A Fox News poll recently revealed that a majority of respondents have a greater fear of the government abuse of their liberties than of terrorism.
I know: it’s just a poll conducted by the eeeeviilll Fox News. But it provides a tiny measure of hope.
Only a tiny measure, though. The question is framed to solicit a response to the government abuse of liberty in conjunction with its approach to dealing with terrorist threats. There’s already a substantial move underway by the national government to undermine our freedoms, and the rule of law, on numerous other fronts, as well: health care, second amendment rights, economic regulation, civil rights enforcement, and on and on. I don’t know to what extent the increasing domestic use of drones, plus the images of a city being shut down, its streets patrolled by armored personnel carriers brimming with SWAT teams, led to a collective gasp and some sober second thoughts about security and its tradeoffs; I think these images were not insignificant in stimulating a national conversation on the subject of how much security is too much. I worry, however, about those other fronts. Will we have to see – and experience for ourselves – the shutting down of hospitals and a severe, life-threatening decline in the availability and quality of medical care before we decide to seriously reactivate the debate on ObamaCare? Will we have to stand by and watch as policemen carry our firearms out of our homes before we finally see the danger of a national gun registry? Will we have to substantially alter, or cancel, our retirement plans because we ignored the evidence that the government has been criminally profligate for decades and that, as a result, our reward for a lifetime of hard work is national bankruptcy and a worthless currency?
I can’t say that I know the answers to those questions, but I confess that my stomach churns a bit when I contemplate the likelihood that far too few people know enough to be aware of the significance of the issues at all.