When did we forget this statement from one Benjamin Franklin:
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”
Anyone who knows what I’m talking about knows that basically he states that if we trade essential liberty for temporary security, we will ultimately have neither. And yet, not just in America, but some of the rest of the world (including the UK), we forget the value of essential, timeless liberty, in favor of security and preserving “social order”, which is really just a pretense if we’re very honest here.
But I would be remiss I didn’t recognize the possibility that things might be changing. As recently as the past month, a shift in American public opinion regarding civil liberties and counter-terrorism has been noted. Nowadays, people are becoming increasingly aware of the danger to liberty and increasingly concerned that the government is going too far to protect its people to the point of restricting civil liberty. By contrast, nearly 10 years ago, the majority of people believed the government didn’t go far enough to protect the country. It should be noted that back in 2004, America was still in the grip of post-9/11 patriotism and paranoia, while at the same time the horrors of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq started to be revealed.
This may also have affected attitudes towards NSA surveillance in Congress. Recently, both Democrats and Republicans expressed bipartisan opposition to NSA surveillance (a rare case of people from both sides agreeing on anything in their history), and tried take action against it. What’s even stranger is that GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, prime PATRIOT Act author in 2001 and long-time supporter of even the most totalitarian measures against terrorism has come out against the NSA’s shenanigans. But not only has President Obama and his establishment recently been shown to be a defender of the NSA’s same shenanigans, advocating that wiretapping laws cannot be challenged in court, but he’s also found support from GOP officials like Michelle Bachmann (one of the stupidest women on the planet), and Peter King (the aggressively pro-war, anti-Muslim former Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee).
An amendment which sought to de-fund the NSA’s surveilance program was voted on just as recently in Congress. If it passed, it would curtail the ability of the NSA to spy on Americans indiscriminately. Sadly, not only was it defeated on July 24th, but the Obama administration has actively opposed the bill and made common cause with the GOP to block it. In fact, Obama even sent NSA agents to the House in order to try and scare members into thinking that barring the NSA’s collecting of all American phone records would help terrorists. And while this happening, I can bet that Obama and other world leaders are trying to maintain status quo with regards to the NSA’s antics being exposed, with most people probably not caring that the NSA is spying on them and too busy squabbling about gay marriage.
With all this in mind, it’s apparent that, while Americans are becoming more aware of the threat to civil liberties and increasingly disapproving of their representatives (a recent poll suggests that 77% of Americans disapprove of Congress or what it does, while only 17% approve), the American government and officials, along with that of the world, still disregards freedom and essential liberty, and its value, and most of the world still might not realize it.
And the sad thing is, nothing is being done about it.
We need to realize now the value and truth of freedom, and how our liberty may be threatened by the pursuit of social control on the part of our so-called leaders. We must also remember that our “masters” are only our masters if we believe that they are, that they only control us if we believe they have the right to, and the other myths the have created. We must remember that freedom can die as soon as we stop believing in it and fighting for our autonomy, and that it can be reborn once we discover it again.