“It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take: but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry to the Virginia House of Burgesses. March 23, 1775.
After my military service, I became a hospice chaplain. I was attracted to this position because I think there has always been in me a preference for quality-of-life above quantity of days. This preference has not always served me well in attempts to get along with others. In these days of viral hysteria, it may well be my undoing.
Our polarized country has passed beyond the gates of liberty and into the field in which one side would deny life, liberty, and property to the other in exchange for a false sense of security. Well does the Bible describe our future, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as a travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
Peace and safety are not products of mandates, conformity, and unquestioned obedience. They produce length of days at the expense of a life lived according to the dictates of one’s own heart. They are thieves and robbers dedicated to stripping us of the qualities that make life worth living.
In discussions with people who truly know they are dying, I have yet to meet one happy with debilitating treatments that gave them a life of extended sickness. Do people undergo chemo more than once? I’m sure they do—I don’t know them.
Hope that the current crisis in America can be settled with words, votes, or mandates is an illusion. We have shut our eyes against the painful truth that tyranny is already here. Our quality of life is slipping away at an ever-increasing pace fueled by irrational fears while we sit by watching it on news in silent, tacit agreement.
I remind you that governments exist only because they exert force. Men like the Honorable Mr. Henry believed that force should be held in check by the consent of the governed. But what happens when the governed are consenting to chains? What happens when the governed no longer question the use of force against them?
This is inevitably followed, at some point, by war and death as people reclaim their thirst for the divinely granted quality of life available only to those at liberty to pursue their happiness.
It is not your neighbor who is afraid of your liberty that the government will send to strip you of that liberty. It will be the military venerated by the free who will come for you.
For all the memorials built to them, for all the empty chairs set up to honor the fallen, and for all the songs sang to them—it will be those same men and women who will enslave you at the point of their weapons.
That is if there remain any still prepared to take up arms to defend liberty and life against the chains of imposed peace and safety.