Ron Paul: Seeking Total Security Leads to an Orwellian Surveillance State

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Top Tier Gear USA

by Ron Paul

The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place. Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called “assault” rifles and gun-free zones.

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control. This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned. Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented. But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence. If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence. Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets. We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

Let’s not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life, and encourage immorality. The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home. U.S. drone strikes kill thousands, but nobody in America holds vigils or devotes much news coverage to those victims, many of which are children, albeit, of a different color. 

Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.

We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety. Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.

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  • 9 mm

    and to think the American people COULD have had this man as president, instead of the @$$ that is playing golf in Hawaii as our country crumbles.

  • ManCavePatriot

    MEGA DITTO’S. 9MM!!! Shame on us for allowing this corrupt system to corner us into an unwanted choice. The only TRUE course of action is to fall on our knees, beg forgiveness, and ask for LEADERSHIP. [2 Chron. 7:14]

  • Mark

    Again our Politicians have fallen into their hypocritical state of mind. Like usual, the liberals want to blame the guns instead of blaming evil and the dysfunctional system that they created to deal with evil. They wish to rewrite the 2nd amendment because of the shooting at the Sandy Hook School. This is sad and tragic where 20 six and seven year old students have been killed along with six adults. I’m wondering… How come abortions (murder) done by the thousands daily doesn’t raise concern from these people in the same way this shooting has. This is all about the disarming of America and NOT about the loss of life…
    How many times in the history of the world have we already seen governments kill thousands and even millions of its own people because the government became tyrannical and had all the weapons? That is the real reason that the Second Amendment to our Constitution was written and passed by our founders.
    The people who take the oath to uphold our Constitution should be the very ones to enforce it. Once the oath to uphold the Constitution means nothing to those that swear by God to uphold it, the nation the founders set up is already lost. Obviously then, those swearing the oath to God, but not meaning it, is a moral failing. That moral failing in a nut shell, is pretty much why we already have lost the nation that our founders set up.
    The 2012 election makes it clear to me that the majority of Americans have already been brainwashed by media and the “educational” system to accept fascist tyranny and socialism. The ruling Far Left will now try to force their Marxist globalist ways on all traditional Americans that abhor their godless communistic and fascist socialism. America is now doomed to experience accelerating division, economic collapse, tyranny and self-destruction.
    America is now a people with two distinct incompatible ideologies. Some say that Obama will bring judgment on America. Sure, but what they fail to see is that Obama and the Far Left are the prime tools being used to bring that judgment on America.
    When the majority in America voted the second time for this Communist who pushes abortion, homosexuality, government sponsored stealing, Islam, abuses of power and general Anti Christian policies, America showed that it deserves the judgments that Obama will bring on them.
    If you do not think America is already under judgment, you have not been paying attention. Living standards are falling and America is becoming increasingly divided under Obama. Much of the nation is falling apart and is becoming increasingly immoral. The American dream has been replaced with a socialist statist substitute that will continue to bring spiritual, economic and military decline.
    If the 2nd amendment is lost then we will progress from here into a Police state. I am embarrassed by our leaders and the lack of moral and Christian standards they hold.