In seeking security for those we care for, whether it is physical or economic, a defense against a predatory world, access to food and clean water, or the safety of our children, we would do well to consider the civil order and stability that security requires.
Safety and well-being depend on the conditions we put in place around us, and therefore upon our ability to forge dependable, trustworthy relationships and to create a safe physical environment.
Practical necessity may require us to organize among ourselves to meet our own needs. It may also be wise to consider, carefully and rationally, the potential for sociopathic violence. But, let’s be clear: The potential for violence is only one among a wide range of security concerns. I will touch on a number of these, as well as to address the way we think about and prepare for possible violence.
As social and economic conditions deteriorate, we will experience the failure of institutions and systems that we have depended upon to provide our basic needs. Our neighborhoods may feel less safe. Police protection may become less effective. We are likely to see some among our fellow citizens become disoriented, lose their bearings and become prone to irrational behavior.
Access to food may become inconsistent if we do not learn how to produce it for ourselves.
Ultimately, we may find ourselves entirely dependent upon our own resourcefulness. The greatest test for some may be the sudden recognition that we do not really know how to be self-sufficient. Our security will depend on how we respond to these challenges.
As we experience the social disorder caused by the past actions of misguided politicians, central planners, and the self-absorbed interests of large corporations, I expect it will become increasingly clear that we must assume responsibility for our own necessities. And so, as we find our way forward in a new world, it will become apparent that the requirements of security are in fact the requirements of stable communities.
That said, we need to be realistic about the relative nature of security.
President Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general, reminded us of the limits: “If you want total security,” he said, “go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.”
Helen Keller also had a way of putting things in perspective rather well. As many of you know, Helen Keller was born both deaf and blind. This gave her insights into life that the rest of us would do well to think about. Commenting on security, Helen said:
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
Indeed, fear often interferes with our ability to address problems and remain level-headed in difficult circumstances.
However, security concerns must be addressed if we seek to keep our families safe and our communities productive. In the words of Rand Beers, “the precondition to freedom is security.”
And what is the precondition of security? Well, freedom depends on security, which depends on stability, which in turn, depends upon trust, dependability, and constructive action.
We have already discussed the critical importance of trust and dependability at length. But, constructive action, guided by a sense of purpose, may be more important than we realize. Shared purpose will be the only way to navigate through dark times. Indeed, John W. Gardner stated it clearly: “The only stability possible is stability in motion.”
The relative stability of communities will determine our success or failure.
Stability will be the foundation upon which we rebuild the American Republic. It will help us think clearly and to respond with greater confidence to what the world throws at us.
We cannot be tentative about this. Building dependable, trustworthy communities will be hard work. Our security will depend on it.
Next week: Stability and Constructive Action