Would Ben stand by this statement?...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    Benjamin Franklin

    ...after 9/11?

    ...how about after the NSA leaker scandal?

  2. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Wonder what the dead terrorist victims would say? It's easy for the living to make a statement cause most think it will never happen to them.
  3. renewed macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2009
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    I think he would stand by it.

    Look, what a lot of people fail to realize is terrorism isn't just about killing people. It is about provoking fear and disrupting a nation. The terrorists are certainly winning and I feel much of our government have falling into their trap.
  4. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    yes. I believe he would. If we give up our liberties under the veil of safety, how many more liberties will we have left? Where would it stop?

    Shoes off at the airport now. Unless with a gate pass, you can't go to the gates with your family. The TSA just had to remove machinery that the taxpayer spent millions of dollars on that basically put out pictures that could be in the nude to scan for things on you. All in the name of safety. Now, we have the option to pay more money to be subjected to more scrutiny to be able to avoid it.

    It's sad that under the guise of safety, a mother has to present her child's breast milk for scanning for dangerous chemicals to board a plane.

    Wiretapping. extraordinary use of FISA. PATRIOT Act. All in the guise of safety, which was all reactive to something they could have stopped without such measures.

    Referencing bin Laden, the primary mission of 9/11 was to install fear into the lives of Americans. They did that by finishing what they attempted in 1996, which was to destroy the WTC. When they bombed it then, we didn't have such rules and regs thrown at us, and we were just fine. Now? we've shown that we can't be 'safe' without these, yet were more free when we didn't have it.

    We really don't have the 'freedom' we had, as with all of the 'safety', it feels more like a farce or an exaggeration of what that freedom should be.

  5. waa1futs macrumors 6502

    Oct 2, 2012
    Fear of violence and the rules we have in place to prevent it from happening is mostly made by and to protect the powerful and rich of America.

    There is a reason that the super wealthy just walk (or drive) right up to their private aircraft with no security screening or luggage inspection, while the "poor" common man needs to be screened and walk through scanners ;)
  6. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006
    There are people on here that would say that we are taking Ben's statement out of context.
  7. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I'd be one of those people.

    For what it's worth ...

  8. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Examining the great liberty vs. security paradox...

    Regardless of what Franklin did or didn't say, or what he did or didn't mean, the "liberty vs. security" paradox remains a popular subject of (much) debate...

    But is the liberty vs. security debate logical? Or is it a logical fallacy?

    In a recent (opinion) piece, Bob Sullivan, a NBC News columnist, examines the the privacy vs. security issue as a false dilemma:

    Privacy vs. security: 'False choice' poisons debate on NSA leaks

    Quoting briefly from it:

  9. astrorider macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2008
    There's some interesting parts in the paragraph you left out too:
    Even Franklin's biographers don't belabor the context of the quote. Could this be because the modern, assumed context the quote is used in also aligns with Franklin's ideology? Here's an earlier variant along similar lines:
    In fact, the quote you're disputing was used as the motto on the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. (1759), a book published by Franklin, so it seems he thought the quote spoke for itself independent of context.

    So, why do you think this distinction in the original context of the quote is important to the adopted context of individual liberty vs. government provided security?
  10. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    Give up enough liberties for security and (besides the sci-fi part) maybe you'd end up with V for Vendetta. ;)
  11. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    A point alluded to in the article I quoted.


    Because people like to believe in simple slogans.

    Because ... they're simple.
  12. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    I'm not sure if you read the entire article I linked to, or if you just skimmed the brief quotes I provided, but I can't see how anyone reading it would come to the same conclusion (that the article you quoted reached) that "liberty and security interests" are harmoniously "aligned". The article I referenced is a cautionary tale of an over-zealous surveillance state.
  13. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I did not ready your entire article.

    From the article I quoted ...

    I read that as coinciding with your posted quote, "... privacy vs. security issue as a false dilemma."

    It sounds as if both authors allude to the same idea: that liberty and security are not mutually exclusive.

    Do you think I am mistaken in that interpretation?
  14. localoid, Jul 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013

    localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Well, if you don't read it you'll likely miss the gist of the article...

