Security or Liberty-Shoots from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii – Jan. 5, 2005

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It is a very simple question: What is more important to you, freedom or security?

Benjamin Franklin answered this centuries ago:


“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Yet this is precisely what we, as a nation, are facing today. In the name of security we are giving up freedom after freedom after freedom. It is as if this president, and the party he hails from, had never heard of Benjamin Franklin; or the wisdom that that Founder expressed.

This is difficult because this president’s opponent in the last election would have been worse, much worse. The phrase, “lesser of two evils” has rarely been more apt than in this last presidential election. That being said, there is no reason to entirely endorse the agenda that this recently elected president is now seeking to implement. There are limits, and these need to be articulated.

So the current battle is to attempt to preserve our freedoms in the face of the coming, apparent, onslaught that this presidential administration seems to endorse. Often this means opposing the same president we supported for re-election just months ago. So be it.

Freedom, true freedom, is never easy. This is one of the great truths that they don’t teach in today’s government schools. Freedom is, supposedly, just a given; which it isn’t. And it is what we continually fight for today, though not many realize it.

So while the battle against terrorism cannot end, the struggle for freedom cannot be set aside either. To relinquish the latter is to acquiesce to the former. This is the modern challenge that this nation faces, and we must live up to. Or sink if we fail.

To return to Benjamin Franklin’s phrase, “a little liberty” — it is now that we need to reflect upon what these words mean. What is “liberty?” Do you value your “liberty?” Do you really know what that means? What is more precious to you; your security or your liberty?

These are not just academic questions. They are among the most crucial questions we will be facing the next decade or two. And there are no guaranteed answers. We, as a nation, may not choose the right path. At this point, for many when choosing between security, political correctness, environmentalism and liberty — liberty is taking a back seat. Every day it becomes more apparent that this is what some want, but is it what you want?

These are decisions that must be faced, like it or not. The future of this nation depends upon it.

The grand experiment of freedom depends upon it. And it all comes down to you, what do you choose? The weight of the country, and the future, lies upon your shoulders. It is amazing how many died so you could have this choice. The price of liberty.

”’Don Newman, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Hawaii’s first and only free market public policy institute focused on individual freedom and liberty, can be reached at:”’

”’This editorial is intended to provoke thought, discussion and an examination of issues. It does not reflect official policy of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. See the GRIH Web site at:”’

”’ reports the real news, and prints all editorials submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors, as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to”’



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