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Societies do not usually lose their freedom at a blow. They give it up bit by bit, letting themselves be tied down with an infinity of little knots.
As rules and regulations increase, their range of actions is gradually compressed and all
options slowly lessen.
Without noticing the change, they become wards of state. They imagine themselves still free, but in a thousand and one ways, their choices are limited and guided by the authorities. And always, there are what seem to be sensible reasons for letting their autonomy be peeled away - "safety", "health", "social justice", "equal opportunity." *
It is easy to become accustomed to docility. That is why eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Not because liberty is easy to shatter. Because it can be softened and dismantled with the acquiescence of the very men and women from whom it is being stolen.

Jeff Jacoby, columnist, Boston Post

* You may add to this list the latest versions: 'terrorism' and 'homeland security', 'flu-pandemics', 'illegal aliens, and 'security risks' of all kinds etc...
There is another word for all of these . . .  Hobgoblins





                    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it" 

                                                                                                                                                                                             - Thomas Jefferson