Benjamin Franklin, in 1755, said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Recent events have proven Franklin’s insights correct. We are groped and molested in airport security lines and yet we’re still bombing foreign lands in the name of “safety,” killing hundreds of civilians, such as recently in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and in countries such as Yemen. We feel unsafe, in spite of giving up our personal freedom from bodily search and material seizure of our personal property by the TSA. Sadder yet, the innocent bystanders of the oil-laden Middle East are still at liberty to be killed indiscriminately by American drone bombing.
Franklin wrote several years earlier in his Poor Richard’s Almanac (1738): “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.” This we’ve experienced recently in Congress passing a bill that allows the selling of our internet browser histories to private corporations–and our own security agencies–without our express consent. While many fear being deluged with more annoying pop-up ads, the implications here are much more sinister. Just as another breaking story recently confirmed, that our Smart TV and other devices with built in cameras and/or microphones are able to spy on us without us knowing it, by having free access to our internet history, governments and corporations are able to spy on our internet habits and use that information against us if they so wish.
The “virtue” of our elected officials has been sold to the highest bidder. A look at recent “donations” to Republican Congress members shows how much telecommunications giant Comcast was willing to pay to have this legislation enacted. By selling one of our essential freedoms, our right to privacy, these elected officials have become wealthier and Comcast and other corporations much more powerful.
What’s to prevent your employer for purchasing your internet history and discovering a secret you wish to keep hidden? For instance, you could suffer from a rare genetic disorder and frequently read articles about it online and belong to online forums to discuss with other sufferers how to live with the disorder. Your employer can now buy your internet browser history and use this damning information against you to make you do things you’d rather not do or simply to fire you (easily done in “right to hire” states). What’s to prevent a government agency from blackmailing you into performing a service for them you find personally distasteful or amoral because they’ve found something embarrassing on your computer? Nothing at all would stop these abuses of power under this legislation.
Franklin’s words echo across the ages: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” We have neither freedom nor security in America today and our bought-off representatives want to deprive us of what little liberty or safety we have left. Why do we the people allow travesties like this to continue? It’s time to overturn the Citizens United ruling and take big money out of politics. At the very least, it will make it difficult for billionaires and corporations to buy our elected officials’ “virtue” and should prevent them from trying to take more of our freedoms away in an attempt to amass greater power.
If you don’t think billionaires and corporations wish to use their great wealth to amass even more power by purchasing our elected officials’ “virtue,” then why are we watching our civil liberties being whittled away? Why are some elitists hell-bent on outlawing gay marriage and preventing transgender individuals from using the bathroom in public places? Why does money from the Industrial Military Complex (which includes Big Oil) bribe our politicians to militarize our local police forces in order to kill innocent African Americans and use pepper spray against peaceful people praying beside their sacred water at Standing Rock? Don’t be so naïve in thinking those in authority have your best interests in mind. The only interests they have in mind are their wallets and forcing their personal prejudices upon the public.
It’s time to act as Benjamin Franklin and other like-minded supporters of liberty did in 1776. We remove these thieving aristocrats from office through the ballot box or by other means, if necessary. The Political Revolution is one of the heart and soul, but all able-bodied patriots should be ready to take it to the streets. Franklin’s contemporary Patrick Henry said it well: “Give me liberty or give me death!” It’s time for our corrupt system of government to die, so a truly free one can blossom.
Bio: Cindy A. Matthews is a freelance writer, novelist and editor of Our Revolution Continues blog: http://bernie2016.blogspot.com.