Civil Liberties… rights… freedom… what is it? Can it be measured? How is freedom quantified?
Have you ever heard or even caught yourself saying, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it?” Most of us have heard this or something very similar. And yet, I’m amazed at what little understanding folks have of the principles behind that statement. Can anyone really measure freedom? Well, I’ll take a stab at it by borrowing some ideas gleaned from “The 5000 Year Leap”, by Cleon Skousen (and currently a text book used at Heritage High School in Mesa).
Can we agree that “The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things”? Now read that again. With the way things are heading lately, this foundational principle to the American form of government is fading fast.
Next concept. Life + Liberty = Property. Put another way: Time + Choices = Property. Thomas Jefferson defined “Property” as that which one pursues for their happiness. Flipping the equation around demonstrates how we and others value our lives and freedom of choice when we consider: Property = Choices + Time. Or rather, what one has acquired as property is a direct reflection on how much they value their own life and liberty. When we think of property, we generally are concerned with tangible, personal property. Yet, property is so much more. Is it not your relationships with others, your education, thoughts, feelings, and all that is intangible also, yet yours? For if not yours, whose?
Last concept, “Life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure”. Really? Hmm… Let’s consider the following.
A parcel of real estate (property) is currently zoned, sufficiently sized, and meets all the legal criteria to host a Mental Health facility here in Gilbert. But what really has people all riled up is the fact that this facility will cater to none other than… the mentally ill. Folks conjure up all sorts of imagined issues, add to the mix that there’ll be a school within close proximity, and an elementary school at that, and you now have frantic folks focused on getting rid of this imagined danger that awaits those innocent children. Yet never giving a moment’s thought to the possiblity that the mentally ill is already sitting in the school parking lot driving their own children to and from. Where does one’s civil liberties of “personal safety” over-shadow another’s right to develop real estate and build a facility intended to improve quality of life and improve safety in the community? Where is all the talk of tolerance and building “community”? Nobody likes the idea of “mentally ill” folks concentrating to a facility near a school, or near their home, or in their community. Why can’t this place be somewhere else? But if not here… then where? If this owner has no rights to his own property… then where is freedom?
Perhaps the very barometer of freedom is the very degree to which property rights are secure. The ability and degree to which which one can buy, sell, dispose of, and develop or use one’s property is the very essence of freedom. I’m shocked and amazed at the number of “freedom loving” individuals who preach about civil liberties and wear “Don’t Tread on Me” t-shirts, but then turn around and petition their town council and school boards to “flex their authority” and do something about that aweful Mental Health facility. What??? Did I get that right? You mean you’re angry about the draconian regulations, the ridiculous and costly hoops you have to jump through when you want to develop your property, but when it comes to someone else developing theirs… Let’s get Big Government to shut them down…
Calling All American Patriots and freedom loving people everywhere… Please check yourselves.
I welcome your comments…