    The piece draws (in part) from Bruce Schneier, author of the book, Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World. (If the author's name sounds familiar, Schneier writes "Security Matters", a regular column for Wired Magazine.)

    Schneier coined the term security theater in his book, which Wikipedia defines as "the practice of investing in countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually achieve it."

    As the Wikipedia article notes, an example of security theater would be the 1950s "duck and cover" drills in U.S. public schools – which suggested that ducking under a desk is a reasonable way to protect oneself from the detonation of an atomic bomb.

    Schneier seems to view liberty and security as being one and the same. For example, he states that "Freedom is security. Openness is security."

    But he also observes that "Critical to any security decision is the notion of trade-offs, meaning the costs---in terms of money, convenience, comfort, freedoms, and so on---that inevitably attach themselves to any security system." and then goes on warn that "Constitutionally protected liberties are more important to individual security than are democratic elections, and taking away liberties in the name of security is an enormous trade-off. "

    Title of chapter three of his book, "Security Trade-offs Depend on Power and Agenda", warns of the agendas of the "multiple parties" involved in the process, noting ""Most security decisions are complicated, involving multiple players with their own subjective assessments of security. Moreover, each of these players also has his own agenda, often having nothing to do with security, and some amount of power in relation to the other players. In analyzing any security situation, we need to assess these agendas and power relationships. The question isn't which system provides optimal security trade-offs---rather, it's which system provides the optimal security trade-offs for which players."

    I think that would be an oversimplification (to claim each article reaches the same conclusion, since the source you referenced reaches the conclusion that "liberty and security interests" are "aligned" -- note that I have emphasized "interests", e.g. the "multiple parties", mentioned in the previous paragraph.)

    As Schneier warns in his book, "Security is complicated and challenging. ... Easy answers won't help, because easy answers are the wrong ones."

    One of Schneier's columns from 2009, It's Time to Drop the 'Expectation of Privacy' Test, is an interesting read...

    (Two) brief excerpts follow:

  15. Merkava_4 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2010
    Are you kidding? 9/11 was the work of the government. Those buildings were brought down by explosives, not airplanes. I'm sure Benjamin Franklin could've figured that out for himself easily enough and I'm 100% certain he would've said it's time to overthrow this corrupt government.
  16. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    How are you so sure Benjamin franklin wasn't involved in planting the the nanothermite?
  17. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    Wow. Just wow.

    Just because the government is engaging in scaremongering etc. does not mean that we do not face a genuine dilemma in this regard. There is a body of mathematics dedicated to statistical analysis of signals, in which a 'signal' could be everything from evidence for a terrorist plot in the context of national security to a signature of cancer in the context of medicine. In general the problems of detecting signals is that they are embedded in noise. The only way to overcome noise is to collect more more information. So, yes, in spite of the government rhetoric, there is a genuine dilemma between detecting threats and protecting privacy. IF one wants to detect all terrorists threats, then one needs to eavesdrop on as many forms of communication as possible. If one wants perfect protection of privacy, then one must ban the government from collecting any communications data. In the US and UK we compromise between these two extremes, and there is a question of where the balance mus be struck.

    On my part I believe we have not struck the right balance. The PRISM program is best used after an attack and not before (e.g., Boston marathon bombings), and no doubt terrorist will soon start to speak in code. Thus, if we accept programs like PRISM, the government will have a database comprised mostly of information about innocent people without providing much additional security. It is just a matter of time before this information is abused. And just because it is meta-data does not mean that it is uninformative - most URL's have names that relate to the content of the given web site. Indeed, when one searches for information on the net, the URL generally includes the search terms.
  18. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I did not claim each article reached the same conclusion—a difficult claim to make since I've never read your article.

    I did say that a point in your article was similar to a point in my article.

    That you would say I claimed both articles reached the same conclusion requires a leap on your part that you seem all to eager to make.
  19. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    If you haven't read it, why do you think you're qualified to discuss it?

    Try reading what I wrote, again, slower this time.
  20. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    You quoted one line.

    I commented on that one line.

    This meaningless meta discussion is now over as far as I'm concerned.
  21. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Has there been more fear by the terrorists or by the government in it's fight against terrorists.
  22. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I believe it was Al Qaeda however our long involvement in Iraq after that was not in any way addressing that but more for the oil and throwing Saddam out.

