Sunday, September 26, 2010

Defending Freedom

I was inspired a moment ago by a post called 'The Key to Freedom' from the Moose and Squirrel. Briefly, the argument is that the key to freedom is having the tools to defend yourself i.e. guns. The post reinforces a well argued point made by George Jonas, that by enabling citizens to arm themselves they can better protect their freedom than by ensuring that guns are owned by only police and criminals. I'll grant that point.

BUT it takes more than guns to make people free. Frontier or vigilante justice can quickly give way to anarchy. So guns alone can't guarantee freedom. Authentic freedom can only exist in a society where people have value. A place where if everyone had a gun they would only use it to defend themselves or the innocent, where that gun would not be used aggressively.

Anyway this post isn't about guns, it's about freedom. A free society depends valuing individuals enough to respect their inherent freedom. True freedom rests on values. As Carl Anderson writes in A Civilization of Love:
Freedom is not an absolute value. It cannot be lived in isolation, that is, unhinged from other values such as equality and human dignity. In a tyrannical society, the masters are just as much in bondage as their slaves. As a nation, we have put slavery behind us. But what is slavery other than the ultimate institutionalization of the idea that another human being can be regarded as an object to be used, rather than always regarded as a person to be loved. If there is to be freedom in any meaningful sense, it must be rooted in something higher, and that is morality.
Earlier in his book he also notes: We are all familiar with the lines from the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." We frequently forget however, that these lines explicitly say that "all men are created equal" and that "they are endowed by their Creator" with these "unalienable rights." Can our belief in these rights continue to stand without a belief in a God who upholds them or, even more important, whose revelation of love reveals their true meaning?
Quite simply it takes more than guns to defend freedom. Defending freedom requires an understanding that freedom rests on the premise that everyone has value. And the premise that everyone has value by virtue of their humanity comes from our understanding that God created us in His image in order to love and be loved.


Anonymous said...

if we can't defend ourselves we will become slaves to those who have the guns.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! Look at Switzerland for example, everyone there knows how to use a gun and most own one. I'm all for this. People came first then government, government is my creation and I control it, not vice versa. (real conservative)