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Liberty Not for Sale

Posted by on June 11, 2013
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Benjamin Franklin was famously quoted as saying “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”.  Those words have never rung truer than they do today.  Yes, it’s true that Franklin didn’t have a clue about the retrieval and storage of digital data.  However, what Franklin did understand was that once you start trading liberty for safety it doesn’t take long before you will find yourself bankrupt of one, while still lacking the other. 

The common battle cry that has come from both past and present administrations is that it is essential to our security to collect such data in order to identify potential threats.  However, what history has proven is that even with all the data mining our record of preemptive deterrence is spotty at best.  Remember, Ft. Hood and Boston both happened AFTER the data mining had begun.  Unfortunately, what we have also learned the hard way is that the same data that can be gathered for altruistic reasons can also be used just as easily for nefarious ones as well. 

If we must surrender our lifestyles and privacy in order to protect ourselves from threats otherwise unseen then doesn’t that simply mean the enemy has won without needing to fire a shot?  And when we surrender ourselves to our protectors doesn’t that merely open up a second battle front where we must now also protect ourselves from the potential forces of tyranny as well as terrorism? 

Personally, I am of a mindset that those who gave their own full measure of devotion didn’t do so in order that we would all have the privilege of living out our lives in some sort of pseudo protective bubble.  They did it so that we could spread our wings and live our lives unfettered on the path of our choosing.  Yes, there can be dangerous obstacles in our way, but life is full of danger.  The price that has been paid to grant us the freedoms and liberties we have been blessed with has been way too high for them to be surrendered back so cheaply.

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