Ron Paul: Seeking Total Security Leads to a Totalitarian Society

by Ron Paul

The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place.  Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called “assault” rifles and gun-free zones.

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control.  This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned.  Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented.  But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence.  If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.  Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets.  We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

Let’s not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life, and encourage immorality.  The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home.  U.S. drone strikes kill thousands, but nobody in America holds vigils or devotes much news coverage to those victims, many of which are children, albeit, of a different color.

Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?  We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.  This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.  School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

Do we really believe government can provide total security?  Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence?  Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place.  Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.  We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.

Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security.  Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.


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  • police are the only ones dumb enough to shoot into a croud of people

  • I wrote in Ron Paul.

  • Scooter

    Even lefties, whom love organizations such as
    “united nations” organization on drugs and crime
    publish these figure for homicide rates for all the countries of the world.

    The USA is so far down LOW, on the list, that statically speaking, the lanza gun killings simply are not a factor. Your chances of be shark attacked before becoming are victim of an AR-15 at the hands of s crazed lanza type, are considerably larger. Obama know this (the left keeps telling us he is a genius).

    Another lefty ideal: Every rich left winger, has a private swimming pool.
    Oops. Reality check, a swimming pool is approximately 100 times, more likely to take the life of a family member, than having a gun in the home. 100X.

    Lets do one of Albert Einstein’s favorite pastimes. He love thought experiments.
    Lets snap our fingers, and evaporate every “military looking” weapon , in private ownership in the USA.

    What will happen next… just days after that happens. if one just thinks a bit on the subject.

    1) The left whom had told you, that it was ok, to keep your old revolver six shooter, as legally owned, will now want that also. Come on lefties.. This game of gun-grab-by-gov has been going on so many years, that even an 18 year old now days can figure that out.

    2) Crime will rise. and Homicides will rise. What, how can that be? That’s because, this is an uncivil society. This is not 1800 when it was civil. It’s that AR-15 possibly being in a home, that keeps humans, that are of a n evil nature, from busting in. The lady with a 38 revolver (an equalizer device) shows how real that formula works. Than man that broke into that house expected an unarmed woman.

  • What, like policemen who hit NINE bystanders while trying to shoot a criminal? They get more gun training than 99% of gun owners. Imagine if everyone who was walking by at the time owned a gun and decided to be a hero and take a shot at the criminal, there would be complete carnage.

  • there is no gun contro debate: America is governed by the Constitution; the right to bear arms/own guns is protected by the 2nd amendment; this right was not given so people could go hunting or enjoy sports, the right to bear arms was put into place to protect American citizens from a government that is out of control!

  • Wrong: criminals get their guns off the streets, illegally, banning guns will not change this for criminals; and before you say well they get them by stealing…think about the corruption within our gov. and police stations, “fast and furious” as one example-if criminals want guns they will get them! If the criminal shoots first he better be a good shot; most criminals miss and hit bystanders while gun owners practice using a gun and are a good shot, the criminal shoots first-blow them away

  • who ever said we want people to be forced to own a gun? if people are against owning guns for themselfs i can totally respect that, but i do not want people like you saying because you don’t want to be protected, i shouldn’t have the choice to protect myself. realize that dictatorships try to ban guns and control their public. what do you think is going to happen in the next 50 years… nothing good i can assure you of that.

  • If O-Abomination wants to stop me from writing and I shove a pencil in his eye. He would blame the pencil. Why do these idiots not ban Cigarettes, and they supply drugs to our youth, Me being a witness to that atrocity in our society since I was a test subject for them back in the 70s-80s. Why have they not blamed all the chemicals that were pumped into the air in Utah and it’s chemical burning plants, now causing massive cases of cancers and rotting bones. Let’s turn to the real problems here.

  • Thats exactly what I was getting at, no one is being forced to. The only thing I advocate is that the option to defend oneself is there.

  • I didnt vote for Paul but i did vote Libertarian.

  • The Choice comes down to this. Do we want to be “SAFE”, or do we want to be FREE! It is said that under the rule of Kenghis Khan that a naked virgin laden with gold could travel unmolested the entire lengh of the silk road. The terror of the Khan’s mongol horde created “safety” in his empire.
    I have heard US Senators say that the primary purpose of our government is the safety of the people. No It Is Not, The Primary Purpose of Goverrnment is to Protect and Preserve the Rights of the People.

  • Fine, what about those who don’t want to own a gun? Who have children or have moral objections or whatever. I’d hate to live in a society where everyone was armed with a gun. How many drunken fights would turn into fatal shootings if everyone was strapped up? It would be a society based on fear of criminals. Rather than positive action to stop it.

    Just because YOU feel like you should own a gun doesn’t mean everyone should be forced to.

  • He could miss. A hell of a lot more good than not having one that’s for sure. The attitude of “if a criminal wants to get me I can’t really do anything” is just not one I share. If you don’t want to have a gun don’t own one. But “tis better to have and not need than need and not have.”

  • I guarantee you that gun control gave less access to guns for criminals. Not zero access, but less. What good is having a gun if the criminal shoots first anyway?

  • Fine, but you’d agree there’d be less mass shootings without the things that shoot, and that having things that shoot facilitates mass murder more than, for example, knives?

  • No, and I never said it was. It’s more than one issue that dictates crime rates.

  • ameritatas

    Correlation does not imply causation…you cannot assume that because Maryland has greater gun laws it means they have more gun violence…research the other 20 factors that could be involved before assuming something just because it defends your theory…

  • Government is the leading cause of un natural death and they are calling us killers??

  • What kind of country do we live in when only the bad guy wins?It is no measure of health to be considered well adjusted in a over all sick society.If we as Americans don’t ever figure out that only corrupt and evil men are elected now in this nation then we are headed for a dark end.Men like Ron Paul are our only hope for a clean and bright future.