Liberty vs. Security

(by Lance Erlick)

It seems throughout human history there has been a tug-of-war between liberty and security. At times people sacrificed their liberties in exchange for promises of security to live their day-to-day lives. In ways, this was the bargain individuals made when they became serfs to the land under some medieval lord, often after a natural or man-made catastrophe put fear into their lives. At other times, we have fought to the death for our liberties, as our forefathers did here in America and elsewhere. The pendulum swings back and forth at different times, and at different paces for different people. And yet a perfect balance is never found.

Then there are those who demand their own liberties while denying other people theirs, typically because the ‘others’ are different. This was the case of slavery in its many forms going all the way back to the earliest recordings of human history. We see it today in various groups demanding their rights and liberties while standing by or actively denying the rights of others. And yet, when our neighbor’s house burns, is it wise to stand by and wait to see if it boils over to our own?

Humans have yet to find a path that avoids the swing of liberty vs. security. Perhaps it will continue to elude us, for this struggle is rather like the struggle of life itself, a constant rebalancing between shortage and excess in order to survive.

I have tried to capture some of this tug-of-war in my Rebel series: The Rebel Within & Rebels Divided.