Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Trading Liberty For Security?

From Prof. Long's original e-mail:

I see you are going to be on a panel discussing how the world has changed since 9/11. Queries: Are you going to explain to everyone how the American people were manipulated into an un-winnable war (or two)? How the American people are foolishly trading in liberties for mere promises of security?

The first question is so loaded that I just won't get into it- whether or not a war is winnable depends on how you define your goals. It was the second question that piqued my interest. Are we foolishly trading in liberties for security? Yes, without a doubt. Does this have to do with 9-11? Ehhhhhh ....

I take major issue with self-avowed civil libertarians who protest every Bush administration action in the war on terror, yet remain silent as government on all levels encroaches on our individual rights in the name of "public health" or just plain protecting us from our own bad decisions. The war on terror has given us government intrusion on phone company records, warrantless wiretapping of phone calls from outside the country, and librarians boldly protecting their patrons reading records. Forgive me if I'm not so concerned.

* The War On Drugs, which makes criminals out of people who choose to ingest certain non-socially acceptable substances in the privacy of their own homes. The war on drugs frequently violates the rights of people not guilty of any crime through botched paramilitary drug raids and asset forfeiture laws that allow police to keep cars, cash and other assets seized in drug arrests even if no charges are ever filed.

* Laws passed in the name of public health, like smoking bans and junk food bans. There is an ever growing war on food which threatens our freedom to make choices about the food we eat.

* And while we're at it, what about social security, a forced government retirement program? What if I don't want to save for retirement- or what if I want to save myself? Too bad- the government is going to make me do it, and take money out of every paycheck for it.

If we wanted to we could go find regulation after regulation, law after law, which in some way infringes on our liberties. To me, the chance that my phone calls might be overheard- or a two hour wait at the airport- is not quite the same as innocent people killed in a botched paramilitary drug raid. I'd rather have my social security money back than have privacy for my library records.

Yes there are legitimate civil liberty concerns in regards to the war on terror- but so far, most of what I've heard pales in comparison to the other abuses we face from government on a regular basis.


Blogger A Fan For All Seasons said...

Everytime you post on the drug war, I just get angrier and angrier. You just don't get. First of all, these drugs "which makes criminals out of people who choose to ingest certain non-socially acceptable substances in the privacy of their own homes" are also illegal. It is illegal to buy, sell, or distribute many drugs. Also, a lot of drugs aren't just taken in the privacy of homes. Ecstacy is a party drug, cocaine can be used and is used in public places, like bars or restaurants. When that's the case, people who are now under the influence of drugs are a danger to others.

One other thing you don't get is the danger drugs have on the users. So many of us non-users think that we'd have the will power to resist another line of coke, or another E tablet, but the bottom line is you have no idea. I know someone who is trying to quit cocaine use. He lied to me for several months about already quitting and now he has finally decided to stop because of backlash from friends and family, and who knows if he can remain sober without real help. Does that sound like a harmless drug that is just not accepted by society? No. I mean, God forbid people try to prevent this behavior. Honestly, when you say stuff like that, it makes me realize you have no real care for individuals. Yea you want them to do whatever they want, but do the benefits outweigh the costs?

A big problem is, you think if we legalize drugs all the black markets will go away, there will be no more drug related crime, and everyone will dance and sing under rainbows. WRONG. There will be a black market for drugs, which will lead to crime. Why you ask? First, there are way too many drug rings around right now. There is no way they would just stop and allow drug companies to sell cocaine. Also, there are many drug users who are poor, and if it costs $9 for a bottle of aspirin, how much do you think a gram of coke will cost? There is so much more I could ramble on about, but I know all you care about are peoples "rights", and not their well being.

12:32 PM  

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