What's the cost of freedom?
I used to think that freedom was invaluable, that the pursuit of it was worth any price. "Liberty or death," as said Patrick Henry.
Perhaps I still feel that way. Faced with the choice between the slavery of "my people" and violent action, I might very well take up arms. Thankfully, I don't forsee any circumstances in my future that would force that kind of decision, but I feel prepared to face it if I must.
Whether I agree with Henry or disagree, one statement of his sums up the question of cost for me:
For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth -- to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?
Whatever our response to tyranny, we always give up innocence. In a sense, then, there is no price of freedom; rather, innocence is the price of tyranny. No matter the righteousness of the objectors, no matter the outcome of the battle, no matter the numbers of martyrs, innocence is lost to us all.
Woe unto thee, oh peoples of the Earth. Your houses shall fall to ruin, and your children shall be made slaves to their own knowledge and power.