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.