Many theories and assumptions have been fabricated upon the basis of man’s desires and beliefs. H. L. Mencken wrote, “The average man does not want to be free, only to be safe. ” However, this observation does not correlate with what has been witnessed over the course of contemporary society. Since the 18th century, man has sacrificed safety for a reward that is much more paramount, freedom. Patrick Henry, an orator for freedom in the middle to late 1700’s, knew that liberty was a vital necessity in every man’s life, and that one must do whatever it takes, including sacrificing their security, in order to achieve it.
In his speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses, he is most memorably quoted for his concluding antithesis, “Give me liberty, or give me death! ” Henry conveyed to his audience, as well as the entire nation, that freedom is a virtue worth dying for.
Mencken’s allegation fails to attribute this instance, even though Patrick Henry was able to convince a whole nation that their liberty was worth dying for. In the past we have had many examples of security vs. freedom. During the civil war we had soldiers and people fighting to be free.
They risked their own life everyday stepping out on the battle field just so they could have their own rights. This also happens in the American Revolution; people fight and risk their lives for freedom. Many events in history show how much people truly care about their freedom. Our Founding Fathers created this nation so we wouldn’t have to be living in a society full of regulation. Freedom vs. Security is a non-stop debate in our country. However, freedom is unalienable. Freedom is what keeps the common man happy. Freedom allows us to treat every day as a new day, knowing that we can do and accomplish anything because we are free.
On the other hand, while safety is what keeps man calm and secure, it is not what our nation thrives off of. Security is a blanket, while freedom is a threshold. Therefore it is desired, while security is expected. No man cries out for safety, but the same cannot be said about freedom. Freedom gives us hope and excitement, while security gives assurance. Both are essential, yet only one is craved. Mencken’s presumption of what man wants, and what man deserves are in disarray. Freedom is everything, and not even safety can over shadow it.