Freedom has no naturally occurring constituency. Being free carries great burdens of responsibility but the benefits of freedom are widely diffused and difficult to see unless our favorite freedoms are taken away. The cause of freedom is not helped by the arguments most often used by its proponents: “I don’t want to do this myself, but I believe I should have the freedom to do so if I wanted to” or “I don’t need this freedom myself, but I think others should have this freedom”…they are very weak sounding arguments and don’t make for great slogans like “Yes we can!” or “Think of the children”.
By contrast, increased state control naturally finds eager advocates with strong arguments because the costs of more government control are widely dispersed while the benefits are concentrated and concrete (i.e. money). The beneficiaries of government will then immediately bloc together to tenaciously defend the fiefdom conferred upon them by government whenever it’s threatened. Thus freedom is very vulnerable and has few to defend it against the many interested in diminishing the freedom of others so that they themselves might profit by it.
And that is exactly why we need to fight hard to preserve every freedom we’ve got. The government is always trying to expand, and those opposed to freedom usually have very clear self-interests at stake. They will be effortless in their campaigns to take away freedom, and the victims of this campaign will be unorganized and mostly oblivious to what is being done to them. If we do not “fight” now, it is quite likely that we will have to actually, physically fight later. Let’s hope it never comes to that, but it could. Freedoms once taken away are rarely if ever given back voluntarily, and it usually takes a lot of blood, tears, toil, and sweat.
So the next time you hear someone refer to the TEA Party or conservatives/libertarians as “extremists” or “radicals”, remember that there can be no extreme in the conservation of freedom; that being a radical defender of liberty should be a badge of honor, not a slur.