Once you combine and assess a person’s education, travel, and life experiences, you determine the rank of that person in a society. The more complex a person’s education, travel, and life experiences, the higher their rank and the more acute their responsibility becomes in preserving balance, equilibrium, order, peace, and social harmony in a nation and society. I have travelled to many countries around the world through the course of my life. One of the conclusions I have drawn from education, life experience, and travel is that social order and peace hinge upon mainly one thing, namely, the rule of law.

Whether leadership or the rule of law is more important in preserving order and peace in a society is something that is debatable. But what the rule of law is designed to do in Western societies is to maintain a fine balance between freedom and security. In Western politics and government, the main concern is knowing how a nation or a society preserves balance and equilibrium between freedom and security. Where do we draw the line between freedom and security? How hard should authorities come down on certain people who have used freedom as a pretext for spurring corruption and war crimes? And on the other hand, how should we calibrate security concerns so that people’s freedoms are not wrongfully taken away?

            These are questions that have been deeply assessed from the start of the modern period in Western history. Before Machiavelli and Hobbes and well into the Medieval Age, we had the British ‘Magna Carta’ and the foundations of democracy and notions of freedom in the West. But with Machiavelli and Hobbes came the modern period, and with the modern period came scientific views about human nature. By virtue of Machiavelli and Hobbes, many people adopted a pessimistic view of human nature, and thus control and security trumps everything according to some folks because of the inherently corrupt nature of human beings. Locke and Hume came in to countervail Machiavelli and Hobbes, in the sense that freedom is the primary characteristic of human nature, and that freedom had to be preserved as a result of natural law. Positive law had to be a reflection of natural law, and natural law is predicated upon freedom, not control.

            Thus, based on Locke and Hume, American government and law is predicated upon the natural principle of freedom. America is not necessarily about the people in power, but about the principles. And the key principle underlying the American system is freedom, not control. But as of late, Eastern countries have made the control principle credible again as they witnessed social order and peace break down in the United States as a result of more than two decades of corruption and war. In the view of Eastern peoples in general, too much freedom enables corruption and war, and thus a breakdown of social order and peace.

Thus, the American system in their view has inherent defects and flaws that can only be rectified by a certain modicum of control and leadership. In light of the zero-sum game in the United States between an establishment class that has a history of war crimes and is thus perpetuating corruption and war in order to avoid accountability and truth on one hand, and a populist class that resembles an insurgency and is largely armed and fueled by anger and frustration on the other hand, American security organs (i.e., military, police, and intelligence) must assess and juxtapose America’s tradition of democracy and freedom alongside a need for control and security amidst what could be a dangerous economic, political, and social climate in the United States over the next three years or so. The debate over freedom versus control is the oldest debate in the history of humankind. But it is still relevant to this day and age.

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