Please Discuss

Today, here on Cape Cod, where every car has an Obama sticker, I was struck by two cars which had Obama stickers as well as this same slogan, a paraphrase of a Ben Franklin bon mot:

Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security.

I have absolutely no problem with this bumper sticker in its original context, which I presume was to protest things like the Patriot Act, indefinite detentions, and wiretapping during the Bush Administration (and all retained, so far, by this Administration).

But my question back to them would be -- do you still support this statement in the context of pending health care legislation, which is yet another example of trading individual liberty for security, albeit security of a slightly different type?


  1. Michael:

    The quote has no meaning to either group since each party already comes with a set of freedoms they want to give up.

    Democrats want to take guns. Republicans want to take Playboy. Who do you vote for if you want to read Playboy while you're reloading?

    Every 4 years, the parties come together and make a list of what they will give you, but also make a list of what they want to take from you. The idea of allowing each individual the maximum options for choice is now foreign to both parties.

  2. John Moore:

    I think it matters a whole lot which party we are talking about. The Republicans are not very successful at taking away liberties - the only thing Bush did was make it harder to get on airplanes. Nothing else touched essential liberties.

    The Dems, who believe that the only liberties that count are non-economic ones, have a long track record of removing those. They also enjoy removing civil liberties like free speech and self defense.

    As for the bumper stickers, I'm sure that those folks have no clue that anything economic is related to liberty. In fact, they probably confuse rights with liberties, and of course assume there is a right to government controlled medical care.

  3. Michael:

    The Republicans have a list of social liberties they'd like to take away. The whole concept of vice law enforcement is based on preventing mutually consented to activities. Not that I'm saying they're the best choice an individual can make, but the Republicans prefer not allow the individual the option to make the choice. To your point "The Republicans are not very successful at taking away liberties", maybe at the national level, but what they wish to control is easier to accomplish at the local and state level.

  4. morganovich:

    alas, i fear the calculus here is quite simple:

    if you want me, ostensibly for my own good or the good of the society, to do something that i don't want to, that's coercion.

    if i want you, for your own good or the good of the society, to do something that you don't want to do, that's "doing what's best".

    the inability of most people to stop thinking this way is precisely why every new government we get seems ready to take yet more liberty while it's supporters fail to see the coercion for what it is.

    most dangerous is the notion of "they ought to want this, they are just too stupid/benighted/ignorant/unconcerned to make the "right" choice, so we'll do it for them.

  5. Kent:

    I am always amused (cynically) by people driving SUVs with Obama stickers on them. Do they really think cap and trade will exclude them?

  6. Dan:

    Their answer, if provided honestly, would be "no, but bumper stickers are really hard to get off."

  7. hoipolloi:

    * ...does not apply to economic liberty.

  8. Elliot:

    morganovich has the right idea. I tend to fear the succesful Democrat more than the successful Republican. The conservative norm is to keep offensive (?) magazines or material out of the everyday display. Almost none of them think any of what they disdain will totally go away. If abortion is taken apart in the supreme court it will go back to the states.

    Bumper stickers always burn me up. I'm already in the car but even face to face none of these people can not defend or even describe the points they are advertising.


  9. wintercow20:

    I don't think folks would see it as a contradiction. When you believe in a world of pervasive increasing returns to scale, and positive rights, then the bumper sticker is no problem.

  10. Mesa Econoguy:

    The appropriate protest line for this issue is “Keep your laws off my body.”

  11. me:

    You were struck by two cars? I am very sorry to hear it, but I am glad that you're still alive!

  12. Matt:

    I was tempted at first to call that cognitive dissonance, but I'm certain those folks are neither aware nor at all uncomfortable with the fact that they're espousing mutually exclusive principles.

    And they surely vote in an attempt to dictate the conditions of others' existence.


  13. Ron H.:

    Michael, the answer to your question is: Ron Paul

    you asked "Who do you vote for if you want to read Playboy while you’re reloading?"