by Andrew P. Napolitano
What a week we have all just endured! While the Democrats were re-writing the federal takeover of health care behind closed doors, the public face of the federal government was fixated on denying and then explaining all the gaps in its intelligence gathering. The Obama administration has been finger-pointing over who in the government let a murderous thug on a plane in Amsterdam that he tried to explode over Detroit. First, the government said that the system worked. Then the President said it didn’t. Then he announced that the intelligence communities and security people would start to talk to each other so the bad guys could be kept out. Weren’t they supposed to be doing this all along?
At Newark Liberty Airport last Sunday, a TSA agent left his post, and a young man walked past it to kiss his girlfriend good-bye. Then the young man turned and left the secured area and left the airport. So far no harm, no foul. But because the government’s surveillance cameras in the airport didn’t work, the feds panicked and ordered over 10,000 passengers to leave the terminal, go out into the 15-degree Newark, NJ cold at night, and then re-enter the airport. Flights were delayed and missed, kids did not get to school on Monday morning, and soldiers were listed as AWOL. All because the government overreacted to a kiss. This humiliated the feds: New Jersey’s 86-year-old senior Senator Frank Lautenberg demanded that the guy who kissed his gal be hunted down and prosecuted because of the chaos he caused. He caused? Let’s see; the government has cameras that watch us every time we scratch our noses, and when those cameras don’t work, the government blames the person whose picture it was taking? Come on.
All this, of course, brings out the false argument of liberty versus security. And we hear that the government must take our freedoms in order to keep us safe. That’s hogwash. Freedom is our birthright. It doesn’t come from the government; it is part of our humanity. America is the only country in the history of the world dedicated to the truism that we are endowed by our Creator, as Jefferson wrote, with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The government has forgotten basic civics: “Endowed by our Creator” means that our rights come from God — not from the feds.’ Inalienable’ means that we and our freedoms cannot be separated, unless and until we are convicted by a jury of violating someone else’s rights. What is the value of being safe if we are not free?
Did our forefathers flee the kings and despots of Europe and come here to be safe? Did Patrick Henry say “Give me safety or give me death?” Here is the mistake that the Big Government crowd wants to thrust upon us: They want to balance liberty and safety. There is no such thing as balance when it comes to freedom. We will not trade freedom for anything, or balance it against anything, and we certainly won’t give it up to the TSA.
Can the government keep us safe? I don’t think so. Airline travel is safer today because pilots have guns, cockpit doors are like bank vaults, and the passengers have become courageous. All this was done by individuals in the private sector, not by the government. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if the feds had not stripped us of our natural rights to keep ourselves safe – by keeping and bearing arms – 9/11 would never have happened. How about letting the airlines decide who gets on the planes, rather than a TSA worker who leaves his post? When industry competes for your business, you fly where you want to go, you get there in comfort and safety, and you do all this at a competitive cost. When the government runs the show, you stand in the cold night air for six hours because of a kiss. The government can’t deliver the mail, it can’t operate surveillance cameras at an airport; it can’t pay back its debts; it can’t tell the truth. That would be the same government that wants to manage your health care.
America, do you see what happens when we rely on the government too much? It gets authoritarian and we get weak. Our children grow to expect from the government what we once did for ourselves. Government is a fearful master. It is not faithful to us; it is not truthful to us; it can’t produce for us. It doesn’t obey its own laws; it doesn’t keep us safe; and it won’t leave us alone. It is mortgaging our futures, raising our taxes, and treating us all like children.
What to do? Challenge it at every turn. Expose it to friend and foe. Educate all you know about what you see and hear. And return no one to the government who has stolen your freedom.
And one other thing: The God who gave us life also gave us liberty. He loves us. Praise Him from the roof tops, and ask Him to save us from a government that is out of control.
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel.