The Price of Freedom
by Jerry Gilio
October 16, 2006

People love to throw around patriotic cliches but they seem reluctant to accept the reality of the words. I wonder how often some people have considered the meaning of the phrase "the price of freedom".

On September 11, 2001 the price of freedom was 2,973 lives. The tragedy of that day could easily have been avoided in a controlled society. But a police state that monitors every move within its borders for possible criminal intent wouldn't be America.

Americans' freedom restricts the government's ability to protect them. The "probable cause" requirement of the Constitution is one of the greatest obstacles to law enforcement ever imposed on a society. But does that make it wrong? To the contrary, I think it makes it great. It's a living testament to the fact that in America the power resides with the people, not the state.

One of the difficulties in a free society is that criminal acts are easier to commit. Look at the current chaos in Iraq. A dictatorial barbarian like Saddam Hussein had the population relatively under control. All the various sects were equally crushed under his oppressive boot. But do we hold his methods in high esteem or view them with contempt?

The question I wish more Americans would ask themselves is, if the price of freedom is that some of us may die from time to time at the hands of madmen who are only able to carry out their homicidal plans because of the freedom we enjoy, should we accept our losses or eliminate the freedom? Because, thanks to the freedom that we hold so dear, we will probably never be able to stop all of them all of the time.

For my part, I'd prefer to risk dying as a free man than to live a carefully monitored, government-approved life. But I also strongly believe that these are not our only choices. For over 200 years our government has proven that it's capable of protecting its citizens while respecting the limitations imposed on its power by their freedom. I trust it can continue to do so, keeping us both safe and free. Anything else is un-American.

Copyright © 2006