The debate about liberty vs. security seems to be taking center stage with the recent disturbing revelations about the NSA snooping.
Senator John McCain ridiculously said over the weekend, “If this was Sept. 12, 2001, we might not be having the argument that we are having today.”
While probably true, that doesn’t necessarily make it smart or prudent. And if you ask me, it’s a little ghastly to keep throwing 9/11 in our faces every time the government wants a little more authority to “protect” us. And to say this just weeks after it was shown to all of us that the government will abuse its powers in pursuit of pure partisanship is even more off putting. Make no mistake, government will abuse its power because government is run by man and man is corrupt. If not, we’d still be in the Garden of Eden.
On top of that, there have been plenty of attacks which have occurred in recent years that all of our increased security doesn’t seem to have prevented.
And here’s the worst part. We don’t even need a 9/11 to surrender our freedoms. It’s not only being done in the name of security. Examples such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s big soda ban to judges forcing wedding photographers to take part in events that go against their religious beliefs abound.
I don’t know how this country survives like that. When men and women died for our country in the past they died for the ideals of freedom. In the future, perhaps the rallying cry will be “Free contraception!”
President Obama said Friday, in his remarks on the NSA surveillance story: “I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience.”
On the other hand, Benjamin Franklin said about two hundred years ago, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
In that debate, I lean Franklin. But I’m not immune to the need for security. It’s easy to make a blanket statement about liberty but when tempered with the idea of actual people being killed or injured it must give pause. If there is a terrorist incident that kills Americans again, many would say they’d be willing to give up their freedom to ensure that didn’t happen again.
One of the major problems with that is that you’re not just giving up your freedom voluntarily. You’re empowering a government to take other people’s freedoms involuntarily. The freedom you surrender is not only your own.
There’s a discussion needed. Not a government that says “trust me.”