While there are many prices to pay for freedom, eternal vigilence not least among them, the highest price is the one we pay in security. Often people, when they speak of why the U.S. is such a bad place to live, point to the crime rates. What they do not realize is that this is part of the price we pay for freedom. It is an unfortunate choice to have to make, between the possibility of the government robbing or murdering you (the Soviet Union had a very low murder rate) or a criminal doing it. All in all I would choose the criminal. There are many reasons for this. In a free society I would be equipped with the means to deal with the criminal, i.e. firearms. In a totalitarian society I would be discouraged from having even the most basic weapons of self-defense, and most likely prohibited by law. If I must defend myself against a criminal I will be praised by the society and the government. If I must defend myself against the government I will be either condemned by society, or they will be too frightened to say anything. The government's reaction will be even more unpleasant.

Now, to describe only two options would be to paint in strokes that are far too broad. The very existence of a government is an encroachment on my freedom, yet I, and almost all other humans, willingly accept this, because we feel the trade off is a good one. What we face is the choice of where freedom should stop, and security begin. Since the formation of democratic societies this has been a pivitol question, even more so now that our freedoms are being ever more rapidly stripped in the name of the common good. Where the line should be drawn I will leave for another node, but any discussion about issues such as hate crimes legislation, gun control, hate speech laws, abortion, etc. cannot be relevant if this price of freedom is not acknowledged.

The price of freedom is no more evident than in the city-state of classical Athens. Citizens of the polis worked hard for their freedom. Maintaining it was their daily task. After the Athenian demise, philosophers discussed how to retrieve that freedom. The Greek system, and any system based on freedom, gave citizens freedom at the price of time.

The average Athenian male was a full-time citizen. The men would attend lectures and debates. At these lectures and debates, each man would contribute his ideas. Participation was not only mandatory, it was a civic responsibility. Each man had a post in the government. Men who did not participate in government were not fulfilling their duties as a citizen. People gave much time to maintain their freedom. In today’s world, some people give up time to maintain basic rights. Election Day is a prime example. Voters take time out of their day and vote. People that are more active watch debates and collect information on candidates. Another civic duty is serving on a jury. Many people try to avoid serving. However, this is just as important as fighting a war. While the Greek city-state and American democracy are not very similar on the surface, they are based on the same idea. In Plato’s Republic, the ruling order was derived of the most educated, the just, and the righteous. In order for a society to remain free, this ruling order had to do their job. The ruling order, therefore, had to devote their lives to education, instead of pursuing their desires. This is much like serving public office. Normal citizens, or those who are not public servants, help maintain their freedom by protecting their rights. John Locke wrote that if a government infringes on the rights of the people, the people must form a new government. All of this, the maintenance of a government, the service within a government, the protection of that government, and the examination of that government, takes an enormous amount of time. To enjoy freedom, the peoples that make up a government must devote much of their time.

In order to achieve the status of a free society, many sacrifices need to be made. History has shown that some cases were peaceful transitions, and others were more tragic. For India and Pakistan, freedom from the British was achieved through Ghandi’s civil disobedience. People who wanted freedom sacrificed their bodies in a non-violent protest. Vietnam had a different story. The Vietnamese wanted freedom from France. This was gained though years of fighting. Both involved physical pain and death. The price of freedom was very high.

The Greeks forgot about the sacrifices needed to maintain freedom. As their Golden Age progressed, their attention was diverted to conquests and wealth. Basically, the modern phase, "Sex, Drugs, and Rock'n'Roll". Fewer people continued their dedication to political life. These mistakes led to the Spartan conquest of Athens. The Athenian government had lost the support of the citizens, so the Athenian citizens lost their freedom.

Many people believe the price of freedom is only seen in a revolution. Freedom is a constant sacrifice. Once freedom is gained, time must be devoted in order to maintain freedom. Community members must vote, serve on juries, and serve others from a political standpoint and from a military standpoint.

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