What does Freedom mean to me? Lots of guns.

The implementation of law allowing for the concealed carry of weapons on University campuses in Texas on August 1st is a perfect example of the increasingly distorted concept of “freedom” in the United States. The backers of the law tout the Second Amendment right to bear arms as being instrumental to the American concept of Liberty, and view an assault on the Second Amendment as an attack on the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution as a whole. This ideological concept of radical Liberty, including the right to bear arms in an academic setting, reveals itself to be problematic when put into practice. The response of Universities in Texas and of law enforcement to this new freedom has been to increase surveillance in order to better protect students and academicians. Not only does this express the inherent danger of increasing access to concealed weaponry, it undermines another, more universal aspect of human liberty: freedom from the threat of government intrusion and surveillance.

What is under threat is not American freedom and liberty, it is a clear presentation of what those concepts mean. If freedom is defined as protecting only the rights enshrined in the Constitution, and those rights are strictly defended against any rational restrictions, then we have, in fact, narrowed our definitions of liberty and freedom. Guns are not a terribly important part of personal freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom from unfair coercion and surveillance by the government are all much more vital to our current system of governance than the unrestricted right to access firearms. These rights are not defended nearly as vociferously as gun rights in most public forums. The myriad opportunities and social safeguards provided by a liberal economic system and an independent judiciary are also keys to personal freedom in the United States. Focusing on such a limited form of freedom elevates it to a more prestigious position than it deserves, and obscures the fact that the benefits it provided to the populace in respect to the government were neutralized by the establishment of 1) a standing army, and 2) modern industrial techniques. The rights to freedom and privacy have not been made moot by changes in technology or institutional structures. If Americans wish to maintain their freedom from government interference it would be better for the citizenry to not make the Second Amendment the priority above all other rights.

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