On a flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C., in 1981, I sat beside a U.S. foreign service officer who had just finished a stint in Moscow. He told me that although he had enjoyed the job, he needed to get his family back to America because he wanted his children to grow up understanding what it was like to live in a free country. His children were only aged five and seven. “In what ways would your children have even known they were not living in a free society?” I asked. He answered: “They noticed that when we traveled, we, and those around us, had to show an ID to a government official. You couldn’t travel freely.”

Although he probably doesn’t remember that conversation, I wonder if he remembers the thoughts that caused him to return to the United States. The reason I wonder is that Americans are no longer free to travel by commercial air without showing a government official a government-issued ID. So the freedom that he sought in the United States no longer exists. In an important way, the United States has become Sovietized.

This is the opening two paragraphs from my recently published article, “The Decline in Civil Liberties,” The Freeman, September 2010.

At the end of the article, I give some good news, some from the United States and some from Britain.