Yeah! What she says!

Yeah! What she says!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Is it worth the sacrifice?

I recently read an article that documented parts of a recent speech given by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. The speech was given at an awards ceremony in New Hampshire. The awards ceremony was for those that had made a stand to protect people's first amendment rights, one of which being freedom of speech. In Mr. Gingrich's speech it is said that "free speech may have to be curtailed in order to fight terrorism". Is there anyone else out there that finds this particular comment not only frighteningly disturbing, but also the exact opposite of what the awards ceremony was being held to celebrate and acknowledge? (You can read the article I read at: http://www.nysun.com/article/44302)

Part of me feels like our country is changing, but in the wrong ways. We are now living in a society where the potential for domestic spying is present, and the former Speaker of the House is orating on possibly limiting our freedoms of speech. We can't even fly from Reno to Portland without being harassed by the TSA or having to buy shampoo at our destination. What's next? Are we going to have a great internet firewall surrounding our country like China? All of this is being done in the name of security.

Please don't misunderstand. I am all for national security. I want to be secure, and unafraid just as everyone else. I have concerns though. How much freedom will have to be sacrificed in order for us to be safe? Is the taking of our freedoms (not matter how small and trivial they seem at this time) a slap in the face to all those who fought to grant them to us and protect our ability to exercise them? Is the sacrifice worth the reward? These are just some of the questions that we should all be asking ourselves. I have not yet made a decision on most of them myself. A great deal more thought will need to be put into it before I can say exactly which way I will answer any of them. Even so, recent events (and a very smart man) have reminded me of a quote credited to Benjamin Franklin. He is believed to have said "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

One last comment before I try to sleep, but fail miserably as I ponder the above. Looking at history I see a possible resemblance between past and current events. Hitler's Ermächtigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) has been compared to the Patriot Act by some. I do not think the Patriot Act has gone as far as Hitler's Enabling Act, but I do see a few distressing similarities that should cause all of us to keep a close eye on the workings around it, and it's uses.

Like the Patriot Act, many were opposed to the passing of the Enabling Act in Nazi Germany. It was thought by many of that time to take away democracy in Germany and establish a dictatorship under Adolf Hitler (sound familiar?). To squelch the opposition Nazi's manufactured events that would cause confusion and fear, and blamed it on foreign terrorism (no, I do not think 9-11 was manufactured). The Enabling Act would of course protect the people of Germany (much as the Patriot Act was billed). To further protect the people of Germany, certain rights were taken away. German's lost their freedom of the press, free expression of opinion (Newt Gingrich?), individual property rights, right of assembly and association, right to privacy (domestic spying maybe?) of postal communications, and the German states lost their rights of self-government, and protection against unlawful searches and seizures. Once passed Hitler started arresting people with little or no cause. We all know what happened next.

As I said, the Patriot Act has not gone as far as the Enabling Act, and I have faith in the American people to stop it before it does, but even the few similarities between the two that are present paint an eerie picture.

Now that I have that off my chest, I am off to enjoy my self-inflicted nightmares.



1 comment:

zorak163 said...

I've been pondering the similarities between the current administration and Hitler for some time. Our freedom should not be usurped for any reason.