Another glimpse into my post-secondary education, the following is my reply to a discussion question which I thought might spur some… er, discussion. The question was: Are our freedoms more or less secure than they were when the country was founded? Elaborate.
I think, speaking strictly from a technological standpoint, there is no question our freedoms are less secure than at any other time in history. America stands as the last historical example of exodus. Oppressed peoples who could not overcome the tyranny surrounding them choose to extract themselves from it and come here. We no longer have that option. There is nowhere else to go until someone figures out cost-effective interplanetary colonization. So we’re stuck with each other, stuck with the government we have, a government which is becoming increasingly interdependant with others, including an emerging global government (keep an eye on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change later this month). It makes sense, if our forebears’ only way out of tyranny was escape to a distant frontier, we cannot expect any different. Add to that advances in technology which enable those in power to keep a stricter eye on the population than any historical dictator dared to dream, and you have a recipe for inevitable tyranny.
Of course, it is only inevitable if we let it happen. It may be our forebears choose exodus because it was easier to escape and risk death in an unforgiving frontier than to stand their ground and fight a ruling system. We do not know what would have happened if exodus was not a choice for them. Could they have established freedom where they first stood? Can we keep it here now? Time will tell.