06 February 2009

Freedom vs. Security

When plagues, famines, wars, earthquakes, and other disasters afflicted our pagan ancestors in ancient times, they attempted to appease their gods by destroying that which they held dearest in the form of a sacrifice. This sacrifice was intended to appease deific anger and restore order, peace and prosperity.

In modern times, in spite of all our technological and philosophical advances, we still resort to this primitive response to adversity. And what do we hold most dear as citizens of this republic? Our freedom.

Whenever a crisis strikes, longstanding bureaucratic wish lists are transformed into "essential" anti-terrorist precautions, economic stimulus packages, or bailouts. This is not a party-specific phenomenon; Clinton did it, Bush did it, and Obama has already done it. Not only is this irresponsibile, but it is fundamentally flawed when viewed in the light of the Constitution. Our first reaction when a disaster of any kind occurs is to protect ourselves. But asking the government to save us by imposing more severe restrictions on its citizens is irresponsible and unconstitutional. As Benjamin Franklin said in a proposition at the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1775,
The [United States] must suffer all the hazards and mischiefs of war, rather than admit the alteration of their characters and laws by parliament. They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. [emphasis mine]

1 comment:

  1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/05/AR2009020502766.html?sub=AR
    Case in point?