What Is The Price Of Liberty?
This text was given as a speech at Missouri State University’s Turning Point USA student group on October 29, 2022.
What is the price of liberty? Many of you might be familiar with the full phrase
“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
That quote adorns the entrance to the national archives in Washington D.C. and has sometimes falsely been attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
But the phrase itself comes from a quote by John Philpott Curran that was popularized later when it was repeated by Frederick Douglass who said that
“The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”
Meaning that liberty will only be protected if we are awake and aware and actively working to maintain it. Or in modern parlance, that we remain based and redpilled.
George Orwell once said that “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
What I have to say to you tonight will definitely fall under that purview. These topics I’ll breach are the kind of harsh truths that could prevent someone from being elected but since I’m already in that boat let’s go forward with the unpleasant truths.
Now when people think of the price of liberty, typically the first thing that comes to mind are our military servicemembers who sacrifice their lives and bodies to defend our freedom overseas. Or if not that then they think of police officers or other civil servants in some form or fashion.
Or perhaps they think of the oath that the Founding Fathers took, “Our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor,” when they took a pact that could have seen them hanged for declaring Independence from Great Britain. “I regret that I have but only life to give for my country,” may come to mind.
But my speech tonight will focus in not on the government officials, the military, or the police. Instead, I will focus in on the price of liberty that’s paid for in the blood of the innocent. The civilian. The price that you, or even your infant children might pay in blood. And once I’m finished I will ask you to consider whether or not you’re ready to pay that price to protect liberty, or if you would prefer the safety promised to you by the proponents of big government.
Drug Addiction as A Price
Because I’m a secular libertarian Republican, and not a social conservative, I believe in the total abolition of all drug laws that punish recreational drug use for consenting adults. Emphasis on the consenting adults. I quite famously was booed at the 2016 presidential convention when I said that I believed there should be laws that protect children from having access to drugs. Anarchist gonna anarchy I guess.
And while I don’t condone recreational drug use, I don’t believe it’s the role of government to tell adults what to put in their bodies to alter their moods or behavior, provided that the drug user doesn’t harm anyone else.
This is not a popular position in my newly adopted Republican Party. In fact, it’s not a popular position with the Democratic party either. For all the talk from the left about my body my choice, they really only mean that when they want to slaughter the unborn out of convenience, but that’s a discussion for another time.
There’s a famous saying from before World War 2 that goes, say what you will about Mussolini, but he kept the trains running on time.
You see, part of the allure of fascism, is that its advocates can bring order and stability to society through centralizing power into the hands of a strong man. Whatever the ills of society are can be fixed by doing away with the chaos of liberty, and embracing the order of central planning and either national or democratic socialism.
In the 1920’s Mussolini needed to convince the people of Italy that fascism was indeed a system that worked to their benefit. Thus was born the myth of fascist efficiency, with the train as its symbol. The word was spread that Mussolini had turned the dilapidated Italian railway system into one that was the envy of all Europe, featuring trains that were both dependable and punctual. In Mussolini’s Italy, all the trains ran on time.
Mussolini may have done many brutal and tyrannical things; he may have destroyed human freedom in Italy; he may have murdered and tortured citizens whose only crime was to oppose Mussolini; but ‘one had to admit’ one thing about the dictator: he ‘made the trains run on time.’
Government’s promises regarding the War on Drugs amount to much the same thing. The ATF might shoot your dog. They might conduct no knock raids and murder you and your girlfriend while you’re asleep in your beds. They might hogtie you and leave you in a police cruiser that’s parked on a train track only to have a train come along and crush you like a recent incident… but at least they’ll stop you from getting high!
Drug and alcohol addictions are evil. But there are greater evils than drug addiction, much greater… Fascism, communism, all forms of socialism: All of these ideologies kill more people every year than any opioid or alcohol beverage. Governments kill more people than drugs, and it isn’t even close.
So, is drug addiction, opioid abuse, fentanyl, meth, and other drugs… is that the price of liberty? And if it is, are we willing to pay that price? Or will we accept the promises of politicians who will save us from drug addictions? They’ll shoot your dog and throw you in jail, but they’ll keep you from becoming a drug addict? They’ll protect your kids with their guns instead of yours.
They’ll keep the trains running on time!
North Korea has some of the lowest numbers of drug addiction in the world. But who would want to live in North Korea? In the Philippines they give the death penalty to drug dealers. Would you prefer to live in the Philippines than here?
