allocations have favored the most politically-connected elite under the guise of assistance for the common man.
Only a citizenry guided by the pursuit of liberty and justice for all can prevent the dangerous growth of centralized government authority in the United States of America.