When the Price of Security is Too High

Being human often means growing up in a struggle for survival. Before we had jobs and commerce like we have today, survival consisted of hunting or farming. Maybe somewhere along the way, we have that intense struggle and fear still floating in the specie’s subconscious even though for most of us, we probably couldn’t compare our lives to any of our cavemen brethren. It’s pretty hard though to fully understand that since people in today’s culture strive in some sort of uber-survival mode that isn’t even necessary anymore.

Part of that comes with idea that we are meant to retire at some age and live out our golden years lying on a beach in Florida. This is seen as the ideal old age, and maybe it is. I don’t know. I’m not there yet. Our whole working lives are not based on whether we are contributing to society, feel happy within ourselves, or even if we are doing what we want to do. It’s based on the idea that we must make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time so we can finally retire and stop working. It seems even if we “do it right” we may never get to do what we want because we’ll be too old to do it by then!

Towards that fantastic illusion of economic security, the governments used to guarantee Social Security, health care, and other nice benefits. All of this is slowly falling apart. I listen in pure disbelief when I hear people tell me how they have health insurance but their “co-pay” was $130 for an office visit. I’m not sure how the system is supposed to be working since I can certainly find a cheaper doctor paying out-of-pocket. The truth is that once you are part of a system, you lose a bit of your freedom of choice. You can’t choose the doctor you want, you have to go with an approved list. You can’t make your own decisions about your own body because it may not be covered. Or like Terri Shiavo, you aren’t even allowed to die until the Supreme Court hears your case. Even the most natural of human events becomes entangled in the system. I wonder if Terri would have been on life support in the first place if she had had no health insurance. Soon, it becomes apparent that by opting for security, we end up loosing our freedom. Instead of using the system, the system uses us.

This is becoming more and more evident in many areas of our society. Marriages are becoming less common and divorces more frequent. People are starting to realize that there is a price to security, and often it is just too high. As our soldiers do their duty and follow the rules of the system, many are now questioning whether Bush’s price for homeland security is just too high. Since 9/11 we have been forced as a nation to ask ourselves: “What price will we pay for our security?” I find it rather ironic considering that we used to ask: “What price are we willing to pay for our freedom?”

So, it comes down to this…security versus freedom. We are asked to be part of a system that guarantees our security, however, at the cost of our personal freedoms. It is neither right nor wrong. It is a choice. And I think, that is what we often forget. Our lives are created by the myriad of choices we make. No one forces us to carry health insurance. No one forces us to work in a job we hate. No one forces us to stay married to an incompatible spouse. These are all choices that we made one day and that we feel obliged to continue for the sake of our own security. Interestingly enough, there are many more people finding out that freedom requires an attitude that doesn’t covet security, but honors it when it appears. It’s not a guarantee, because we realize life has no guarantees.

The people who founded our nation were not security-seekers. They were risk-takers. That was their choice and it also is neither right or wrong. The point is that we all have choices and we can learn that we don’t always need to choose the safe options. Sometimes our souls long for the riskier ventures and that’s all right too. Regardless, it’s a personal choice and there need not be any comparisons for those that choose to live on the fringes of the system than those who want to be more embedded in it.

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