In personal conversations, I’m sometimes asked why I care so much about freedom. I‘ve heard comments like, “Isn’t safety just as important?” “Freedom isn’t everything.” “What’s so bad about China? Seems like most people there are just fine.”
My answer to all of these is that, sometimes, freedom IS everything. You may give up your freedom to protect your safety, your money, or your family only to find that giving up freedom means losing them anyway.
Maybe it won’t, but the problem is, you won’t know ahead of time.
Sure, you can point to plenty of people living under the thumb of tyrants who seem to be doing just fine. They raise families, they have fun, some even get rich. They haven’t decided that fighting for freedom was worth the risk. In Eastern China, Central Asia, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and many other places, freedoms are repressed, but life goes on.
But for every example of life going on under tyrants, there is a more gruesome example in which it didn’t. You must set modern, seaboard China against The Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and its ongoing persecution of millions of Uighurs in the West. You must set Central Asia and Russia against Soviet gulags, the Holodomor, and the Armenian genocide. Venezuela and Cuba against the withering of Eastern Germany post-WWII, Communist butchery in Central Africa, and the Cambodian killing fields.
Here in the US, many people yielded their medical freedoms to COVID vaccine mandates for safety and to keep their jobs, but many soon found themselves with myocarditis or other injuries and unable to keep their jobs without risking further serious harm.
When faced with losing your freedoms, the possibility of safety can be alluring, but remember that is only a possibility. Other possibilities include starvation, mass murder, and terror. By the time you know which you are facing, it will be too late. You may help usher in a benevolent dictatorship, but once you have a dictatorship, you will no longer get a say in whether it remains benevolent.
Guard your freedom jealously. It’s cliche to say that “freedom isn’t free,” but keeping it is cheaper than winning it back. And if you give it up because “freedom isn’t everything,” you may be dreadfully disappointed to find out that it was.