Friday, July 08, 2005

Civil Liberties vs. Security?

Unless you have been living under a rock or in a closet for the past few days you probably have heard the news about the various transit bombings in London. I've read the reports and seen a few photos (haven't seen the TV coverage because I don't watch TV) and it's just like 9/11 all over again. As cynical as this sounds, it was only a matter of time before another terrorist attack rocked another Western country.

It is interesting how a bus bombing in Britain generates a much larger and more sympathetic reaction than a bus bombing on the West Bank or in Iraq. We who live comfortably in our homes in Canada or the US are quite ignorant to the carnage and terror that occurs on a daily basis. I know for myself I hardly give a second thought to the millions of innocent people dying around the world everyday. Why do we give so much attention to the hundreds (maybe thousands) of innocent people killed or hurt riding the subway system and not the millions of children who die of starvation each day?

With security changes taking place, there are bound to be people complaining about the jeopardization of their civil liberties. "You can't install some x-ray scanner at the entrance of the subway system that allows the authorities to see through my clothes! That's a violation of my rights!" I don't think we can make any more progress in the freedom department without making ourselves more vulnerable on the safety side. Our "free democracy" permits lunatics to blow up trains because the authorities basically have to operate blindfolded with their pants down at their ankles and their hands tied behind their backs; all in the name of my privacy or my personal freedoms.

So the easy solution would be simple: take these freedoms away. Search houses without warrants, search people, tap phones, place surveillance on everyone. If you are obeying the law then you have nothing to hide. But, this only works if you happen to live in a country run by the perfect, benevolent, trustworthy government...if the world was perfect then everything would be fine. Unfortunately "honest government" is an oxymoron so this proposition will never work.

I agree that we need to do our best to combat terrorism; but in reality it's just an extreme form of international crime and the world will never be rid of crime. How do I know this? Call it a hunch, a gut feeling, or maybe just reading a book written a few thousand years ago. The "War on Terror" is just a glimpse of a larger, greater war that has be ongoing since the beginning of the universe. It's a war that manifests itself in our souls and spreads to the mind and body. What motivates a person to blow up a train or fly a plane into building? What motivates a person to risk their life to try to save someone trapped in a tunnel or building?

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2 Comments:

Blogger threeup said...

The trick is to make the important positions very prestigous and attractive to the type of people that would benefit society.

Nobody wants to be a politician, some people want to be cops... but it people aren't lining up.

I think that's the core problem. You get schmucks/bottom feeders doing these jobs and when they do crappy jobs who are you going to blame?

Vote Sheridan for Prime Minister. Thank you and God bless Canada.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

You got my vote.
Sheridan PRIDE!

10:28 PM  

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