Essential Liberty

Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

When we were in junior high, we had an assignment from one of our teachers.  We were asked to draw a picture of fashion as we thought it would look 10 years in the future.  The pictures were wild and fantastic, and you know what?  Not one of them was accurate.  Part of this could be that fashion is extremely hard to predict within the same year let alone 10 years hence, but we think it is more than that.  Predicting the future was only ever successful by the Old Testament Prophets.  If you aren't accurate 100% of the time then really you are just guessing.

As a society we use the internet to great benefit (this blog being one of them).  Fifteen years ago, this simply would not have been possible.  We have opened up new avenues of communication that even the greatest sci-fi writers of the 1950's could never have imagined.  That is why it is hard to see a problem with all of this technology until after it is too late to stop.  Until the last decade the technology didn't exist to record all forms of communication and store them for later analysis.  This had been thought to be impossible since it would require too many NSA employees to physically log through the amount of data collected.  As we have all recently learned, not only is it happening, it is happening with all aspects of what we do on a daily basis.

Regardless of how you feel about Edward Snowden, that information is now out in the public.  What we do with it will say more about us.  We have no privacy.  We are being told by our government we have no right to privacy.  Truthfully, the founding fathers could never have conceived of the technology we have today and therefore could not have written the constitution or any of the amendments to address this.

How much of our liberty should we be willing to give up for safety (temporary or otherwise).  Are you willing to give up any pretense of innocent until proven guilty?  How about every form of communication in this country (and others) being saved for future review at a time and place of our government's choosing?  Do you believe that if you have nothing to hide then there is no reason to be concerned?  We here at Political Dogma believe that there need to be limits to what one branch of the government can do to the rest of us.  There needs to be more oversight and less secrecy.  We are not saying there aren't secrets in any government.  We would be the first to admit that complete openness on the part of our government would hinder diplomatic relationships and reduce our ability to survive in this world.  In a perfect world, there would be no need for diplomats because there would be no strife amongst countries.  We don't live there and if history is any judge we probably never will.

We are not willing to give up any perceived right to privacy (although not spelled out in the US Constitution or any subsequent amendments).  We would demand that as has happened in the past, we amend the constitution to give us the privacy we deserve.  Allowing the government to take complete control of our lives was envisioned by George Orwell in 1984.  That is not the future I am looking forward to, how about you?

The words of Benjamin Franklin should ring in your ears.  Are we giving up liberty or essential liberty by allowing our government to spy on our citizens?  Franklin may have been able to tell the difference, but we are not sure it is so clear today.

Our government is telling us:

  • We need to pass laws without reading them.  
  • While certain laws apply to some, they don't apply to all.  
  • We need to know everything that you speak, write or watch so that we can protect you
  • We need to control every aspect of your life, finances and thoughts to provide a better life for all.
  • Trust us, we know what is best for you and don't ask too many questions.

We are not comfortable with giving up what many throughout the history of this country have given their lives to earn and maintain.  We don't believe abdicating our free will in any way protects our lifestyle and liberties.  We believe that you are the best stewards of your money.  We believe that you have a right to ask that those in your government to have your best interest in mind when making decisions that affect you.  We believe that all laws in this country apply to all.  Either we succeed together or we fail separately.  We leave you this week with two quotes from two of our founding fathers.

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.  I do not add "within the limits of the law" because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. - Thomas Jefferson
It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it. - George Washington