Now what about Portugal? Portugal has engaged in a vast experiment with the decriminalization of all drugs, including hard drugs. Do they have drug addiction? Absolutely. Is it lower than, and still falling compared to the rest of the civilized world? Yes it is.
Defending drug users isn’t popular. But as H.L. Mencken once said,
“The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”
School Shootings as a Price
A few days ago a young man in St. Louis took an AR-15 with over 600 rounds of ammunition into a school and killed two people, injuring seven others. Before the bodies were cold, anti gun politicians immediately stood on the corpses and began grandstanding about how the guns were the problem.
Never mind the fact that the shooter left us a statement with his motives. Let’s read them.
‘I don’t have any friends, I don’t have any family, I’ve never had a girlfriend, I’ve never had a social life. I’ve been an isolated loner my entire life.’
It’s almost as if the problems that this murderer had were irrespective of his access to weaponry. Never mind the fact that his parents had alerted the police to him. He was known to the authorities. They even tried to get him help, but to no avail.
On the day of the shooting, there were half a dozen school resource officers who were tasked with protecting the school. None of them were armed. Could more guns have solved this problem? The answer is quite clearly yes. We had a gun problem. There weren’t enough guns there to solve the problem. Apparently now they’re looking at actually arming the school resource officers there. Good idea, but too little too late for the victims of this latest tragedy.
In 2018 when I was running for senate here in Missouri I got into a back and forth with Shannon Watts the founder of Moms Demand action for gun control. Montel Williams also got into it but that’s a story for another day. Many a “you are NOT the father” and “Silvia the Psychic” jokes were had but I digress.
Shannon Watts and I were arguing because I was giving away an AR-15 for my US senate campaign, with the unfortunate timing that the school shooting in Parkland, Florida happened at the same time. Naturally there was a huge outcry and demand that I stop the raffle, and apologize for my insensitivity.
Instead I doubled down.
In a famous exchange, so famous that I sell fridge magnets of it on my online store. Shannon Watts took aim at the NRA and essentially argued they were responsible for the death of children. I responded simply tweeting: “the price of freedom.”
The backlash began: “Children’s gun deaths are the price of freedom?” she oinked.
I retorted affirmatively with a Thomas Jefferson quote where he said that
“timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty.”
Her response was to say that “other democracies understand that the right to own a gun isn’t a suicide pact. The bizarre belief that our children should be sacrificed on the altar of gun manufacturers’ profits is exactly why American moms are kicking the @NRA’s ass.”
And I tweeted a rhetorical question which I answered: “How many children have to die before I surrender my rights? The answer? All of them.
She then proceeded to tag and report me to the FBI, and I closed the conversation by saying “Call the cops I don’t give a fuck.”
Now despite that attempt at brevity. My claim was deadly serious, and is the main thrust of my premise here tonight. The price of liberty.
It’s safe and uncontroversial to suggest that those in service to the government may lay their lives down in service to liberty. Hearts will stir and people will faintly nod and everyone will agree with you and go on about their bland, boring, safe lives.
But isn’t the real price of liberty paid for by those who through possibly no fault of their own suffer the consequences of living in a free world? And if we are to keep our liberty, and not give in to statism and to big government. If we are to keep our guns, our drugs, and our free speech. Doesn’t that mean that there will be more innocent victims and that we must accept that as the price?
Are drug and alcohol addicts a price of liberty? Yes.
Are the victims of school shootings the price of liberty? Yes.
And if that’s the case, When the next incident occurs, and another school is attacked, and whether through typical govt ineptness, or gun free school zones, more bodies are lying cold and politicians stand on top of them demanding you give up your rights… will you still stand for liberty? Or will you shrink in fear when the big govt prostitutes and its useful idiots threaten you with reprisals or cancellation?
Will you be able to watch innocent lives dragged under into the boisterous seas of liberty, and drown there, knowing that human freedom depends on your ability to continue on into the tempest? And face the storm?
Or will you turn to the siren call of big government? Will you remove Odysseus’ honeycombs from your ears and turn and embrace the beautiful lies of safety on the rocks? Will you lay in the arms of whores who say they will protect you and our children if we only give them your money, your medicines, and your guns? Will you turn to their embrace? Or will you turn back and face Jefferson’s storm and accept that freedom truly isn’t free?
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism… to the boisterous seas of liberty.
What will you say when faced with the question of “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
As Dwight Eisenhower once said:
If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.
As for me I’ll choose liberty, and I’ll face the storm and the sea. What will you choose?