“If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States of America

I want you to re-read that quote.

Done?

Read it one more time.

Now I would like to take a moment to talk to you about the state of individual liberties in this country, and the effect that it will have on you, Dear Reader.

This post has been a long time coming but I felt extra compelled to discuss individual liberty after all this talk about Obama and the UN trying to take our guns away.  What you have to understand is that this removal of rights did not start with and will not end with guns.

Let me give you a brief lesson on the mental development of human beings from the standpoint of a parent and now-former teacher.  There are many techniques that one can use to modify someone’s behavior, but they can all be classified into four categories: Type 1 or 2 reinforcement and or Type 1 or 2 punishment.

Type 1 (positive) reinforcement refers to the application of a desirable stimulus as a reward to a desirable behavior.  This is pretty much a reward system; you get a treat when you do the right thing.  In children, this tends to be an external reward, like a toy or a sticker.  It is a very common method used in classrooms across the nation.

Type 2 (negative) reinforcement is when an undesirable stimulus is removed when a desirable behavior is performed.  An example for this would be applying ointment to a bug bite or a scratch.  When you take care of your body, you will not feel discomfort.  When you clean your room, your parents will stop bugging you to clean your room.  If you get your term paper written during the week, you won’t have to work on it over the weekend.

Type 1 (positive) punishment means that an undesirable stimulus is being applied when an undesirable behavior is displayed.  Spanking, traffic fines, and being yelled at by someone are examples of positive punishment.

Type 2 (negative) punishment refers to the removal of a desirable stimulus when an undesirable behavior occurs.  This is also a common form of behavioral modification and takes place in the form of time-out (or, to a higher degree, jail time) and the taking away toys/privileges/cell phones/computer time (/gun rights/personal freedoms)/etc.  Type 2 punishment is also called removal punishment and is more or less based in fear.

[click here for the Wikipedia article on psychological reinforcement which I’ve paraphrased here]

Parents magazine has an article called Top Ten Toddler fears that, as you can imagine, lists the most common fears that young children face.  The five that apply most to our discussion are: the Dark, monsters, strangers, separation,and Being Alone.

 I can remember the one or two times that I got separated from my parents in the store when I was little.  I can remember it because it was one of the most terrifying experiences ever. I can also pinpoint times in my childhood where these other fears have stood out, at times dominating my psyche.  

[I am still, to this day, weary of strangers, especially ones in vans because of the whole Stranger Danger thing in the 80s.]

Anyway, the core of the negative, or removal punishment is fear of removal. It is said that time out generates in a child a fear that they are being separated from their parents. Taking toys and things away can generate a similar response of loss or separation. This is referred to as a fear of removal. Our government has, ironically, used fear to convince us that removal is the answer. 

The state of our union is no doubt a fearful one. We are inundated with news coverage of violent, gun-related crime against the innocent citizens of our country. We are quietly and repeatedly told that taking away is the answer. That people’s safety is more important than their freedom. But freedom keeps us safe from the people that really want to hurt us: the ones in power that want to put restraints on the citizenry.  The ones casting the shadows in Plato’s allegorical cave so that we will sit chained and accept a reality that is nowhere near real.

It is a falsity that we fear. 

A falsity that robs us of our dignity. 

A falsity that we must reject and replace with the natural truth that was bestowed upon us not just by the fathers of this great nation, but also and more importantly by our Father in Heaven. 

The Truth is that we stopped being slaves the day we followed Moses out of Israel and that we must stop bowing out heads to the kind of dictatorial government that would lie to us because it thinks that we cannot handle the Truth. 

But we can and we must. If we want to shake free the chains of our fear-mongering  oppressors and demand solutions that do not sacrifice the freedom that we were given at birth.

Read that quote one more time.

Then ask yourself what’s more important.

Freely,
Glass

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