    Let's say it was our government doing 9/11. That would give more reason to be weary of that same government "collecting" phone records of Americans. But if this situation is more what most people think, the majority of us are not really on board with a government spying on its people due to some terrorist threat. If that's the sad state of affairs in the USA then in some way Bin Laden won this war. It's a certainty that Al Qaeda never had the resources to beat us but to take away our freedoms would be the next best thing.

    What they probably realistically set out to do was change our way of life and though I can deal with airport security it's altogether another thing if the allegations of Snowden are true. I don't think Senator Feinstein and the leaders of the intelligence community are true in their assumption that the NSA does not spy on us in the full sense of the word, but then it's their definition of spying.

    I think a lot of the freedoms lost happened during Bush but unfortunately it will be Obama's administration that takes the blame. The same Fox network that seemed OK with the NSA during the Bush years all of a sudden think it's overreaching for Obama's administration to work the same policies. If most things were kept intact any increase of funding in fighting terrorism can be seen by Fox as a conspiracy of the the democrats to spy on all of us and take away our freedom. Both parties have some blame and instead of pointing fingers, it's time to see where the NSA went wrong and go after those who are responsible. Snowden seems to be grandstanding and basking in the glow of being some patriot Tea Party folk hero, but if even half of what he says is true, then that so-called spying cannot stand in this free country. At the end of the day, the USA is to blame for this happening and it wasn't Bin Laden who forced the NSA to cross the line. The NSA has to answer to the government we put into place so whatever it takes will have to get done. If the conspiracy theorists of the far right are correct and Obama did something out of context and used the NSA for his gain and the gain of the democrats, then he should not be allowed to remain in office and this is truly Obama's Watergate scandal.
  23. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Apart from the other points that have been made, neither "liberty" nor "security" are isotopic: when viewed from my perspective, these things can look anywhere from a bit, to somewhat, to very, to profoundly different from what one might perceive from your perspective, or from citizenzen's or gsugolfer's, or any random person. Your liberty might be my oppression, your security my horror, it is just not enumerable.
  24. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Don't you bring me into this.


    Take driving laws for instance. They sacrifice personal liberty for the sake of order (security). But it could be argued that these laws actually enhance one's ability to realize their personal liberty in a complex society. In some cases, by restricting the individual, the whole can operate more efficiently, thus benefitting the individual's liberty.

    Or take homeownership. I live more securely knowing that I have title to the piece of land I live upon. That piece of paper restricts other people's liberty from sleeping in my yard or home. I doubt many people here would like to return to the days—long, long ago—where someone could chase me off my territory simply because they were bigger and stronger.

    The very preamble to the Constitution talks about how it's intended to "... secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity ..." The notion that security and liberty are somehow diametrically opposed is absurd. I would argue that the feeling of liberty requires some degree of security, for without any security, the sense of liberty is overwhelmed by fear, anxiety and physical peril.

    Can governments become obsessed with security and rob people of their liberty? Absolutely.

    But IMO, that trite, misinterpreted catch-phrase does not do justice to the complicated and fluid partnership that liberty and security share.
  25. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    Or instead, we could blame our secret branch of government -- the national security branch.

    Collectively, the CIA, the NSA, and the military establishment have grown to function as a fourth branch of government. And at times, they seem to wield more even power than presidents.

    It's not like we weren't warned. In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned of the "military-industrial complex" (quote follows).

    Just a few years later, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bobby Kennedy reportedly told Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin the following:

    And let's not forget to include the FBI, which at one time controlled all of the nation's intelligence information.

    Does anyone remember J. Edgar Hoover? Or more specifically, Hoover's abuse of power? Hoover, who reigned as head of the FBI under every president from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, served as the self-appointed leader of an undeclared war on civil liberties.

    Unfortunately, this sort of potential for abuse of power did not die with Hoover in 1972.

    The Church Committee briefly reigned in the intelligence community during the mid-1970s, but it didn't take long for the tables to be turned (again)...

    You can follow the chain of events that have taken place since then via the Timeline of NSA Domestic Spying at the Electronic Frontier Foundation's website.

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