You can have freedom or you can have the illusion of security and equality. In a government run by men, you cannot have all three. There has always been a trade-off between humanity’s desire for freedom and the desire for security. If we had true freedom we’d have no government at all; therefore, we’d have no “security” other than what we provided for ourselves. Like author Robert Welch said,
“The real freedom of any individual can always be measured by the amount of responsibility which he must assume for his own welfare and security.”
On the other hand, if the state provided all of our security, only the government would have guns and authority, but we’d have no freedom—being in prison is a good example. Finding a good comprise between pure freedom and pure security can seem difficult.
A similar relationship exists between freedom and what leftists call “equality of result.” When all men are free, those that are smarter and more industrious get rich and those that are dumb and/or lazy become poor. On the other hand, if all men are declared equal by the government, as is done in socialist and communist governments, then all men are equally poor but no men are free. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman once said, “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” In other words, even the dumb and lazy benefit from those that are rich because of the jobs they create.
Will Durant said it another way, “Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, [those on the left believe that] liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom, and in the end superior ability has its way.”
Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Arizona summed these points up in a politically-charged comment like this: “A liberal’s paradise would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and only law enforcement has guns. And believe it or not, such a place does indeed already exist: It’s called Prison.” Dwight D. Eisenhower said it like this: “If you want total security, go to prison.” It’s true that socialism will seem to (at least at first) provide a degree of security and equality, but the cost will be individual freedom.
Our founding fathers believed that freedoms where given by God and could only be secured by a limited government where power belonged to the people, but where the individual was protected from the majority. They knew that pure democracy was a tyranny of its own; where the many could prey on the few. Gary Strand said, “A democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”
Perhaps the best form of government would be one where God was the supreme ruler—there would be perfect freedom, security, and equality. Until then, we’ll have to admit that there is no perfect form of human government, but what our founders conceived in the United States has undoubtedly proved superior to all other governments in the storied history of humanity.
What do you think? Will freedom itself lead to greater prosperity and security for all as Milton Friedman believed? Or should the government provide “equality” and “security” like in Venezuela, China, Cuba, and Soviet Russia? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.