Why Can’t Freedom be Free?

If you kept a lot of gold coins and cash in your house, would you rest easy at night without a big, heavy safe or a robust alarm system?

For the same reason people need to protect their wealth from thieves, freedom can’t be free. A free society creates wealth. The wealth attracts thieves. The thieves will steal everything they can unless we put forth the effort to stop them.

It’s true that only a very small percentage of the population engages in theft. But it only takes one thief to run off with everything in your garage overnight.  We can trust most people, but we must be on our guard against the few who make their living through thievery.

The prosperity of the American republic is an irresistible target for thieves of another sort. Instead of skulking about in your driveway after dark, they have corner offices in skyscrapers and banks. They travel in private jets and concoct elaborate schemes to defraud millions of people at a time.

Like any burglar, they try to keep us from noticing when they have their hands in our pockets. They use lies and dishonesty to keep us distracted. Sophisticated criminals use government agencies and the media to spread big lies that scare us into complying with the scam of the day. The author Michael Crichton was ahead of his time when he blew the whistle in State of Fear. Not many novels have a 66-page bibliography! The book is just as revealing today as when it was published in 2004.

Some lies are intended to obscure the facts through misleading names. Did the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) turn out to be affordable? Is the federal land grab in Utah really about “protecting antiquities”?

Out of our sight, in little publicized committee hearings and votes by video, legislators pass laws and allow regulations that steal our public lands and our private resources. It’s been going on for a long time. A favorite old bumper sticker reads,

One year in Congress, one year in jail. They’ll know why.

This diagram of two pyramids illustrates why our freedom requires us to take action to safeguard it. One pyramid is gray and points downward, showing that the thieves lie to us to create fear and then use that fear to control us. We become impoverished, while they enrich themselves on the fruits of our labor. The other pyramid has bright colors and points upward, illustrating how freedom generates prosperity through increasing access to information along with transparency and trust in business dealings. The creativity of a free society generates a treasure of wealth that is, you guessed it, irresistible to thieves.

We can interfere with this dynamic by not falling for the lies that kick off the whole process. Use critical thinking, ask questions, and “be not afraid.” That’s the best way to keep our valuable life, liberty, and property out of the hands of thieves.

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