ISSN 2330-717X

Ron Paul: Government Cannot Protect Us From All Possible Harm – OpEd

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The senseless and horrific killings last week at a movie theater in Colorado reminded Americans that life is fragile and beautiful, and we should not take family, friends, and loved ones for granted. Our prayers go out to the injured victims and the families of those killed. As a nation we should use this terrible event to come together with the resolve to create a society that better values life.

We should also face the sober reality that government cannot protect us from all possible harm. No matter how many laws we pass, no matter how many police or federal agents we put on the streets, no matter how routinely we monitor internet communications, a determined individual or group can still cause great harm. We as individuals are responsible for our safety and the safety of our families.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul

Furthermore, it is the role of civil society rather than government to build a culture of responsible, peaceful, productive individuals. Government cannot mandate morality or instill hope in troubled individuals. External controls on our behavior imposed by government through laws, police, and jails usually apply only after a terrible crime has occurred.

Internal self-governance, by contrast, is a much more powerful regulator of human behavior than any law. This self-governance must be developed from birth, first by parents but later also through the positive influence of relatives and adult role models. Beyond childhood, character development can occur through religious, civic, and social institutions. Ultimately, self-governance cannot be developed without an underlying foundation of morality.

Government, however, is not a moral actor. The state should protect our rights, but it cannot develop our character. Whenever terrible crimes occur, many Americans understandably demand that government “do something” to prevent similar crimes in the future. But this reflexive impulse almost always leads to bad laws and the loss of liberty.

Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors? Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security?

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.

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Ron Paul

Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American physician, author, and politician who served for many years as a U.S. Representative for Texas. He was a three-time candidate for President of the United States, as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012.

6 thoughts on “Ron Paul: Government Cannot Protect Us From All Possible Harm – OpEd

  • July 25, 2012 at 7:06 am
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    You can always count on DR.Paul to give us the skinny on how things realy are….

    RP 2012

    Reply
  • July 25, 2012 at 8:39 am
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    I so agree with Dr. Paul. The government is not there to be a national nanny but to help organize or coordinate the functionality of a people as a whole and to help maintain order within the people in mass. Nothing can protect all from whatever or all there may be in this world which might go somehow wrong. I wish that there were more individuals out there with Dr. Paul’s since of governmental roles.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm
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    Is it me, or is this the only guy who’s being honest and makes sense???

    Reply
  • July 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm
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    It’s not just you Lui,
    There are many of us that support Dr Pual for his common sense and integrity.
    We are not alone :)

    Reply
  • July 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm
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    Wow, just wow.

    Ron is such an eloquent writer, and actually tells the truth! I’m behind you 100% Ron, you DESERVE this election. Like past history, 90% of Americans will be crying like babies after they realize the grave mistake that they caused and the harm they are inducing on the other 10% of Americans trying to steer this ship from disaster.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm
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    No truer words spoken, by an American statesman.

    Reply

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