Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A nation of cowards?

Another poll, another set of data that suggest maybe Americans don't value their freedom as much as they say they do.

This one suggests that a majority of Americans — including, no doubt, many of the "get your government hands off my Medicare" types — are willing to trade freedoms for security.

At some level, it's common sense. We do this all the time. Think stop lights and speed limits — we give up our freedom to drive however the hell we want in the interest of public safety. Because obeying a certain set of rules makes us all less likely to end up roadkill.

But what we're talking about here is different.

We're talking in the context of national security, giving the government widespread power to search and snoop without warrants or other advance notice. The bogeyman of terrorism, since Sept. 11, 2001, has been used to justify all sorts of government overreach, and our federal government is perhaps more cloaked in secrecy than ever before.

Government secrecy — and untouchable authority — is the enemy of republicanism and democracy. And now we have proof that a majority of U.S. citizens seem willing to go along for that ride.

I'll leave today with one thought, cribbed from the mind of none other than Ben Franklin: "Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

You can bet Ben wasn't talking about traffic signals.

1 comment:

Wesley Swanigan said...

"Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."
- Amen, brother!