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. You don't understand what my argument is, that is why you fail. The whole point of me saying that is an implication that I think there are issues about liberties that need to be addressed, not that there aren't. I was focusing on that specific point of Ron's argument that I don't agree with.

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  2. You don't understand what my argument is, that is why you fail. The whole point of me saying that is an implication that I think there are issues about liberties that need to be addressed, not that there aren't. I was focusing on that specific point of Ron's argument that I don't agree with.

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  3. It's "statistician", not "Statist" and unless you plan on verifying each of the pieces of data we both dish out, don't make blanket statements discrediting my argument against yours, at least I can point out the specific flaws in yours.

    I wasn't trolling Ron Paul (I'm a huge fan), I was just stating how I cannot agree with him on this issue. Are you asking me to stop using my right to free speech as stated in the first amendment? A more heinous crime than infringing on the second amendment, no?

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  4. It's "statistician", not "Statist" and unless you plan on verifying each of the pieces of data we both dish out, don't make blanket statements discrediting my argument against yours, at least I can point out the specific flaws in yours.

    I wasn't trolling Ron Paul (I'm a huge fan), I was just stating how I cannot agree with him on this issue. Are you asking me to stop using my right to free speech as stated in the first amendment? A more heinous crime than infringing on the second amendment, no?

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  5. No, it isn't, not like Switzerland. Oh and good job on the nice bit of racism thrown in there; if in doubt, make generalisations!

    Don't use your own ignorance of the world as a counter argument.

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  6. No, it isn't, not like Switzerland. Oh and good job on the nice bit of racism thrown in there; if in doubt, make generalisations!

    Don't use your own ignorance of the world as a counter argument.

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  7. No, you can only find cooked numbers like any unthinking Statist. Why don't you get a better job than trolling Ron Paul videos for your master? You're too obvious.

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  8. No, you can only find cooked numbers like any unthinking Statist. Why don't you get a better job than trolling Ron Paul videos for your master? You're too obvious.

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  9. The US isn't a developed country? LOL

    There are other factors as far as Japan is concerned. Let's not forget they're into squid porn and snuff films.

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  10. The US isn't a developed country? LOL

    There are other factors as far as Japan is concerned. Let's not forget they're into squid porn and snuff films.

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  11. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - I could go and find just as many, if not more stats to prove that more guns = more gun crime but I don't want to get into a stat war because they are tedious.

    If you look back to my original comment I said how the fact that criminals don't obey laws is the reason why soft gun laws won't work and why you have to go all out if you want to actually make a difference. Criminals don't obey laws in other countries, but there aren't 200 million guns there.

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  12. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - I could go and find just as many, if not more stats to prove that more guns = more gun crime but I don't want to get into a stat war because they are tedious.

    If you look back to my original comment I said how the fact that criminals don't obey laws is the reason why soft gun laws won't work and why you have to go all out if you want to actually make a difference. Criminals don't obey laws in other countries, but there aren't 200 million guns there.

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  13. That's what I'm saying, the US has fewer guns per capita than Switzerland and far higher gun crime and much more guns than the UK and far higher gun crime. Which is correct? A warning about using Switzerland as an example, it's a highly cohesive and highly developed society with very little crime, period. It also has conscription which means that EVERYONE with a gun knows how to use it properly. It is the exception, not the rule. I could just as easily point out Japan as No guns=No gun crime.

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  14. All of it. People kill people... you don't want to accept that. Criminals don't obey laws, therefore they will not obey gun laws. There were already gun laws in place in this instance. Didn't help. Same with the CO shooting. More guns equal less crime, and there are many stats to prove it.

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  15. Wow what an insightful and thought-provoking comment. Care to explain the derp in my comment?

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  16. What a retarded comment. Try thinking before you derp, genius.

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  17. Ok, go to a school and try killing 26 people with your fists. Stupid argument.

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  18. Did you even watch the video? Don't be a Libtard.

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  19. good points as usual

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  20. Say what?

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