Friday, May 12, 2006

Americans should tap into their inner Patrick Henry

Crawford's List the blog by Craig Crawford had this post today:

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
-- Patrick Henry, 1775

Americans must now tap into their inner Patrick Henry. A radical among revolutionaries who opposed the U.S. Constitution for giving government too much power, the fiery Virginian would probably set himself on fire today. The government spies on people, lies about it, and, when caught in the act, refuses to give security clearances to the investigators.

If we believe the dubious claim that terrorist threats justify sweeping surveillance without any checks and balances then, in a different context, we have truly come to the ultimate choice that Henry posed: Are we prepared to die for liberty? Not in battle against foreign occupiers, but as a possible consequence of preventing our own government from spying on us? My answer is Yes: If losing freedom be the price of safety, then safety be damned.

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