- Benjamin Franklin (sometimes Thomas Jefferson) is often quoted as saying:
Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
What is the opposite of "LIBERTY?" The answer is: SLAVERY.
What is the opposite of "SAFETY?" Some might answer: DANGER. But that's not the correct answer in this context. In the context of Ben Franklin and the American Revolution, the opposite of "SAFETY" is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Samuel Adams said the opposite of SAFETY is "the animating contest of freedom." And in certain situations, Sam Adams said the opposite of LIBERTY is WEALTH. Here is the quote from Sam Adams. "Tranquility" is what Franklin described as "temporary safety":
In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war* and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every art of corruption would be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our resistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty, which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms*, is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easier victims to tyranny. If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedomógo from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!
that Adams and the Founding Fathers believed they were engaged in a defensive war against tyranny.
America's Founding Fathers would say that Americans today are slaves. Wealthy slaves, but still slaves. Slaves that enjoy luxury and tranquility, but still slaves.
Sam Adams tossed tea into the Boston Harbor rather than be subjected to a tax of 3 pence per pound. How much tax do you pay on each gallon of gas you buy?
Why do you pay 20 times more in taxes than America's Founding Fathers? Because you think the government guarantees you "the good life." You have your own computer, central air conditioning, a DVD player in your SUV, and you think the government made all of this possible.
Most people think that if you have wealth, you have Liberty. There is an element of truth to this. But it is also one of the most dangerous myths of the century in which we live, as Sam Adams can help us see. We think of slaves as being poor, deprived of all
wealth. Sam Adams will help us see that we now live in the century of wealthy slaves living in luxury.
China = U.S.A.
China is experiencing phenomenal economic growth. Many are becoming wealthy. The poor are becoming middle-class. In a few years, China may be more powerful and wealthier than the U.S.A. In what way would America's Founding Fathers say that secular America with its 60% tax rate is better than Communist China with its flourishing capitalism?
There is no longer any fundamental distinction between the U.S.A. and Communist China. Americans and the Chinese are both slaves in an atheistic dictatorship. The difference is quantity, not quality. The Chinese government may be a bit more enthusiastic about its atheism, and a little bolder in its dictatorship, but from the perspective of Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, and Patrick Henry, America is an atheistic dictatorship, and you are a slave.
Governments want you to believe they can give you wealth
and safety. All you have to do is give up your liberty, and especially "the spirit of liberty," to quote Sam Adams.
But you don't really want "liberty" anyway, because that means personal responsibility. That means risk and uncertainty. Better to be a pampered slave.
What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Sacrificing "the spirit of liberty" and personal responsibility is un-American enough. But the price of "safety," "security," and a government-guarantee is the death of virtue and morality. To obtain a government guarantee of security, you have to give up your moral standards.
You would never use force or threats of violence to compel a customer to shop at your place of business. You would never steal, kill, kidnap, or defraud in order to get your HDTV. But if you're willing to have the government steal, kill, kidnap or defraud others in order for you to enjoy lower gas prices, or secure the trinkets of pop culture, then you are a slave. But the government calls it "security."
you believe it's too "risky" to compete in a Free Market without government protection, subsidies, bailouts, and guarantees, you're a slave.
If you believe a government-guaranteed life is better than the "anarchy" of competition, and if you believe the government is going to guarantee your tranquility, your wealth, and your luxury, then you are a slave.
To paraphrase Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" Speech,
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
Is security so dear, or wealth so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it,
Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
- If you cannot stand competition,
- if you are afraid to compete in "the animating contest of freedom,"
- if you're willing to kill, steal, or in any way initiate force against another human being in order to obtain "tranquillity, wealth, and luxury,"
Part 2: Internal Security and Civil Liberties
Part 3: "National Security"
This statement was used as a motto on the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. (1759) which was attributed to Franklin in the edition of 1812, but in a letter of September 27, 1760 to David Hume, he states that he published this book and denies that he wrote it, other than a few remarks that were credited to the Pennsylvania Assembly, in which he served. The phrase itself was first used in a letter from that Assembly dated November 11, 1755 to the Governor of Pennsylvania. An article on the origins of this statement here includes a scan that indicates the original typography of the 1759 document, which uses an archaic form of "s": "Thoſe who would give up Essential
Liberty to purchaſe a little Temporary Safety, deſerve neither Liberty nor Safety." Researchers now believe that a fellow diplomat by the name of Richard Jackson is the primary author of the book. With the information thus far available the issue of authorship of the statement is not yet definitely resolved, but the evidence indicates it was very likely Franklin, who in the Poor Richard's Almanack of 1738 is known to have written a similar proverb: "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."
Many paraphrased variants
derived from this saying have arisen and have usually been incorrectly attributed to Franklin:
"They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."
"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security."
"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither."
"People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."
"If we restrict liberty to attain security we will lose them both."
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
"He who gives up freedom for safety deserves
"Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither."