Are We Sacrificing Liberty & Freedom for the Illusion of Safety?

Are We Sacrificing Liberty & Freedom for the Illusion of Safety? August 5, 2022

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

During a time of chaos, civil citizens will beg for authoritarian control to restore order. We must question; however, which entity is responsible for the deployment of the catalysts of chaos, in the first place. And secondly, we must remember, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who are willing to sacrifice essential liberty for temporary security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Two thousand years ago, people were waiting for a Savior to restore order and establish true justice and order. Jesus was said to be that Savior, the Messiah that would end the oppression and enslavement of many a people. He was to come full of might and power, similarly to Thanos perhaps, and shake his mighty Messianic fist at the system and destroy the tyranny of the land. Maybe snap his fingers and every enemy blows away in the dust? Yet, he chose instead, to wield a sword of Truth and Love and forgave those who trespassed against him. Even asking God to forgive those that crucified him.

The citizenry is always crying out for a hero or a savior (or a leader) to end the chaos and produce order. Or they themselves act as a hero or savior and lead a charge to gain control and restore order. The funny thing about order is that it doesn’t exist unless and until it follows chaos. Why are we scared of chaos and why do we believe that order is the best outcome? Why also, do we not learn from our history? Every time we cry out for a leader, or a King, we—we of humanity—realize what it costs us. Every time we scream for control and order, we lose liberty, we lose freedom, and we surrender free will for the false comfort of safety and security.

Safety is an Illusion

Do you realize that security and safety are merely illusions? No one on this planet can guarantee your protection from all harm, pain, and threats to safety. No one. But it’s so dumbfounding to see how many people raise picket signs, record videos, write blogs, introduce bills, demand that somebody provide just that, and more, for literally every single solitary person on the planet. People are asking for the prevention of things happening and death. Death is the only certainty of life. I thought everybody knew that. And things happen in life. Uncontrollable events inject themselves into our existence and penetrate us with pain, traumatic memories, and challenging healing processes. We really are not safe and secure.

Consider how we don’t have safety and security from our very own thoughts. We create mental monologues that accuse, criticize, degrade, and judge ourselves. I am the accuser of myself. I am the biggest critic to myself. I degrade myself. I judge myself, far more harshly than I ever judge others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged…”          (Matthew 7:1-2) There is truth to this, is there not? More often than not, our own mind plays tricks on us. Our own minds can lie to us. I cannot protect myself from my own thoughts when I am facing challenging or difficult situations. It’s a perplexing confrontation with truth, isn’t it?

We Cannot Control External Reality

This is a truth we often deny when faced with our inability to control the external reality. Despite our struggle with mental protection, we, as a citizenry, will demand that some external force gain control and restore order over an entire population. Why are we always searching for an external entity to provide us with safety and security when we cannot provide that for ourselves in challenging and difficult times? Why do we expect so much of others and so little of ourselves?

Those who confront us with the realities of our own inability activate us. Deep within, we may feel overwhelmed, or maybe we feel called out. The reality of our inability to control externality slaps us in the face. And rather than turning the other cheek, in our overwhelm, we demand that someone else just does something, now, so I don’t have to feel this way anymore. Our activation demands that someone else takes action— authoritarian action— that ends up not only punishing the enemy, but punishes my neighbor, and me, too.

Parents & Protection

I know I get overwhelmed just thinking about how little I can protect my children when they leave my home. I cannot even protect my son from falling off his bike while riding between two parents. I watched him dive, chin first, toppling onto his handlebars and slamming the pavement. He instantly cried. Blood was dripping from his chin, both of his legs were skinned and bloody, and his forearms scrapped, limping against me as I lifted him from the ground and sat him on the sidewalk. He ceased crying as I held him. I was almost crying. I told my husband to go get the truck. But my son shook it off and got back on his bike and rode home. I couldn’t believe how he had fallen so hard and just got right back up. I immediately blamed myself… started thinking about how I should have been able to prevent that. I caught myself and breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly and just looked up and said, “I know, God, I can’t.”

The only way I could have prevented my son from falling was to prevent him from riding a bike at all. But he could fall in the yard. So, then I’d have to prevent him from playing in the yard. He could fall in the pool. Now I must prevent him from playing outside. He could fall down the stairs. Now I must prevent him from using stairs. Slowly, I would have to take away all his freedom. By keeping him safe, he must lose his freedom to explore, climb, jump, run, and take risks. Why would I do that to my son?

When I think about it, honestly, it is silly to expect 100% security and safety in our lives. Kids fall off bikes and scrape themselves up. I flew into a windshield at the age of 12. My 20-year-old son tried to kill himself back in March of this year. My daughter almost died giving birth to her son. I couldn’t prevent any of that from happening. And while all that scary stuff happened, that’s a sliver of pain and harm compared to the abundance of joy and pleasure and love I’ve experienced. What if preventing pain and danger also prevents joy, love, and contentment?

Order Requires Chaos

Without chaos, would we have order? Some speculations suggest that chaos can be controlled. That’s an egoic sentiment, clearly. Empaths would argue that we must try to prevent all things from happening to all people. All this prevention. Bacterial prevention, biological prevention, bigotry prevention: protection. But at what cost? The freedom to venture beyond a bubble of a bedroom? Prevention and restriction are forms of control. I don’t think I quite understood what I was considering in my aim to protect my children from harm and pain. When we prevent and restrict, we constrict, as in choke out a life of experience. And for what? Protection? Safety? Security? Who is the guarantor of this immortality insurance?

Conflict and confusion are catalysts of chaos. And often, these catalysts are orchestrated by a symphony of sects that have bigger plans for the greater good. As in the accusation, charge, and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, various elite, powerful groups organized to effectively cancel Jesus out of fear that he would lead a rebellion against any of them. Jesus threatened the power structures of his time. The religious and the Romans were growing their empires. Jesus threatened their security in establishing their agendas.

Today, we see that there are many powerful groups exerting a brute force of prevention and restriction in the name of safety and security. Despite the growing awareness of our society realizing they couldn’t protect us from anything, our American population is suffering significantly, financially, mentally, and relationally.  Still, wealthy elites, political, celebrity, royal, well-to-do, and well-connected (1%) communes are all interested in pursuing their own agendas. We, the citizenry, are the only ones that stand in the way. Rather than sitting down and shutting up, it is time to stand up and speak out.

I see that Jesus attempted to instill the Truth of internal power in his teachings. “I and the Father are One.” This is a huge statement to make. It essentially acknowledges that “I am God.” It’s a huge proclamation to make. It seems far-fetched, outrageous, and egoic, but maybe that’s because we’ve always thought that God was external, bigger than, and out there, above, or all around. If God is for me, and in me, then who can be against me?

I can’t prevent my son from falling off his bike again. He’s already gone for more bike rides since the fall. A couple of times, he declined the invitation. I was so scared the first time he went back out. But he did great. He took his time and paced himself and practiced using his brakes. This is the first year he is riding a bike, ever.  I am so proud of him for his courage. I remember the times I fell off my bike. It hurt like hell, but I got back up too. There was no one around when I fell. Which meant that I couldn’t even protect myself from getting hurt. Unless I just never rode a bike…



About Danielle M Kingstrom
Danielle is a writer, podcaster, and home-school teacher. She lives in rural Minnesota on a farm with her husband and five children. Together, they maintain a fourth generation legacy farm and raise chickens and cattle. When she is not reading, writing, or self-educating; she can be found outdoors in nature’s naked elements. Danielle is an avid gardener, a lover of art, knowledge, and always a student. She is active in revitalization projects within her community, partnering with committees to bridge the Rural Divide. Unafraid of sparking controversy, Danielle is a frequently published author, appearing regularly in her community’s local newspaper; writing about provocative issues and asking challenging questions that raise a few eyebrows. She is currently working on two books. You can read more about the author here.

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