Freedom Is Not Free


IrsThere may be something to the claim that all people want to be free. But it is a demonstrable fact that freedom has been under attack, usually successfully, for thousands of years.

The Federal Communications Commission’s recent plan to have a “study” of how editorial decisions are made in the media, placing FCC bureaucrats in editorial offices across the country, was one of the boldest assaults on freedom of the press. Fortunately, there was enough backlash to force the FCC to back off.

With all the sweeping powers available to government, displeasing FCC bureaucrats in editorial offices could have brought on armies of “safety” inspectors from OSHA, audits from the Internal Revenue Service and many other harassments from many other government agencies.

Such tactics have become especially common in this administration, which has the morals of thugs and the agenda of totalitarians. They may not be consciously aiming at creating a totalitarian state, but shameless use of government power to crush those who get in their way can produce totalitarian end results.

The prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza for contributing $20,000 to a political candidate, supposedly in violation of the many campaign finance laws, is a classic case of selective prosecution.

Thugs who stationed themselves outside a polling place in Philadelphia to intimidate white voters were given a pass, and others accused of campaign finance violations were charged with misdemeanors, but Dinesh D’Souza has been charged with felonies that carry penalties of years in federal prison.

All of this is over a campaign contribution that is chicken feed, compared to what can be raised inside of an hour at a political fundraising breakfast or lunch.

Could this singling out of D’Souza for prosecution have something to do with the fact that he made a documentary movie with devastating exposures of Barack Obama’s ideologies and policies? That movie, incidentally, is titled “2016: Obama’s America,” and every American should get a copy of it on a DVD. It will be the best $10 investment you are ever likely to make.

It doesn’t matter what rights you have under the Constitution of the United States, if the government can punish you for exercising those rights.

And it doesn’t matter what limits the Constitution puts on government officials’ power, if they can exceed those limits without any adverse consequences.

In other words, the Constitution cannot protect you, if you don’t protect the Constitution with your votes against anyone who violates it. Those government officials who want more power are not going to stop unless they get stopped.

As long as millions of Americans vote on the basis of who gives them free stuff, look for their freedom — and all our freedom — to be eroded away, bit by bit. Our children and grandchildren may yet come to see the Constitution as just some quaint words from the past that people once took seriously.

The arrogance of arbitrary power is not confined to the federal government. An egregious case in Massachusetts involves a teenage girl from Connecticut named Justina Pelletier, who was being treated for a rare disease by doctors at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

When her parents brought this 15-year-old girl to an emergency room in Boston, the doctors there decided that her problem was not medical but psychological. When the parents objected, and sought to take her back to the doctors who had been treating her at Tufts University, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families charged the parents with “medical child abuse,” and were granted legal custody of the teenager.

Once given arbitrary power over Justina, the DCF bureaucrats kept her all but isolated from her parents for more than a year. To add insult to injury, a judge issued a gag order, forbidding the parents from discussing the case publicly.

Only after Megyn Kelly on the Fox News Channel brought this case to national attention did the Massachusetts bureaucrats back off and turn the teenager’s medical care back to the doctors at Tufts University. Whether her parents will get to see their daughter freely again is still up in the air.

Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what pious rhetoric goes with it. Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it or lose it. But is our generation up to fighting for it?

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  • KenoshaMarge

    Is this generation up to fighting for freedom? Doubtful. That would require detaching a cell phone from the side of the head – shutting mouth and bothering to actually do some research about what is happening and what has happened in this country. A population that can do little more than regurgitate “talking points” and think themselves informed is ill equipped to even understand the concept of freedom. And many don’t seem to mind the infringement of freedoms for those who don’t share their opinions.

    • Sheik Yerbouti

      A good part of this generation is tired of being blamed for things they didn’t do. The eternal slavery/race card being applied to them doesn’t make them step back in solemn contemplation of the past wrongs of white people. Instead it fills these younger Americans with questions. Questions the left answers with the same old lines.

      Today’s kids aren’t buying it. The next generation of race hustlers isn’t emerging well. Too many of them have criminal records and terrible political skills. And they are about to run into a wall of young white people who are saying they will not step aside because of events they weren’t part of anymore.

