December is a month where much of humanity defies the frigid darkness by celebrating what may be our most joyous holiday. Christians and non-Christians alike have taken to the spirit of Christmas to celebrate in their own ways. Words of peace and joy and good cheer are shared with all. This year though, we enter the season with a darkness spreading like a cancer throughout the free world.
Years of a foreign policy based on hubris and naive talk of containment have put the free world at risk in ways not seen since the Cold War. This combination of neglect and malfeasance has given the enemies of modernity and freedom, the time, money, and brazen confidence to wreak death and fear across the globe. The world has realized that the once steady leadership of the United States is in shambles and they doubt our will and ability to confront evil. This holiday season, instead of wishes of Peace on Earth, the talk is of war.
A greater danger comes not from the terrible but unlikely act of a terrorist, but from more certain threat of a government which would respond to every crisis by eroding our freedoms. Those who are familiar with Robert Higgs’ book, Crisis and Leviathan, know that governments use fear and war to implement new laws and restrictions.
Often, the proposals are sold as only temporary, as the French are doing now with their three month state of emergency. Personal computers in France are now subject to administrative searches without a warrant. The internet is being censored. Physical searches of homes and places of worship are now done at the whim of the police. If history is our guide, many of these policies will continue when the emergency ends.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Either we believe these words or we do not. If we meekly retreat and hide, then these are not real principles, but just pretty words to be discarded out of convenience. It would give the terrorists a veto on our rights. Fear should never be a justification for the abandonment of our rights.
In times like this, we need our reason, and our principles, and our faith. We need to prudently respond to security threats. As we respond, we need to be cautious about overreacting and calls to hand over our rights in the name of security. We must destroy evil with resolve, and we must also defend our liberty with that same resolve.
In this season nearly one third of the population of the Earth will celebrate the Light of a Savior. In this season the Jewish faith celebrates the light of the Maccabees’ oil. Many other faiths choose this time to celebrate the promise that the sun would bring warmth and light. We must not let the shadow of terror eclipse this season of light and joy, and we should pray that our country finds the courage to allow our light to banish that darkness.