Monday, December 5, 2011

Frederick Douglas on Security of Any Kind in Exchange for Liberty

Frederick Douglas, in his autobiography, explains it all in one short sentence concerning why the gaining of material security, or any form of security for that matter, at the expense of the liberty of the individual is not only the definition of slavery, but is also morally wrong and a violation of the laws of nature and nature's Creator:

"My feelings were not the result of any marked cruelty in the treatment I received; they sprang from the consideration of my being a slave at all. It was slavery, not its mere incidents I hated. I had been cheated. I saw through the attempt to keep me in ignorance. I saw that slaveholders would have gladly made me believe that they were merely acting under the authority of God in making a slave of me and in making slaves of others, and I felt to them as to robbers and deceivers. The feeding and clothing me well could not atone for taking my liberty from me."


This concept applies to all kinds of slavery, political and chattel, be the master a man and the slave another man, or the master the government and the slaves the people of the nation over which this government reigns supreme. And this quote also applies to all forms of security, including physical security, like that proposed by the TSA or the indefinite detainment provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, all in exchange for our liberty and constitutional rights.

The maxim generally credited to Benjamin Franklin is true, I believe, that "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." 

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