Your liberty depends on their liberty

Liberty is not a buffet where you pick the parts you like, while trying to deny other people the same freedom.

If you claim to value the Second Amendment, the best way to prove it is to fight violations of the other nine amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. This means defending the actions of people you don't like who are saying things you disagree with (yet harming no other person without their consent).

You will never seek to use laws to prevent a contrary opinion from being expressed. You will oppose unreasonable search and seizure — even when it's called "a checkpoint" or a "drug raid."

Liberty means coming to see that the amendments to the Constitution are not giving you permission to do what you already have a right to do, but making it a serious crime for government to attempt to violate those listed, and unlisted, rights in any way — no matter how "reasonable" those violations may seem to some people.

Even this is barely scratching the surface. Support for liberty goes much deeper.

When the Constitution is wrong and violates individual liberty, courage and consistency demand that you not defend that violation.

Fundamental human rights, from which liberty springs, pre-date the Constitution and even the earliest attempts at government, and cannot be legitimately criminalized by any government.

Liberty is a web where every thread is connected to, and dependent upon, every other thread. Snipping one thread that you don't like weakens the thread that you depend on for your very life.

Every time.

Loving liberty means you will end up defending people and actions that you despise, simply because you recognize that — as long as a person is not attacking or stealing — what they choose to do is none of your business.

Your liberty depends on their liberty.

This is hard for "the right" and "the left" to do. It's easier for libertarians, but not as easy for some as it should be.

It means you don't ask the question "but why would anyone need…?" It isn't about "need" or "want," but about the fact that no one has a right to decide that for anyone else.

If you are a timid person who is hoping for comfort or guarantees, liberty probably isn't the path for you. Move along; nothing to see here. There will always be someone pandering to your fears.

Kent McManigal is a freelance writer who sometimes offers commentary on our websites. Contact him at:

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