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Liberty hangs in the balance


By Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard

The first full week of November, I attended the Claremont Institute’s Sheriff’s Fellowship training seminar in Huntington Beach, California. Staff from Claremont recruited me and paid all related costs of attendance, so it was hard to say no. After attending, I can say it was well worth my time.

The Claremont Institute is a conservative think-tank who saw the value of sheriffs in 2020, when so many of us nationwide stood against unconstitutional and illegal executive orders and other mandates during the COVID-19 era. They developed their training seminar in 2021 to help better equip interested sheriffs to know their constitutional authority and how to confront and combat modern day issues that threaten public safety and liberty.

For those of you that have followed my op-eds for the past three or so years, you know how much I have stressed the importance of protecting our liberties. I was impressed how passionate the presenters were during the seminar. One of the best definitions of liberty I have ever heard came from one of the sessions. Liberty was defined as the freedom to use just restraint so a balance between tyranny and anarchy is maintained.

Let’s take a look at that definition more. Just restraint for a law-abiding citizen or someone with a good moral core is relatively simple on any given day. These people don’t need a law to tell them murder, rape, or stealing is wrong. They just won’t do it and pass it down through each generation. However, there are those in society without that moral core, so laws are needed to restrain them. If there are no laws for this purpose, then those lacking just restraint have too much freedom, will commit those bad acts more frequently, and we drift out of balance towards anarchy. If we try to legislate or govern all forms of morality, though, we become buried in too many laws, giving those in authority too much power, and we drift out of balance towards tyranny.

Watching our society today, we see how liberty hangs in the balance. A balance that some are intentionally manipulating for their own benefit. As we see increasing pushes by this state and our current federal leadership to reduce prison populations, prison sentences, and other deterrents like cash bail, we see lawlessness increase, because those lacking the moral core are repeatedly released back out into society to reoffend. Violent groups like ANTIFA are not only allowed in some cities to riot, but they are also encouraged through the grandstanding of some advocates and politicians.

As we get closer to anarchy in some areas, many of these same advocates and politicians use the anarchy as their justification to pass more laws, which predominantly affects those not even involved with the crimes causing anarchy to begin with (gun control laws being top of the list). The weight of these laws is like a tyrannical boot standing on the chest of liberty, pushing and keeping it down. Imagine a picture of Uncle Sam lying flat on his back, with Adolph Hitler (or substitute with any tyrant or dictator) standing over him, with their boot on Uncle Sam’s chest.

One problem we see today is an attempt to change what should be in our moral core. What used to be “old-fashioned” right and wrong principals, making for a solid immovable foundation of laws, has turned into a flexible and unstable platform of emotion-based social causes. It is almost impossible to legislate that kind of moral moving target, and we are seeing plenty of evidence to that fact. Uncle Sam cannot regain his footing to fight off Hitler, because there is no stable foundation for him to get a footing. What makes it worse is Uncle Sam can see, all around him, many who now support Hitler’s cause, or are too afraid to step up, knock Hitler on his rear, and help Uncle Sam back to his feet.

There cannot be just restraint in our society without reestablishing clear and appropriate consequences for bad behavior in our homes, schools, and society. These consequences must fit the behavior, be clearly unpleasant for the offender, and send a message to all others that would consider repeating that conduct it would be unwise. Those consequences used to exist but have now been eroded to such a point they are ineffective in many communities.

Uncle Sam needs our help getting back on his feet, so he can defend liberty once more. He needs us to be involved, knowledgeable, and vocal. Seek factual information on topics of concern to you and your family. Voice your concerns at public forums like council and board meetings. Support organizations involved in the political process that represent your belief system with your wallet. Vote in every election for candidates that come as close to your values as possible. Most importantly, be an example of what is good in your daily lives. James 1:25 says, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

Feel free to contact me at sheriffjeffbullard@gmail.com. Thank you and stay safe everyone.

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