Defending our 'Freedoms'

by Harry Browne

May 23, 2002

We are told over and over again that the terrorists aren't upset with American foreign policy; it's our freedoms they can't stand. They want to destroy us because we're free.

Unfortunately, those who say this don't spell out the particular freedoms that the terrorists are upset about.

  • Is it our freedom to divert 47% of our national income to taxes collected by the federal, state, and local governments?

  • Is it the freedom of senior citizens to have life-and-death decisions on medical tests and treatments made by faceless Medicare bureaucrats who have the power to imprison doctors or patients who defy their wishes?

  • Is it the freedom to have our retirement money hijacked by a Social Security system that squanders the money on boondoggles, so that our children and grandchildren have to be taxed in order for us to get our retirement money back?

  • Is it the freedom to pay higher and higher school taxes that impoverish us, so that we're forced to send our children to "free" government schools where they can be indoctrinated as good little citizens of the state?

  • Is it the freedom to have the FDA keep life-saving medicines off the market for political reasons so that critically ill patients have to travel to other countries to get what they need?

  • Is it the freedom to have our tax money spent on ridiculous anti-drug ads that drug-users (present and future) think are just plain silly?

  • Is it the freedom to have our tax money spent on invasions of Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries to have American troops stationed in a hundred countries around the world to have American bombers attacking Serbia, Libya, Bosnia, the Sudan, and countless other countries?

  • Is it the freedom to be defended by a $2 trillion government that couldn't even protect us from a bunch of amateurs wielding box-cutters?

I really don't know what freedoms the super-patriots are talking about.

What I Want

But before you bruise your dainty fingertips typing an email to tell me I should go live in Iran or some other Hell-hole, let me tell you what I really want.

I don't want to live in Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, East Timor, or anywhere else.

I want to live in the America that once existed as the beacon of liberty providing light and hope and inspiration to the entire world the one that politicians from William McKinley to George W. Bush have replaced with a giant bully that tyrannizes Americans and foreigners alike . . . 

  • I want to live in the America where health care was inexpensive and easily accessible, where health insurance was easy to obtain and cheap, where there were charity hospitals and free clinics, where hospital stays were inexpensive the America that existed before the politicians imposed Medicare, Medicaid, the HMO Act, and their yearly "improvements" on us.

  • I want to live in the America where government at all levels took just 8% of the national income, mainly because the federal government was bound down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution where the federal government was so small that it could perform its constitutional functions on just the revenue collected from tariffs and excise taxes, with no income taxes at all.

  • I want to live in the America of Washington and Jefferson that promoted good will and honest commerce toward all countries, and hatred toward none one in which the politicians don't blame their own failures on faceless foreigners.

  • I want to live in the America where people like George Bush, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Teddy Kennedy can't impose their ideas on you and me where each American is free to work out his own destiny.

  • I want to live in the America our Founding Fathers bequeathed to us when they enacted the Bill of Rights a country in which government has no power to monitor your bank account, your mail, your life where government can't tax you to subsidize the reelection of incumbent politicians where government can't leave you defenseless against criminals while treating you like a criminal.

If such a country still existed, the terrorists wouldn't be invading America with box-cutters in the futile hope of changing American foreign policy.

They'd be flooding the country with visa applications trying to get in to enjoy the same freedoms we'd have.