Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
— William Pitt
As you all know, when you move from one state to another, you have to get a new driver's license. Each time I have moved (and it has been often!), something annoying has happened at each Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) I have visited. I was assured by friends who checked the Virginia DMV website that getting a driver's license in Virginia was a piece of cake - if you have another license. You turn in your old license and presto! You have your new driver's license. That was the way things were before 9/11. But I did not go for my license before 9/11.
When I told the clerk that I wanted my Virginia license, she informed me that I needed multiple types of identification to verify my Social Security number and, in addition, I needed proof of residency. I was handed a four-page brochure listing all the different types of paperwork that would satisfy these requirements. I was shocked and said, "I thought that turning in my license was all that was required." "Not any more," the clerk replied. The words "September 11" were not spoken, but we both understood what had changed our world.
Thanks to 9/11, the DMV tightened its grip on my life. If you saw me, you would know that I do not have one drop of Middle Eastern or Afghan or Pakistani blood in my bones. If you heard one sentence from my lips, you would know that I had been born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia. Perhaps the "extra precautions" at the DMV are supposed to make me feel safer; and if anyone asks me, I suppose I can repeat a governmental mantra, "The DMV is doing its part in the war on terrorism."
A Safer America?
But is the world really safer because of the DMV's new requirements? Of course not. While I was turned away from the DMV on the first day; had to return home and go through boxes and files and call my Dad asking him for this or that; and then make a second trip to the DMV with my wad of documentation, almost any terrorist who wanted to could have driven a car bomb to most locations in America and killed numerous innocents. You really do not need a valid driver's license to do that. Well, maybe you do, if you want to use a rental car as your explosive device. But terrorists can fake ID. That happens all the time among various sectors of our population - from illegal aliens, to criminals, to terrorists, to underage children who want to drink and smoke. The DMV's new requirements will only slow down people like me - hard working, God-fearing, tax paying (and that out the ying-yang!) American citizens who are not terrorists and who do not have criminal records.
You see it happening all around America now: In the name of the "War Against Terrorism," our government is taking away the liberties of its best citizens! Our Christian President has told us this would/must happen as a vital part of the war against terrorism and no one challenges him. Our Christian President has signed into law the infamous USA Patriot Act which, in essence, makes us a police state. No one asks, "Mr. President, why can't we have safety and liberty?" The majority seems to assume that it is impossible to live in a world where both liberty and safety coexist. And so, like Gulliver, we are being tied down, one thin rope at a time in small ways by very tiny-minded people. Soon we won't be able to move. With each tightened strand, we are being told in soothing tones, "This is for your good. This is for your safety. Your life is so important to your government, that we must do this for your own good."
All bin Laden has to do is make a threat, and more ropes are tightened around us, more liberties are taken away, and America looks more and more like a fundamentalist Islamic nation whose Big Brother watches and scrutinizes our every move and who can arrest us and haul us away if something about us just doesn't seem right or sparks a suspicion.
Most Americans smile, snuggle down under the net and say, "Thank you!" as the sweet air of liberty is slowly pressed from their lives.
Dollars to donuts, bin Laden is rolling around in the floor of his richly carpeted cave laughing his brains out. Oh, I'm sorry! Self-righteous bigots (of whatever religion!) don't laugh. But the bottom line is, at the heart of America, bin Laden is winning the war against terrorism.
How We Lost the Battle
And his victory began in the nineteenth century - years before he was born. The stage for his triumph was set when a group of God-less, evolution-believing "progressives" decided that literacy among Americans produced freethinking, independent individuals who would not be good citizens in the socialized utopia they hoped to create. So they set about establishing an "educational" system that, instead of educating, produced compliant citizens who "go along" for the good of the utopia where only sexless, bland, colorless people who always color within the lines can be happy. Their efforts have resulted in an American citizenry, highly illiterate, who ask, "What is the government doing about it?" when faced with a problem. If you don't believe me, read Sam Blumenfeld's up-coming book, The Victims of Dick and Jane. Sam's essays document with, maddening clarity, the development and implementation of these ideas and programs into America's public schools along with their devastating effects. The result is a populace that does not know what true liberty is, citizens who long for (and vote for) cradle-to-grave "security" dangled before them like the proverbial carrot before the donkey. (Only this time it is the donkey holding the carrot and the humans obediently plodding toward it!) Now America is full of public school graduates who are ready and willing to do whatever their government says, just so they can stay alive. Better to be alive than free.
Patrick Henry would not fit into America today. His bold anthem, "Give me liberty or give me death!" would sound so inappropriate on the floor of our Senate or Congress where our duly elected statists are hard at work trying to bring every aspect of our being under federal control, all for the sake of our good and safety. Soon federal employees will be going through our undies (and sometimes while we are still in them!) at airports all across America.
So what are we to do? The Bible teaches that a godly civil government will be a terror to evildoers. Our government should be out-terrorizing the terrorists. Let me repeat: They should be out-terrorizing the terrorists. Give them Hell on earth so they will learn something of what awaits them in the hereafter. Enough said?
And, don't punish innocent American citizens by taking away our liberties that were won in bloody battlefields by true American Patriots. Show those God-less, evil, tyrannical madmen that in America, our people are free and will remain free and safe. We need to put the fangs back in that old slogan "Don't Tread On Me." And we need to punish the guilty - not the innocent!
But if we want to win the ultimate war on terrorism, we need citizens who will not stand by while their liberties are being stolen by their government. For that to occur, we have to train Americans so that they understand why individual liberty is important, and why Reformed Christianity presents the only true means of securing liberty and safety for the individual in the family, church, and state. To accomplish our task, we must reeducate the American people, and in particular, American Christians most who, like sheep, plod quietly along the path to a statist "utopia" instead of walking on their King's Highway. We have to be willing to fight our war one lesson at a time and with an unflagging commitment to godly liberty, just as the persistent progressives of the past century pressed forward with their putrid programs.
The war against terrorism is indeed going to be a long one. In part, it will be fought by civil governments in military campaigns. In spite of who wins on those battlefields, the greater victories or defeats will occur in the minds and hearts of Americans as they learn the Biblical foundations for and commit themselves to "One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."
[If you want to learn more, read Christianity: Bulwark of Liberty by P. Andrew Sandlin.]
- Susan Burns
Susan is the managing editor of the the Faith for All of Life magazine and the Chalcedon Report (bi-monthly newsletter). Susan has worked for Chalcedon since 1997. She lives in Virginia and is rather fond of animals, especially her many cats.