    • The Hated Generation

      Collective guilt is a falsehood. Members of my generation entered boot camp with the single purpose of killing terrorists. When I see the slightly younger millennials, whom you hold in such contempt, I must confess that we weren’t so different at that age. Now we know the way of the world, and we’re digging in for the good fight.

      As for the ignorant masses, they exist everywhere and at all times. The person who heaps coals upon the many for the actions of a few is no more enlightened.

      • KenoshaMarge

        You have a point. It is foolish to hold an entire generation in contempt for the actions of the few. Except they aren’t so few and they are so visible. ALL of us were young and foolish at some point. But today’s generation are now considered “children” at ages when my generation, slightly older than Boomers, were responsible for our lives,homes, jobs and families.

        Just as it is foolish to hold the entire “boomer” generation in contempt because some/many are greedy.

        FYI, I do not now and never have believed in “white guilt”. There may be some who have it but most people are not foolish enough to feel guilty for something they didn’t do. I certainly don’t.

  • Maggie

    Ted Cruz is fighting for it, the Tea Party are fighting for it, stand up to tyranny and the establishment now.. today, and vote out the establishment in 2014, Daniel Greenfield has a piece out today “It takes a rogue nation to stop a rogue state” concerning the Ukraine, the same can be said for the Tea Party standing against our ineffective and overbearing government

  • cxt

    Excellent read!
    Even in a really busy day I always make time to read Prof. Sowell’s articles–always worth it.

  • NAHALKIDES

    What Sowell doesn’t say is that, if we can’t break the Democratic Left’s ability to get power by bribing millions of voters with other people’s money, we’re going to be left with three options: (1) Submit to their tyranny; (2) Secede; (3) Start a second American Revolution. We may very well have to fight, as Sowell suggests, but not at the ballot box. Sowell also neglected to mention that the Establishment GOP has no interest in fighting on either of these battlefields.

  • The Hated Generation

    Every Justina Pelletier is potentially the next generation’s David Horowitz. Let’s not forget the legacy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. There are limits to what even the most oppressive dictatorship can do. Let us also pray that America does not reach such an extreme before righting itself.

  • Ellman48

    “Fortunately, there was enough backlash to force the FCC to back off.”

    For now. Liberals, Progressives, Socialists, Leftists, whatever they call themselves from day to day, never give up their quixotic quests. Be assured that the road to despotism will not be abandoned for very long!

    Their intent is to demolish the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Until they achieve this objective they will not abandon the quest.

  • Ellman48

    “Such tactics have become especially common in this administration, which
    has the morals of thugs and the agenda of totalitarians. They may not
    be consciously aiming at creating a totalitarian state, but shameless
    use of government power to crush those who get in their way can produce
    totalitarian end results.”

    They would not call it “totalitarian” but “egalitarian”.

  • Ellman48

    “Arbitrary power is ugly and vicious, regardless of what pious rhetoric
    goes with it. Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it or lose it.
    But is our generation up to fighting for it?”

    You’re generation and mine are up for the fight Mr. Sowell, but those born after 1964 want the government to protect them from “bullies” and “predators”. They are willing to surrender their personal freedom for the security the government promises in exchange.

    But, as Ben Franklin said, those willing to surrender their freedom for security will have neither. But someone born after 1964 has probably never heard of Ben Franklin, nor the statement he made.

    It often seems to me that the history of mankind is one never-ending repetition of the same cycles, the same errors, the same consequences, the same mistakes. Apparently one generation doesn’t do a very good job of passing on its experiences and wisdom to the next.

  • vladimirval

    Freedom comes at a cost, a cost of time and treasure. Freedom deeds to be cared for. Achieving freedom does not come with a guarantee to last for any specific period of time. It must be won over and over again because there will always be people around that want to take it away. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. Freedom can only be maintained when responsible people are the caretakers. Freedom will be lost when people become indifferent and do not work to protect it for them selves and others. Free people are free to be wrong but not to do wrong to anyone. Many people forget that part of freedom and that, some times unwittingly even, deteriorates freedom for all.