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As in "We" the desire for complete safety and security usually reduces personal...

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zoiley29 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 12, 2009 at 5:50 PM via web

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As in "We" the desire for complete safety and security usually reduces personal freedoms. What is a “real life” example of this?

As in "We" the desire for complete safety and security usually reduces personal freedoms. What is a “real life” example of this?

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 13, 2009 at 12:51 PM (Answer #2)

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This is an interesting question.  There are many somewhat trivial examples.  Once upon a time you could walk up to a plane, show your ticket, and off you went. First "they"  introducted walking through a metal detector.  Then they started to x-ray your luggage and prowl through it if they saw something suspicious.  Then they ruled that you can't even lock your luggage since someone may go prowling through it because they think there may be something wrong with it or because it's a "random" selection.  (Have you ever opened your luggage after a flight only to find a note that for some reason your luggage has been prowled through for an unspecified reason?)  Now they're working an a full body x-ray that is so invasive that the people who do the scanning might have to be in another room so they can't associate you with the "vision."

Then there are cameras everywhere. Although we're far behind some other countries in this, it is becoming more and more a part of our lives.  Do we really want people to know where we've been and what we've been doing as often as they can tell?  And the newly proposed centralized health records system?  I don't even see what we could gain by this loss of freedom, and doubt that it will ever happen.

These are just a couple ideas.  The current threat that I am concerned about is the "Fairness Doctrine" which is neither.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted February 13, 2009 at 12:51 PM (Answer #3)

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"THOSE WHO WOULD GIVE UP ESSENTIAL LIBERTY, TO PURCHASE A LITTLE TEMPORARY SAFETY, DESERVE NEITHER LIBERTY OR SAFETY."
—BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

The prophecy of Franklin's statement has yet to be fully appreciated, and may only be appreciated when it's far too late to keep secure the liberties the Founders fought and died for.  We live in a world with increasing "scare tactics" designed to expand government control over the individual.  This is nothing new; it's been going on for as long as there's been governments, and by extrapolation, cultures such as found in 1984 or Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451 serve as warnings to the ever expanding power of unchecked bad government. By its very nature, government, no matter if king or council, strives to expand its powers at the expense of the governed. This is why checks and balances, and the division of government into seperate branches is so important. The US was founded on the principle that government would be constrained, as a limited government insured maximum freedom and liberty.  Sadly, exactly the opposite has occurred.  Cameras on every street corner, "Sneak and Peek" legislation, "Carnivore" software to watch traffic on the internet, "regulation" of one's finances serve as just a few examples, in some cases, patently unconstitutional, that continue to erode personal freedoms, in the name of security, yet do nothing to insure safety, but merely expand the tyrannical influence of bad government.

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 13, 2009 at 12:51 PM (Answer #4)

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 A 'real life' example of how 'We The People' in a desire for complete safety and security results in a reduction of personal freedoms is the passage of The Patriot Act of 2001 in the wake of September 11, 2001. The Patriot Act of 2001 gave the federal government a broader span of power at the expense of individual freedoms. Although its justification was to better enable the federal government to fight the war on terror, many in this country felt it was too intrusive into the lives of Americans. The Patriot Act of 2001 had an expiration date of 5 years at which time revisions could be made if deemed necessary. The revised act did loosen some of the restraints on personal freedoms, however there are many Americans who feel that it didn't loosen them far enough. This is a tough and extremely emotional topic for most Americans. How are the freedoms of Americans balanced against the restrictions our government can impose upon those freedoms and for what length of time? There are as many answers to this question as there are Americans.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 27, 2011 at 9:44 AM (Answer #5)

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People give up freedoms for security all the time. I agree with the above poster that the Patriot Act is a good example of this. After the towers fell down, people were scared. The government took advantage of this to pass an act that under normal circumstances would never go over well with the American people, who usually do not like the government spying on them. Another example is the new airport scanners. While some people claim that they are a severe invasion of privacy, akin to molestation, others say it's worth it to be safe.

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