“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.” - John Adams
In this quote, by America’s second president, he refers the secrecy in government. He believed that people could not have liberty without the knowledge of what their representatives were up to.
I fully believe that John Adams was onto something. Today, with their intentions masked, politicians are able to get away with a great many things, simply do to the ignorance they ensure for the people. However, this quote also gives rise to another point: People who do not understand liberty can not have it.
In the modern day and age, liberty is something that you read in a book, and talk about on the 4th of July. You assume that you have it, and that this country is somehow unique because of it. You never quite take the time to understand it. That is the true mistake. If people do not understand what liberty is, then government is free to do as it pleases. Then, the government shall fall more and more into totalitarianism.
What is liberty, then? Liberty is the instance when one exercises free will, without oppression by authority. Essentially, liberty means that the government isn’t stopping you from being free.
Do we have liberty, anymore? Of course we do! We just don’t have it in abundance, as we once did. For instance, you’re allowed to earn money…so long as you pay a portion to the government. You’re allowed to buy a car…so long as you pay the government for the right. You’re allowed to keep the car…so long as you’re willing to “rent” it from the government, with one easy payment a year.
Economic freedoms are not the only things limited. Personal freedoms are, as well. For instance, you can smoke…so long as you are smoking what the government wants you to. You can get married…so long as you meet the governments requirements. You can take advantage of your second amendment right to bare arms…so long as you arm yourself with the things that your government allow you to have (side not: 2nd amendment was created so that you could protect yourself from the government). You can eat and drink…so long as you eat and drink the things that government wants you to (look it up).
It occurs to me that there have been a great many restrictions put on America’s liberty, since the time of John Adams. There are simply too many to mention in one article. In the end, it is the duty of every individual to educate themselves.
As for deciding what the reaction of John Adams would be, if he viewed the current state of our country, he already answered that question, long ago.
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” - John Adams