Sabe Wilis is an independent writer who is of no particular political affiliation. More of his work is available at SabeWilis.com.
Either absolute anarchy or an Orwellian nightmare, almost like the comic book/movie 'V for Vendetta' where society made that choice. Unfortunately it seems today that more people are seeing the consequences to political decisions in such polarizing forms. If you choose to act, you will be abridging on freedoms, however you will be 'safe.' However if you do not go with the knee jerk reaction, you will contribute to the fall of civilization. This polarization is a dangerous threat, and when afraid, people will choose security no matter what it comes from. In V for Vendetta, High Chancellor Sutler came into power because he offered the people protection and safety from the diseases and terrorism of the outside world. "There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler." V said
, "He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent."
Many will write this off as merely a superhero story, and that is fine, but let's see how this story is playing out today.
With every tragedy our country faces, we are almost always greeted just moments after with demands to infringe on a right so we may prevent another tragedy; sometimes there doesn't need to be a real tragedy to trigger said event, the demand for self-expulsion of liberty conjures overtime. It is times like this that a politician has near free reign to work towards limiting liberties
while the populous and legislatures are blinded by their emotions to rationally observe the consequences of the government's actions. New laws are passable that would otherwise seem satirical to even suggest; legislation that abridge the fundamental liberties and principles the United States was founded on.
These opportunistic politicians have taken advantage of the recent tragedy where an individual (who will remain nameless) who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and murdered 50 people. There are many reactions to the event. Many blame gun-manufacturers (the day after, the wrong gun-manufacturer) for designing weapons that are capable of performing its intended function. Many from the same school of thought are also pushing for a new law to restrict gun sales for people on the no-fly list. The law might sound like a great way to stop terrorist at first glance. However the problem is apparent when you know how to get on the no-fly list.
People get on the no-fly list without even knowing they are on the list; people are added to the list based on the government's suspicion. Suspects are not given a trial, thus this law would allow the government take away an individual's Second Amendment right without due process
, a liberty guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. There are few Americans on the no-fly list; Senator Dianne Feinstein claims the no-fly list includes less than 1,700 as a justification for this infringement. However declaring that the law will only infringe on the liberties of some to protect the majority is not a good reason. The rights of the individual should not be infringed to make us feel safer as a collective.
Another disgusting act by the nation's legislative body involves the complete disregard to the fourth and fifth amendment in the name of security. Senators Richard Burr and John McCain proposed an amendment to allow the FBI to view citizen's browser history without a warrant
. Thankfully this horrible amendment failed to pass by just 2 votes
. A few months before, anti-privacy activist Burr also proposed a law forcing technology companies to unlock devices
and provide technical assistance in the government's espionage. This draft coerces businesses to provide a service to the government
. It does not matter what their proclaimed reason is, by principle it is wrong and unconstitutional. Legislating away the public's rights in interest of national security is unjustifiable. Many will minimalize the dangers of such legislation by proclaiming that the law applies only to metadata. However, in an era where technology is used so frequently, simply knowing what websites a person went to can accurately predict enormously personal details
Giving up liberties for a sense of security is not only irrational, but also especially dangerous. Even in the hypothetical world where our current politicians will use their powers for good, those people will not stay in power forever. When our current politicians resign, new ones will take their place, with that office they inherit the power given to the predecessor. There will always be corrupt politicians attempting to seize power by virtue of human nature. Governments are comprised of people, therefore expanding the government's power can only worsen the problem.