Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Death of Liberty?


“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
-Benjamin Franklin
Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.

 
Two polls came out recently that raised eyebrows.

The first, more tame poll, was conducted by CNN/Time.  The poll found that:

  • When asked what concerns them more, government infringements of their rights or more anti-terrorism laws, more Americans (61%) are worried that the government will enact anti-terrorism policies that will excessively restrict their civil liberties.
  • 49% of Americans are not willing to surrender more of their civil liberties, even if that were necessary to prevent terrorism.
  • 60% of Americans are not worried that they, or a member of their family, will fall victim to terrorism.
  • 63% of Americans believe that terrorists will always find a way to launch an attack, no matter what laws we pass. 
The second poll, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, dealt with similar topics but also expanded into gun control.  It found:
  • 73% of Democrats want more gun control.
  • 65% of Republicans oppose increased gun control.

The big standout was this:
  • 29% of Americans believe that an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect liberties in the next few years.  This group includes 18% of Democrats, 44% of Republicans, and 27% of Independents.
The first poll shows that most Americans are not afraid of terrorists, that they are concerned that their civil liberties are being eroded, and that they view their government as more of a threat to their life, liberty, and happiness than people that outwardly promise to do them harm.  The second poll suggests that about 1/3 of the country believes that their rights have been so decimated by their government that the only solution left to fix it may be the worst possible solution.

If these polls are to be believed, it is very troubling.  Or, at least, it should be.  Putting aside the fringe elements of society, one thing is clear: a majority of Americans have grown tired of what they believe are their civil rights being violated in the interest of “security.”

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