Land Of The Free
Years, yea, decades ago, I had a “Social Studies” teacher (I put “Social Studies” in scare quotes intentionally) who left an impression. J.T. is no longer with us, having died relatively young. And that’s a pity. Although a lifelong democrat, liberal and supporter of teachers unions, I suspect that despite our diametrically opposed viewpoints that we would have had great respect for each other and our positions. Let’s say he was a liberal in a classic sense, which is indistinguishable from mainstream conservatism today.
He recognized me as having a conservative bent even as far back as 1970, when I was busy figuring out how to radicalize my fellow high school students and resist the draft. I never succeeded, btw.
I bring this up because he first introduced me to a pearl of wisdom that I have never forgotten. We’re always ready to trade our freedom for a feeling of safety. Of course we are. People don’t (or shouldn’t) mind that when they buckle a seat belt. And people reflexively support curbs and outright bans on cigarette smoking in public (and sometimes in private) places. But is there a point at which we stay “stop” to this?
Homeland Security has instituted a requirement that private aircraft operators seek government permission each time we propose to take off if we are planning to depart for Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. We must provide advance detailed information about where, when, and who, including the names, social security numbers, addresses, etc., of all persons who will be in the aircraft. The justification for this, they say, is that we, our spouses, family or friends might be on their mysterious and top secret “No Fly List.” The most significant aspect of this is that Homeland Security has indicated that this is a preliminary step toward their ultimate objective of requiring this data submission prior to EVERY aircraft takeoff in America, regardless of destination. Keep this in mind as we continue.
It is important to understand that this requirement breaks entirely new ground. While ENTERING any country requires formalities, never, ever, has it been necessary to seek and receive government permission to LEAVE America, the “land of the free,” much less to travel within its borders. And never, ever, has it been proposed that such permission is somehow necessary to preserve “national security.” This is a requirement only previously seen in Iron Curtain dictatorships.
It’s only one data-point. Add it to the complaints that gun owners have had for years, that smokers have had for decades, and that businesses have had forever. The question is legitimate – Are we regulating ourselves out of our God-given rights? Have we already? I know the mechanism by which this is done – it’s done one baby step at a time. What I don’t know, is why.