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Freedom or Security?
September 11, 2003
By Frank Lovato

While getting ready to go to work this morning, I was listening to the TV morning news. The newsperson asked a caller if she would give up "a little freedom" for additional security and she answered, "Yes." All the time I was in the shower I kept thinking why that sounded so stupid. My initial reaction was that giving up a "little freedom" is very much like giving up a "little virginity."

If I were asked that question, my answer would have been a very emphatic NO. But why?

I guess the shower is a good place to think because not much gray matter is utilized to rub soap on your self and let the water wash it off. The first thing I thought was, is there a direct trade off between freedom and security? Can you put them on a balance scale and measure one against the other? Way back when I was in school I was taught that insight into a logic problem could be obtained by "driving it to the absurd." (If that is not the right term, please remember it has been a long time since I took a logic class.)

So I asked my self where and when did people have the least amount of freedom. I immediately thought of Nazi Germany and the USSR. These governments repressed almost all personal freedoms - but did that in turn allow their people to live in complete security?

Drying off it came to me that the Gestapo in Nazi Germany and the KGB in the USSR could arrest or kill anyone at any time for any reason. So the very government that was supposed to guarantee security was actually the greatest threat to that security. Logically, giving up freedom in no way provides more security. They are not on the same scale so they can be traded like sugar or rice.

I then decided to flip the logic coin: does freedom guarantee security? The answer is, again, a very emphatic NO. With a lot of luck and dedication a group of fanatics hijacked four planes, flew them into buildings and killed thousands of innocents along with themselves. In an imperfect world, there is no such thing a perfect security - but did those fanatics actually endanger the security of the nation?

They destroyed the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, disrupted the economy, killed thousands of innocent people, and affected countless others either related by family or related by humanity. But in no way was the nation as a whole endangered. What was endangered was our freedom - and not by the attackers but by our very own government.

Capitalizing on the shock, anger, and fear generated by these awesomely terrible acts, the Bush administration drove through the Congress the so called "Patriot Act" that legalized taking away our freedoms but in no way increased our security. They now can arrest American citizens just like the Gestapo in Germany or the KGB in the USSR - without writ or warrant or due process. If allowed to remain, this perverted law and the subsequent Patriot Act II being proposed will just diminish our freedoms even more.

While combing my hair I came to the great realization that we are letting ourselves in for an American dictatorship if we allow our freedoms to be taken away piece by piece for the illusion of security. What is being offered is the security of the child, the slave, or the animal - they have no say into what will become of their lives. We have not existed as a free people for over two hundred years just to allow fear to make us give up our freedom. No foreign power has been successful in taking our freedom from us, but I fear we may be on the path to willfully surrendering it to the rich and powerful now in control of our government.

Amazing what a guy can think of getting ready to go to work.

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