In response to questions regarding the security issues that arose after Joseph Stark crashed his plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas Governor Rick Perry made the following statement:
It is always a battle between anarchy and tyranny. Always has been.
I’d like to use this post to explore that statement a little.
Those who advocate the need for a strong government like to point to the threats posed by those who would abuse the power of their position, the criminals who would steal us blind, and the hoards of whack-jobs out there, as proof of how helpless we would be without a powerful and benevolent “big brother” looking out for us.
Those who advocate the need for a more “limited” government like to point to the rampant abuse of power, by the very people charged with looking out for our best interests, as the “true” threat to our liberties.
But which side is right? One thing that is absolutely clear is that this is not a new issue. When I was doing my research for this post, I came across the following statement made by a commenter on a bulletin board where the incident was being discussed:
There are two kinds of people in this world: People who just want to be left alone, and People who won’t leave them alone.
I can’t begin to recount the number of variations on this theme that I’ve heard over the course of my lifetime, and it’s the pervasiveness of this theme that testifies to it’s significance in our lives. In my opinion, it is how we have chosen to deal with the issue that is the real problem:
In response to all the “fear mongering” that we’ve been inundated with, the majority of us simply cave in to the fantasy that we can all go merrily on with our lives once we grant enough power to someone else to protect our interests in our absence.
There’s a kind of absurdly inevitable escalation that follows from such an abdication of power over the affairs of our lives, which I think is beautifully illustrated in this simple children’s rhyme:
If you replace the intial verse from this rhyme with “I’m too afraid (or too lazy, or too stupid, etc.) to be responsible for my own security (or family, or investments, etc.),” then it becomes much easier to see just how we’ve managed to “stumble” into the genuine “nightmare scenario” that our lives have become. Honestly, is this how you want to live?
I want ice water.