Monday, September 11, 2006

The Price of

Before all other liberties, we must first preserve our right to exist...our right to live. Without that, no other right or liberty matters. I've quoted before on this site, Benjamin Franklin, who said:

"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security."
I still believe that. But the operative word here is "temporary". We seek protection from a significant existential threat to our national security, and make no mistake about it, that solution will involve the submission of some liberties in the name of security. There is a need, from time to time, for the scale to weigh more heavily in favor of security than liberty...not enough to tilt the scale entirely but enough to maintain a balance that is reasonable. Liberty and Security, they are opposite sides of a full spectrum of God given rights expected of all people....the right to live in safety, and the right to be free. One must give for the other to gain.

So does your privacy on the phone outweigh my right to live? Does the government's electronic data mining which tracks and locates terrorist cells and their financiers by monitoring their emails really encroach so heavily on your freedom as to warrant its annulment? Though it's not the government's aim to hunt them down, is anyone besides drug traffickers and child pornographers really worried about this surveillance program? Since it might possibly affect the distribution of drugs and kiddie porn, is it any wonder that the ACLU has taken up the fight against this executive power? I'm struggling with this one. I've spoken against it in the past, not because I believe our President is being anything less than judicious with this power but because I fear what Hilary might do with it, or Gore, or Kerry. Scary as that is to me, I believe that fighting such a dispersed enemy with individual franchises all over the globe would be impossible without the ability to intercept their communication.'s a freedom I'd rather not give up, but of all the ones I have, as a law abiding citizen, it's the one I fear losing the least.

Is this as our forefathers intended? Could they have invisioned the global threat of terrorism? Could they have contemplated, centuries ago, airplanes flying into skyscrapers, a global economy dependent upon oil, unsecured borders, nuclear or biological weapons or even a forward projected military? Times have changed. We are no longer threatened by empirical power hungry monarchs. In all of our technological might, we are vulnerable to one determined man with one crudely constructed bomb. The words of Patrick Henry resonate today as we juggle our need for freedom with the need for a secure country:
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Liberty or Security...Must I choose? I'd rather take both in a delicate balance, for one does me no good without the other.