Sunday, May 5, 2013

Safety, Terrorism, and the Costs

You've heard it already right?  New surveillance legislation surfacing from every wing of the political aisle.  More cameras, drones, and oversight for the safety and security of everyone.  The broad powers granted by the Patriot Act post 9/11 are no longer sufficient, we need more. Living in today's world is just far more dangerous than anything we've encountered previously, so we need this.

People will give up any amount of freedom, money, and convenience for saftey.  What if you could legislate away the entire Constitution and turn us into a surveillance state?  Certainly after giving up all of that we would be safe, right?

I think the answer is a resounding, "no!"  Everywhere its been tried, loss of freedom has created its own political dissidents, and its own terrorism.  Russia, China, European Countries, they all have systems far more closed than ours, yet terrorism persists.  If abolishing the Constitution and shifting toward a surveillance state can't abolish terrorism, what should be our response?

What is it that a terrorist seeks to accomplish?  Whatever the various motivations and reasons, they have a common thread, changing our way of life.  If we did nothing in response to an attack, it would defeat the purpose of the attack.  However, if it instills fear and changes how we live day to day, they have achieved something great.  After all, its human nature to react when hurt.  However, we may need to ask ourselves a different set of questions.  Our reaction may be natural, but is it helping or hurting ourselves?

Also, if we pass additional legislation with each attack, at what point is privacy non-existant?  If the answer is yes, its worth it, and we're okay with the type of society we are morphing into, fine.  However, let's have the conversation and not pretend this is anything short of what it is, a transition to a different type of society, and that being one we probably can't change back.

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