With each passing day, the consensus grows that the Russian airbus that fell out of the sky over Egypt was taken down by a terrorist act (here). This could very well lead to further western involvement in Syria. Regardless, as a result one thing is for sure: we will all feel increased pressure from the security state.
Ever since 9/11 “national security” has been the phrase used to justify everything from mass-surveillance to invasive airport screenings, from international wars to domestic checkpoints, from illegal detentions to “free-speech zones.”
The 9/11 highjackers supposedly attacked the US because, in the words of George W. Bush, “they hated our freedoms.” Apparently they’ve accomplished their mission to take those freedoms away. Now, 14 years later, the average American citizen has suffered loss in regards to virtually every right embodied in the original ten amendments of the Bill of Rights. Pardon me, I err. I haven’t yet had to quarter troops in my home.
How was this accomplished? The answer is quite simply fear. There are real terrorists out there, no doubt. But the thing about terrorism is that it can strike anywhere and at any time. It’s kind of like life in that way. Car accidents and cancer diagnosis are typically unexpected, unpredictable and life-altering. We can make cars safer and implement early disease detection procedures, but in the final tally, we are not safe. And no one–least of all the government–can guarantee our safety.
We live in a scary world in the best of times. However, there is something I fear much more than the potentiality of terrorism. What I fear is the loss of liberty. I can accept terrorism because I know we live in a fallen world where sin runs rampant. I am thankful for security protocols and I acknowledge the need for vigilance, especially for those who are in law enforcement. However, realistic preventative measures must come from an informed and alert citizenry. Only together can we guard against both terrorism and tyranny.
But if we give into fear, then we will lose everything. And we’ve already gone a good ways down that road. If we are willing to give up freedom for security we will lose freedom without ever actually becoming safer. I fear tyranny more than I fear terrorism. Terrorism is typically random, sporadic and rare. Tyranny is coordinated, concentrated and historically-speaking, all too common.
Somehow we in the US and in Europe have allowed ourselves to be bullied into fearful submission. If the government demands capitulation, we all too often concede without question. For those who raise their hands with the query of why, those same hands are slapped down by the ever-ready rod of national security. Eventually, if the current state of affairs continues, any remaining dissent will be dealt with through the time-honored method of boot and cudgel.
Above all, let’s guard against fear. Let us neither fear the state nor terrorists. It’s the former, however, that possesses the power to take away our civil liberties.
People will worship something. The heart is designed in such a way that it will seek out an object upon which to fix its affection, an ideal of which to ascribe, or even simply a reason to get out of bed day after day. Worship is intuitive.
And regardless of whether a person acknowledges God’s existence or not, he will worship nevertheless. Let us stand in fearful and worshipful awe of the Lord; not in fear of mere men with misguided notions of idealism, and certainly not in fear of the all too fallible state.