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Monday, August 29, 2005

Bad Eagle on Searching Bags, Subway Security and Beyond

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin from Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

I was not quite certain how to approach that line. I have been heistant to embrace it in any way dogmatically because in recent history it has been used by right-wingers and (ironically) uber-leftists in opposition to various logical and reasonable policies set forth in the American War on Terror. My brother thought Franklin's statement was reasonable so I continued thinking about it. To a large extent it is true. Taking the approach that Toqueville would make, even, one sees how liberty provides safety and safety largely opens the door to liberty. They are tried together. Taking away certain liberties removes one's own power regarding his safety and places it in the hands of another, an entity which may be less principled yet certainly arbitrary as to the future of one's safety and liberty. Essentially keeping himself safe as such he is free, although total liberty is not essentially safe. There are, of course, lines between total liberty and "essential liberty" but there are things that are inalienable.

Dr. David Yeagley points out that essential liberties are being robbed of Americans in the case of the increased security measures for the New York City subways (instituted in response to the recent London bombings, and I assume other acts of terrorism) and that while all of this being regarded as "a little inconvenience" it is in reality "a strange preference for idealism over practical necessity." Now consider this
American leaders are selling the idea of national safety as more important that individual freedom. Why? because national safety is not being preserved by the most logical means--deporting the enemy from our shores. Instead, American leaders are pleased to inconvenience the wrong people--Americans!

Oh, but everyone is an American now. Just watch the multicultural ads on TV. "I'm an American!" says this immigrant, that ethnicity, this foreigner, that race. "Were' all American." Why, everyone's bags will be searched, not just Arab Muslims. How comforting. How dignified. How transcendent of all offense.

The price we're paying? We're all less free Americans, and therefore, less American.
We're poking and prodding and investigating any American beyond reason just to avoid hurting the feelings of those reasonably suspected. In fact we invade the spaces of free and contextually innocent American citizens rather than simply removing what just be malovelent people who are nothing more than American residents. I have nothing against protecting the innocent and am certain for weeding the guilty from the innocent. Dr. Yeagely makes the argument that deporting segments of our population (and I assume that he is not referring to actual Americans) is preferable to diluting our universal freedoms. We take away the freedoms of some in specific to protect those of all.

The issue is about focus. It's preferable to deport outsiders than to take a chance for the sake of mercy. Dr. Yeagley also supposes that "there's no point in capturing Bin Laden." He believes that it was the same for Saddam Hussein. "The pursuit of the perpetrators ends in nothing. We've demonstrated that since the beginning." Pursuing the villains that are currently dangerous is a valid tactic. Removing them from within our borders and shoring up our own border security works. Going back into the past is merely a point of revenge, and I think a message is better sent in the destruction of many enemies with their deadly potential rather than trying to make up for a mistake late in the game.

Interestingly we have gone a long way towards sacrificing our own needs just to not appear racist.

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