Thursday, December 30, 2010
James Madison once wrote that “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual war.”
by Jack Hunter
James Madison once wrote that “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual war.” Many Americans began to learn this lesson in recent months while traveling, as the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) began harassing and groping air travelers to what many consider an overly intrusive degree.
Americans should not have been surprised. The new, more aggressive TSA travel measures simply reflect the latest manifestation of the overall mentality of our ever-growing national security state, in which civil liberties and basic freedoms continue to fall by the wayside in the name of creating a risk-free society.
But in a truly free society, there’s no such thing as being risk-free. Toward that end, our federal government has more often become the enemy, not the protector, of American freedom. Just as today, “national security” is more often an excuse, not a legitimate justification, for government intrusion and growth.
The basic function of any government is to protect citizens’ liberties, yet federal officials now use vague, peculiar, and questionable interpretations of “national security” to promote policies either antagonistic toward or antithetical to America’s most basic precepts and principles. Personal choice? Freedom of information? Constitutionally declared wars? Civil liberties? Each continues to be damaged to some degree in the name of “national security,” at the expense of our actual security, and at a cost our ancestors would have never tolerated.
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