Is Freedom More Important than Safety?

The best part of any leftist political rally is the signs, and there were quite a few at the March For Our Lives gun control rally last Saturday.

Many blamed the wrong people.

Many were ridiculous.

Many were ignorant of the law.

Some were even more honest than most on the left would have liked.

I wish Obama had taken your guns

But one sign asked a deeper question that deserves a thorough response.

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I think this protestor clearly believes that freedom is not more important than safety. What’s more, she probably believes that should be obvious to everyone.

She is wrong. My, oh my, is she ever wrong.

Freedom is everything. That’s the ballgame.

Subjects ask for safety. Citizens demand freedom.

The foundational belief that freedom is more important than safety is the entire reason we have a country. The history of America is a search for freedom. Colonists risked a treacherous sea voyage to found new settlements in unknown lands to achieve freedoms they could not get in Europe. When the Founding Fathers led the American Revolution, they risked their safety to preserve their God-given liberty. Hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to end the abomination of slavery. A century later, tens of thousands of brave Americans put their safety at risk to march with Martin Luther King Jr., because freedom was more important.

This is not to say that whether or not we can own a specific rifle is akin to Jim Crow, but rather to point out that the yearning for freedom is an integral part of the American people, and in our most noble tradition, we have frequently risked our lives to preserve and expand it. By phrasing her question the way she did, this protester is raising a hugely significant issue. Who are we as a people? With one speaker at the DC rally promising that if we give them an inch they will take a mile, where do we draw the line at the freedom we will surrender?

Our freedoms must be guarded jealously, because once they are gone, they are gone for good.

This is a principle long understood in America. When weighing freedom and safety, Americans often turn to a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

I’m rather partial to Samuel Adams: “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom – go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”