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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323 Comments:

  1. God Bless America!
    I am writing to all Americans who care about their fate and future generations. The whole world hates you! Your government has a policy of expansion of the world -- Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and others, now Syria. How long will you keep your government?
    I hope that you and another talk show on TV, will transfer the film and see how people live in the countries occupied by your government!
    youtube.com/watch?v=pBkEEe93FE8
    Artem from Ukraine......

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  2. Weak argument is obviously weak.

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  3. It's easy to pick apart a persons argument, but yet you have provided no solution to either of the problems discussed.

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  4. Third times the charm?

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  5. Yes you're right, that's why I don't think it should happen. However, I argue against the promotion of guns as the solution to all problems (armed guards in schools, wtf?) and also against the idea that there is nothing you can do to stop mass shootings, you can, it would just infringe upon liberties to such a degree that it cannot happen.

    Yakuza may deal guns, but they clearly don't use them very well as the whole of Japan has around 10 gun homicides a year.

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  6. "but if we lived n a totalitarian the childs wud still b alive..."

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  7. Dreams from my dad
    who I never even knew,
    for Kenyans are so sad
    I've hoodwinked you.

    Dreams from my dad
    I didn't want to tell you,
    Davis is my real dad
    and he's Communist too.

    Lenin said go FORWARDS,
    the cliff can be had
    and voters want more words.

    Dreams from my dad,
    Air Force One we ride,
    taxpayers are not mad
    and Benghazi? I must lie!

    Dreams from my dad
    biggest fraud in history,
    Hitler seems like my dad
    and I'm still a mystery.

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  8. Dreams from my dad
    who I never even knew,
    for Kenyans are so sad
    I've hoodwinked you.

    Dreams from my dad
    I didn't want to tell you,
    Davis is my real dad
    and he's Communist too.

    Lenin said go FORWARDS,
    the cliff can be had
    and voters want more words.

    Dreams from my dad,
    Air Force One we ride,
    taxpayers are not mad
    and Benghazi? I must lie!

    Dreams from my dad
    biggest fraud in history,
    Hitler seems like my dad
    and I'm still a mystery.

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  9. In Switzerland, men go through compulsory military training and are required to keep their military issued weapon (includes automatic and semi automatic) at their home. They have one of the lowest gun crime rates in the civilized world.

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  10. Ya know what though? There is no point in arguing this, because the Second Amendment protects the peoples rights to bear arms. And, surprisingly enough, there are just two reasons the founding fathers put forth that amendment. The first is to defend yourself from criminal activity, and the second is to defend against tyranny. Regardless of your personal thoughts, those two reasons above are truth.

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  11. You need to check up on your facts, because gun dealing is the second biggest thing the Yakuza do.

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  12. That's weird! I clicked that link on a Stef Molyneux comments page and it led me here. So I just tried it again and this film comes up. Have I found myself in a strange loup?!

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  13. Paul 2016

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  14. "To command nature, you must obey nature."
    You cannot legislate behavior.
    You cannot control the weather
    The shooting at SandyHook and Super Storm Sandy imminent forces of nature.
    We cannot prevent these things from happening we can only prevent or mitigate their damaging consequences.

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  15. True, I think that civilian gun ownership is important to the deterrent of tyrants. A government can't send a SWAT Team to every door, so even owning small firearms for self defense is just that deterrent. Tyrants will always disarm the citizens and control their guns this can be under the guise of safety.

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  16. Firstly, you just did. Why doesn't it? Those children, while being undoubtedly scarred mentally and physically from the experience, can go on to lead happy lives. Dead children cannot.

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  17. That reply doesn't even warrant a response.

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  18. If you can back that up then who am I to disagree. That's why I'm saying it's an all out ban and amnesty or nothing, which I genuinely believe would help and also strongly agree cannot happen for obvious reasons.

    Gun violence may have increased 89% in the UK the numbers are still tiny. Ultimately there were still weapons around after the ban but the numbers are small and it means that the government can easily crack down on the problem if it gets out of control.

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  19. If you think it is acceptable that "greatest" country in the world has the largest incarcerated population and 9000 gun homicides a year then that's fine. At least I'm saying something can be done about it.

    Stop living your life based on fear.

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  20. You need to look up the definition of a troll before you start calling people one because you show far more of the troll characteristics than I ever have.

    I know I'm not going to win the battle because I'm posting it on a very-pro gun forum, I just wanted to make my point. Just because you don't agree with me doesn't mean I'm wrong.

    You haven't given me any evidence to suggest you're more educated than I am or that you've dug deeper about anything in your entire life.

    Learn to argue bro.

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