We in the pro-freedom camp (Americans) spend too much time arguing about safety. Or rather, we argue safety far too often in the terms laid down by our enemies– the enemies of liberty. Though the statistics are often on our side, we’re granting the basis for the argument (that government exists to promote the physical safety of the individual) to the enemy.
Too many police departments, for example, call themselves Departments of Public Safety and the like. That’s not their function, per se. Their proper function is to enforce the law and the primary purpose of law, in the uniquely American sense at least, is to promote and protect your rights. That this function has been corrupted over the years does not change the original intent.
The American Revolution was indeed fought for safety, but the safety so dearly bought therein was a rather different kind of safety from that promoted by the neo-Fascists. It wasn’t the kind of safety taught at your local public school. It wasn’t the kind of safety we’re training for in a fire drill or in a drivers’ education class. That kind of safety is properly the responsibility of the individual or of private interests.
The kind of safety for which the Revolution was fought and for which the constitution was written is safety from government interference– safety from the enemies of liberty both foreign and domestic.
Historically, out-of-control governments have presented a danger to public safety far greater than all common criminal activity and standard physical danger combined. Some government or left-wing hack asserting that we need more government intrusion as a means of promoting “safety” is a bit like advocating mass sex orgies for the promotion of abstinence.
When we’re arguing safety and public policy then, we need to make it clear beforehand which particular kind of safety we’re discussing– the safety of subjects owned by the government (the safety of tyrants and sycophants) or the safety of a free people. They are near polar opposites.