A while back I spent a quick bit of time researching Thomas Jefferson misquote that is often quoted by liberals to mask their anti-US behavior as patriotic. So when I read this Benjamin Franklin quote on the Whatcom County Democrats site I kind of chuckled, knowing that Ben Franklin like most founding fathers new that certain liberties must be forfeited for the good of the nation. I also chuckled because I knew the Democrats were trying to imply that Repulicans are taking away our liberties. Yet I knew that Ben Franklin started the whole spying business in our nation.
But what about this quote; when and why did Ben Franklin say this? Or, back up, did he say this?
A thought from Benjamin Franklin
“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security.”
What I found was that Ben Franklin did say this although the original quote was a little different.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety
I also found that it had a very specific target audience in pre-Revolution America. The situation involved Indians, the French, American Colonists and English Governors. The issue was over whether colonist should retain local control of guns and militia for defending themselves or should they relinquish control of their defense to a centralized English government.
So the “they” or “those” were American Colonists and the “essential liberty” was their right to bear arms and raise militia to deal with local threats be they Indian, French or perhaps British. And the “purchase a little temporary safety” referred to paying taxes to the British government for security rather than spending the same money on their own guns.
Ben Franklin was commenting on the gun control issue of his day. And it is not much different than today. Do we give up our guns, our essential liberty, or do we hope and pray that the government who we pay taxes to will be there when savages and/or the French are breaking through our door.
So does the presence of this quote on the Whatcom County Democrats site mean they are against gun control or does it mean they don’t understand the quote nor Ben Franklin? Wally thinks the latter.