Jefferson's democracy

Franklin Jefferson's thoughts on the world

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Security and Democracy

The Chicago Tribune
The article quotes Congressman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) as saying that this issue is this: "You have no civil liberties if you are dead."

Patriot Patrick Henry once expressed the opposite view. He said "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

Or, to quite Benjamin Franklin, "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

It seems that the government is asking us to give them our liberty and our privacy, and saying that we should just trust them not to misuse it. But, if we give away our liberty and our privacy for a never-ending war, will we ever get them back? It's not just a question of trusting this administration, but trusting every administration in the future never to misuse the powers we are giving them. Because they will continue to use the same arguments, of course. This is always the argument for taking away liberty, that they're doing it for our own good.

And it gets worse exponentially. The politicians that don't use the power we give them to spy on political opponents in secret and increase their own power, well, those ones don't stay in power as long as the ones who are more ruthless (and secret) about using their power to stay in power.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
--Lord Acton, 1887

We may need some limit on the absolute power.


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