Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Response To Freedom Vs. Security

Reuben Yakobovich asked a very poignant question in response to my post yesterday, Freedom Vs. Security

Taking the position you do in the freedom vs. security debate begs a fundamental question that Liberals have not been able to adequately answer.

Given the threat posed by the Islamists to convert the world to Islam or kill those that won't (their words, not mine) how would you propose we protect ourselves? Oh, and just to make the task more difficult, how would you protect us against an enemy that welcomes death and uses a violent end to their own lives as a weapon?

While my post yesterday was not to answer such questions, just to explore the fundamental differences between the two views in relation to the founding fathers. The question is legitimate.

I don't have the magic bullet answer to that question as I would like to have. I did, in fact, ask the question myself. Why do liberals hold fundamental freedoms higher than a real and tangible threat?

I guess the answer lies in several options.

One, it is more important to live free than to live secure. As expressed by the New Hampshire license plates so boldly claims, "Live Free or Die." To some people, it is more noble to die on your feet than live on your knees. This is not an absurd position. We have a word for those who adhere to this - Martyr. Many of our Saints would rather die than to renounce their beliefs. Gandhi is another such person, even though he did not die for his cause, he was willing to.

Two, there are ways to both preserve our security without rendering too much of our freedoms. The illegal NSA wiretapping is one example. Conservatives claim that we cannot track terrorist within the framework of FISA. To this, I call BS.

If the FISA court is too overburdened, you expand it capacity! We have spent billions of dollars to fight the war in Iraq. For one millionth of the price it cost to fight that war we could have enough judges to hear every warrant application within 24 hours of its submission. This is well within the 72 hours that the law gives to authorities to retroactively request a warrant. Just because something is slow is no excuse to break the law. You do not have the right to drive on the shoulder of the road just because there is a continual traffic jam. You widen the roads. You make the stop light work in unison. Basically you redesign the system to fit the congestion. Bush would have us believe this is impossible. That is not true. If it is broke, fix it. Don't ignore it.

Three, fighting for security can make you less secure. It depends on how you are fighting for it. By creating a system of fear and perceived oppression, you do not foster security at home or abroad. If you fear the government, you do not have a vested interest in preserving it. It is possible to make it virtually impossible for terrorist to ever strike us again. The Soviet Union was a very secure place, but we saw what happened once the government was no longer able to control the people. When you monitor all people in order to protect the people, you drive all of the people underground, thus making it more difficult to actually differentiate those of us who are a real threat to society, and those of us who are merely disliking the government looking over our shoulder.

This is the same with our actions overseas. Directly after 9/11, we were the victims who were attacked. We had the good will of the world, and they were willing to help us defend ourselves. Subsequent to that, we turned from the victims to the aggressors. The man who had been cold cocked on the street went on a rampage. How does this make us safer? What compels moderate Muslims who were on our side to speak up for us and to aid us in finding those who still wish to harm us. If we do not present an ideological model that is superior to those who wish to harm us, how do we ask others to help us. Currently, the rest of the world can not differentiate us from our enemies. It is just two jerks fighting each other in a bar. No body is jumping in to break up the fight because they are kind of hoping we will knock each other out and leave the rest of them alone.

As for the jihadist that already exist. Frankly there is not much you can do about them except limit the amount of tacit support they receive so as to make their mission more difficult, if not impossible. It is like arguing with someone who is willing to kill women's clinics Dr.s to stop abortion. There is no logic in it. Morality has been hijacked by warped rationalization. The key is not creating new jihadist. There is no way to stop someone who is inststant from converting everyone to Islam any more than those who insist that all people become Christian. The only way to limit this in America is to protect the freedom of religion and to live within the laws that ensure this protection.

There is no easy answer to his question. But I will say that blindly trusting Bush to protect us, and by handing over all of our freedoms to the president so he may do as he seems fit to protect us will bring us neither security or freedom. It has been proven over and over again, the government must work within the bounds of the law or it will abuse its powers. This is not a possibility, but a certainty.

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