War On Terrorism

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In the era of global terrorism, can the United States remain a free and democratic society as envisioned by the Founding Fathers? Or are we destined to lose liberties and freedoms in return for greater security and strength?

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There is, of course, no way to know if this will happen.  However, the likelihood of this happening is receding in today’s world.  It would take more terrorist attacks to make it a greater danger.

If we lose our liberties and freedoms, it will be because we are much more afraid of the consequences of keeping them.  This does not appear to be anywhere close to happening.  As an example of this, we have already seen the removal of backscatter x-ray technology at major airports.  An important reason for this was that people had privacy concerns about the degree to which this technology allowed TSA agents to see the passengers’ bodies.  If we are willing to risk more terrorist attacks simply because we do not want same-sex agents to see the shapes of our bodies, it is unlikely that we will stand for more serious incursions on our rights.

Of course, events could cause this situation to change.  There has been no successful terrorist attack on the US in over ten years.  This means that we feel less urgency about terrorism than we might.  If we were to be hit with a string of major attacks, we might change our minds.  For the time being, however, it is clear that we are not willing to countenance serious infringements of our rights for the sake of anti-terrorism.

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