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For the Courage of the Founders
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Safer than ever before
There has never been a society that is safer than the one in which citizens of the United States live today. Average life expectancy is higher than ever before, infant mortality the lowest. Violent crime is down. Safety is a major consideration on most employment sites. Government regulation protects the environment6. Health care is excellent. Public education is adequate, both for standard schooling and for educating the population on the dangers of any of a number of health/hazard issues. Unemployment is low. Leisure time and activities are at all time highs. If you live in the United States or are a citizen of the United States, you are one of the safest people that have ever walked the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, we still make decisions in an almost delusional state of fear.
Founding Fathers reality: Imagine for a second people like John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, visiting our society—the society that they and their peers and countrymen brought into existence. Imagine them thinking with pride about how they gambled everything in a fight against the world’s super power at the time and won! Now think of them being told that to question the government could be construed to be aiding and abetting the enemy. Imagine the men who worked over the course of eleven years to establish a government of laws being told that those laws could be circumvented outside the framework of the constitution by an un-ratified "act." Image their disgust at seeing the most powerful nation in the world plot its future out of fear; that after losing so many of their fellow patriots/idealists in the Revolutionary war those sacrifices were dismissed in fear to protect a few lives.
We are not on the verge of annihilation: We are, in fact, undefeatable—or rather, only able to be defeated by ourselves. Twenty years ago we went to bed and slept soundly every night on the brink of global nuclear war. Our government had a strategic plan and followed it. Today we are advised to buy duct tape and plastic in case of a terrorist chemical attack. "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," "You must never negotiate out of fear, nor fear to negotiate," "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country" (John F. Kennedy) have been replaced with a vague and haunting alarm of "evil doers" and admonishment to not question the government lest you be considered a traitor. The United States is not in a unique position in its history. A superpower whose might has been purchased through the sacrifices of others, and, who having parents who sought to protect us from the trials that they endured, now seeks protection from adversity above all. It is weak and cowardly, and should not be tolerated. Admonishments that "if you aren't doing anything wrong you don't have to worry" miss the point. There are very bad and tangible threats in this world that require our attention. Our fearful pre-occupation with terrorism and making ourselves ever more safe is one of them. Ignorance and oppression are a few more. The United States and its citizens are a long way from being even remotely challenged to survive; it would behoove us to act appropriately.
Physical Security: The U.S. Department of Defense defines physical security as "that part of security concerned with physical measures designed to safeguard…" Physical security is an aggregate of all law enforcement (to include penal systems) and security measures that the United States uses to keep the society safe. Prior to 9/11 the United States, as a whole, was adequately physically secure. There was, and is, a layered protection scheme that included border control, intelligence integration, federal law enforcement, state law enforcement, local law enforcement, specialized law enforcement units (DEA, ATF, etc.), private security companies, building security plans, and alert plans etc. Since 9/11 the United States has increased its physical security. The result is one of the most protected and policed societies to ever exist. If you dial 911 the response is measured in minutes. That is outstanding physical security.
Social Security: This is not a reference to the national fund for paying pensions; this is the overall stability of the society. There are problems, of course, but overall the United States has developed a robust and meaningful social system that provides a solid foundation for maintaining itself. This system includes health care, education, the Bill of Rights, sewage treatment, unemployment benefits and the entire infrastructure that supports the people of the United States in good times and bad. Though flawed, the system is good and the system functions; society is secure.
No society has EVER been safer than WE ARE right now. We have to stop being afraid. We must invigorate our courage.6Though probably not enough.
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Copyright ©2003-2007 by Thomas Rancich. Printing, copying, creating or transmitting of electronic copies of this transcript in whole or in part without the written consent of Mr. Rancich is expressly forbidden and will be construed as constituting copyright infringement.