The floor was covered with toys. There must have been hundreds of them. If there were millions it wouldn’t have mattered. Only one toy mattered. It was the toy my oldest son was holding. And it was the toy that my youngest son wanted.
I sat down next to my son, the one that wanted his brother’s toy, and grabbed one of the toys that wasn’t being used. I started to play with it. I made that toy look cool for my baby boy. I told him that this toy was much better and advised him to play with it instead.
He wasn’t buying. He still wanted the toy his older brother was using. Back to square one.
But something was happening while I was trying to convince my youngest to play with another toy. My oldest was watching me. He heard the cool noises that I was making and saw the unbelievable things I could do with that unused toy. And then he spoke up.
“Dad, he can have my toy. I want the one that you’re playing with.”
Problem solved. I didn’t know what I was doing at the moment, but all it took for my firstborn son to give up his prized possession was to make something else look better.
This same principle, on a much larger scale, is at work in our country today. No government had to fire a single shot to take away our right to free speech and our right to privacy. All they had to do was to make something else look better. Sadly, the they in this scenario is our own government. The something else better is safety and security.
None of our rights have been taken away.
We gave them up on our own.
We. Not the liberals. Not the conservatives. We.
Everyone is a libertarian until they want something from the government. Democrats want the government out of the bedroom, unless were talking about paying for abortions. Republicans want, well, Republicans want whatever the Democrats tell them to want. But the problem, one we seem to never learn, is that the government never, ever gives anything away for free. Sometimes you pay for it with money. Most of the time you pay for it with freedom.
The most horrific single act of terrorism in this country happened on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked. But history will show that the terror didn’t stop there. The most horrific continuous act of terrorism in this country began weeks later when the Patriot Act was passed.
We were promised that this would keep us safe. And many people were convinced that it was working. But then there were more attempted attacks. Some of those attacks succeeded. Not on the level of the first one but the damage was still done. Some weren’t even terrorist attacks, just evil men doing what they do.
With each new act of evil there came an appeal from our government. An appeal to hand over our rights in exchange for something better. Safety and security. And we bought in. We allowed militarized police to come into our homes without a search warrant. After all, they have to find the terrorist. We did nothing upon hearing the news that all of our e-mails and phone calls were being monitored by the government. Hey, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry?
So here we are with our new and improved toy we call security.
And no freedom to enjoy it.