Benjamin Franklin wrote April 17, 1787: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need for masters.”.
There are several ways to look at this but not only do words mean things, the order of them was just as if not more important than the words themselves. If what I say is true in the statement above, Virtuous -first and People-second and freedom-third, all precede corruption, vicious and tyrannical.
Although, admittedly I am most ignorant to things relating to math, I find no difficulty stating it this way:
V+P=F and C+V=T, (T being tyranny spawned by the lack or V and P that no longer equaled F). In other words most dilemmas are simple matters of math and at times when stated this way, it may be easier to understand.
Now, pertaining to our current dilemma, what part of this equation and statements are not true? Weren't statements like the one above stated by people with far more wisdom than you or I? If this is true, could it be considered wise council and if not, why not? And if it is, why does it seem that people ignore it? Maybe people don't know it?
George Satayana said “Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It.”
I have been told time and time again, we all have a right to our opinions and I have always been perplexed by such a statement, (none, by the way desiring to restrict that right only to ponder it and ask others to do so as a caution.) The issue I have with this generalization is that is really seems to be a statement of tolerance cloaked in liberty to some degree, and articuluating the clearer separation between the two would take more time and thought but I can share this...
Person X has an opinion and so does person Y. Both like general liberties have the right to express them. The sad part is that many times opinions are seen just as benign statements that differ from another and they are stated and gone. The issue with this simplistic way to view this is that it ignores the unintended consequences or actions that surround the use of that opinion. In other words, there are good decisions and bad one's and sadly we may not realize which one they are until that decision has been made. I many times view the use of opinions the same way.
We are told over and over we are a democracy, it was one opinion that became "truth," ignorantly and dangerously and people had the opinion to allow it to become truth without realizing the unintended consequences we now see and still argue about.
We are told that SCOTUS is the final arbiter of man's rights, based on an opinion, given power by tacit consent by the people even when our constitution clearly says otherwise.
We are told that the US should be involed in things it clearly shouldn't be and are clearly stated and now is. The point here that people still have the right to express their opinions but about when they become short-sighted, dangerous or nefarious? If we do not utilize our freedom of speech and the love for thy neighbor, we have allowed such opinions to become law or seen as truth which may have horrific consequences not just for today but tomorrow.
Ironically, today for example, we praise eachother for respecting eachothers opinions but when the government formulates theirs, (or was given the power to) we stand in opposition not realizing or caring about the inconcistency and hypocrisy of that thought. The govenrment at this point when challenged in some degree is confused because the laws created by opinions of the people's representatives have been met without resistance for decades then after a time, people become agitated by them then we ignorantly assume that "authority" is intentionally abusive? Truth is some do know and are intentional but many don't which means that one's ignorant opinion that he had a right to exercise is no better than the unlawful laws passed by those that were of the same ignorant opinion.
Additionally, there is a matter of ignorance and lack of wisdom that should be considered when one speaks. If opinions are made that are dangerous or have no basis or partial basis in fact while ignoring the the foundational basis or total fact, or based mostly on emotion, without that wider peripheral understanding where are we?
If we are told, "you must submit to authority," that formulated opinion that has now become a law and arguably has a legal right of prosecution by that authority are they not entitled to that opinion if you are entitled to yours? Do we lack the understanding that we gave such authority lawful or otherwise by default if the people allow it?
The question isn't necessarily whether to challenge an authority at every instance although one had the freedom to do so, it was to never have allowed that "authority" to have amassed that power without being restrained in the first place. Our failure to provide those limitations is not the fault of the "authority" although we claim they should have known or for certain do know, rather, it is our failure to have properly restained that authority. This, in my mind, makes us ignorant, short sighted and dangerous as well.
Now, that we are where we are today with the "authority" using its opinion, we can clearly see that America that is stated by many to be "built on opinion" was not so much based on opinion, or better stated, not on opinions based on ignorance or emotion but of proper education and intelligence as well as based on the consistency or morality and virtuosity and the realization of unintended consequences.
We have been told we are a democracy not a republic, an opinion that became the accepted narrative but it is clear to me that people, fighting for rights and freedoms still don't know the difference because they don't realize the esssence of democracy, as a temporary and transitioning state sold to allow for everyone to have their own opinion, (in the name of freedom), allow freedom of religion (in the un-American sense of tolerance,) the acceptance of moral, social, religious and philosophical and scientific relativism not realizing the point in the creation of democracies is a stepping stone that in the name of freedom actually leads to chaos, control and ironically to totalitarianism under one thought by the controlling head. This is one reason why Democracies are short lived and violent in thier deaths.
In summary, We not only all have the right to our opinions but we have the right to be wrong as well as the right to suffer from our opinions that we had the right to express. Nevertheless, remember God is the giver or all rights, God granted rights to us and we formed govenrment. God created us to take dominion over the Earth and as God desires to govern his creation, we to were charged, by Him, with governing ours and when we decided not to, that creation now governs its creators. This is probably the worst of all unintended consequences and therein is the crux of the battle.
Just like all Rights, they must be exercised by the those that know that where much is given, much is required.