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.


  • I think he wouldn’t have a problem if the security was private.

  • We still listen to Ron Paul. How come republicans aren’t rallying behind their savior Romney anymore? Typical political theater. Liberals will never understand Obama = bush/romney

  • False! People shoot guns and bullets kill people! People are innocent!!!! lol

  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family Dr. Paul.

  • I’m insulted. Many people are speaking truth; he’s one of the few in congress who do, respect to other congresspersons like Dennis Kucinich.

  • Righteous.

  • I agree with Dr. Paul. Whoever does not may wish to go to there Orwellian home living under the constant supervision of Newspeak and worry about there own thoughtcrime. The idea of living under the manner which my national government seems to be going is that 1984 the book is becoming a reality. Once again the more freedom one turns loose from and gives the government more control of our lives the closer we become to being slaves.

  • Thanks for the stats!

  • Sign whitehouse petition to Deport Piers Morgan for subversion. It has 67000 signatures now.

  • To support your comment, statistics read that DUI and traffic related incidents kill way more people then gun violence every year. And also 1/3 or all homicides are done with melee type weapons and legs and fists. While 2/3 are preferred 2 use a gun as a weapon of choice. Irrational thinking rules the liberal left. And logically they r saying that they rather have there children’s throats slashed or beaten 2 death with fists or a baseball bat. If I was a victim, rather have 1 bullet in the head.

  • there is nothing stupid about a write-in candidacy don’t be ridiculous. If anything it shows commitment

  • you really think would have worked? It’s one thing to be stalwart it’s another thing to be stupid

  • You’ve lost me for good Dr. Ron when you failed to register for the write-in vote I now believe you never had the heart to fight for the position of President. You will never fool me again nor will I get my hopes up with you or your son.

  • People kill people… not guns

  • “Issues about liberties aside…”

    That is why you fail.

  • 100% truth and logical

  • Thank you for your effort Mr. Paul.

  • That IS the question, now isn’t it? It’s called cheating. Look up 2012 blocking ron paul. It will sicken you.

  • That IS the question, now isn’t it? It’s called cheating. Look up 2012 blocking ron paul. It will sicken you.

  • Can someone please tell me and if its possible, how can i store long term food which I have in buckets packed in mylar ( with oxygen Observer) underground in my backyard? Can I just build a wooden box, waterproof it and dig a hole and bury it? Do I need to vent it? Can you put it in a root cellar? I have no basements and a lot of humidity in NY. Can I just bury the buckets 2 feet below the ground?
    Thank you in advance