Social Question

stump's avatar

Would you trade your freedom for security?

Asked by stump (3827points) February 26th, 2010

Would you give up your civil rights (assuming you have some) to ensure long life free of physical violence? If you live(ed) in a place where you have neither, and had the choice, which would you choose? Stable totalitarianism, or unstable egalitarian democracy? (Don’t feel limited to that last set of choices)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

75 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I would never trade freedom for stability!

CMaz's avatar

Freedom is a byproduct of security.

mattbrowne's avatar

You mean like wishing Saddam Hussein be back to end suicide bombings?

Cruiser's avatar

Never never never! I would chose a front line stance against any loss of our hard fought freedoms. Just try me!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’d never submit to a totalitarian regime and I ‘m not crazy about Democracy.I want a Constitutionally Limited Republic,thank you very much… and a pony ;)

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Keep reposting Lucy and I will keep giving you a GA! ;)

kevbo's avatar

Give me NASCAR “NASCAR” and a year’s supply of Bud Light or give me death.

CMaz's avatar

@kevbo – I am with you, if you can put NASCAR in quotes. “NASCAR” ;-)

stump's avatar

Does anyone worry about the erroding of our civil rights when faced with the threat of terrorist attacks? Should we accept indefinate detention, wire tapping, libraries supplying the government with lists of books we check out, tracking of our online activity? How much freedom and privacy should we give up to feel safe?

UScitizen's avatar

In the USA it appears that we have chosen the stable totalitarianism option. And, it doesn’t matter whether it is the totalitarianism of the neocons under W, or the totalitarianism of the Marxists under B. Hussein O.

kevbo's avatar

@stump, I have worried in great quantity, and expressed that here on numerous occasions. Sorry to not repsond more seriously—it’s just that I’ve already railed on this issue to the best of my ability. My conclusion is that without some critical mass of outrage or disbelief in the conventional narrative, our trajectory won’t change in the sane way you and I imagine it should.

jfos's avatar

In the words of the great Benjamin Franklin, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

papasmurfxD's avatar

Questions like this are amusing. Most people had issues with unwarranted surveillance under GWB, but it isn’t much different under Obama. He might talk a big game but he’s yet to walk it when the NSA and CIA are concerned. But I am digressing. I would prefer security to freedom. I’m not doing anything illegal so no reason to worry. They dont monitor your full phone conversations or your full emails. And I know others will respond about how they violated our rights, blah blah blah. And all I have to say is that they will always be violating our privacy in some capacity or another. Its the “U.S. Government” they usually do wtf they want :)

ragingloli's avatar

Everyone gives up freedom to get security. We do it every day. We give up the freedom of shooting, hurting, stealing from, defrauding people at will in return for the protection by police. We give up the freedom to drive at 200 km/h in a child inhabited road in exchange for others abiding by the same laws and not running us over like a madman. We give up the freedom of walking in the middle of the road in exchange for not being run over by a lorry on the sidewalk.
The question is not whether you would trade your freedom for security, but how much freedom you are willing to trade in for how much security.
And Obama and the Democratic Party are not anywhere near Marxism. They only seem so far left to you because the Republican party is so far to the right that even european right wing parties would be considered left wing by you.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I would deserve neither if I did.

Strauss's avatar

No question about it. To quote Benjamin Franklin:
“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

@jfos I believe he said it several times in several ways! LOL

janbb's avatar

@ragingloli is the only one who gave a nuanced answer. We can all be very glib about never trading our freedom for security when we are not faced with situations like Rwanda or the Sudan in which our families are being raped and murdered. The question is really how much security for how much freedom and whether it is a valid trade-off. I am not happy with the surveillance and the loss of personal freedom since 9/11 because I am not convinced of its efficacy, but I don’t find airline security checking to be particularly intrusive even though it may not be completely effective.

Our naivite and complacency as Americans gets us into trouble time and time again.

kevbo's avatar

@papasmurfxD, that’s all well and good, but when the major political parties provide carte blanche liability insurance to municipal police forces to cover their asses sufficiently so that during these parties’ national conventions the police may preemptively arrest and detain inconvenient protesters and journalists (using the provisions of our newly minted terrorism laws), then I have a problem.



Blackberry's avatar

What Raginglolipop said.

stump's avatar

@ragingloli Okay, then answer your own question. How much freedom would you exchange for how much security?

I personally think the question is flawed from the start. There is no security. No one is safe, ever. In a totalitarian society some people get the illusion of security in exchange for freedom, that is all.

davidbetterman's avatar

Too late. We have already traded many freedoms for alleged security. Unfortunately, all we got from the trade was the illusion of security…

stump's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille What is a Constitutionally Limited Republic?

jfos's avatar

I think that, in some respects, freedom can provide mental security. I don’t think physical security would mean much, if it came without freedom.

Blackberry's avatar

@stump What do you mean there’s no security and no one is safe? There’s security everywhere in different forms that protects people and animals etc. Unless you mean that any security can be broken down, yes. But security still serves a purpose.

ETpro's avatar

I’d rather fight than switch. Live free!

escapedone7's avatar

I’d rather live free or die fighting.

CMaz's avatar

Freedom is just an illusion that “The Man” convinces you that you have.
In order to keep you in your place. We are never free.

But feel free to think it.

stump's avatar

@Blackberry I mean any whacko can blow up a building or a market place without much difficulty, especially if they don’t care about getting away with it. And no amount of intelegence gathering or whatever will change that. The only thing I can see that creates anything like security is having a populus that has something to live for.

Blackberry's avatar

I agree to an extent, because there have terrorists diverted from their goals by vigilant people that have something to live for lol.

Strauss's avatar

One country’s terrorist is another country’s freedom fighter.

Cruiser's avatar

@stump A constitutional republic is what our countries early government was founded on and designed so that no person or group rise to absolute power and provides that a person must legislate within the limits of constitutional law that a simple majority can not modify. Something our 2 major political parties seems to have forgotten about.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I don’t think I’d trade my freedoms for much of anything. They’re far too meaningful and important.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@stump -A Republic whose Consitution limits government power and upholds the right of the individual.You can thank Mr.Franklin for that:)

JeffVader's avatar

Not a chance…. I think we’ve gone way to far already!

jerv's avatar

I would prefer not to, but I am constantly outvoted by my fellow countrymen who would sell their freedom and their mother for a shiny object.

papasmurfxD's avatar

@ragingloli Well you seemed to have attacked me a bit with the fine print there. Re-read my response and you’ll see I dont really care whos in power. I just have a certain resignation when it comes to these types of subjects. There isn’t anything we can reasonably do to stop the surveillance or the invasion of our privacy. Hopefully one day the U.S. stops alienating its own people and wakes up.

CMaz's avatar

“Hopefully one day the U.S. stops alienating its own people and wakes up.”

That would be no fun.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

We already have. Haven’t we?

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s actually quite simple: the more government we have, the less freedom we retain.

susanc's avatar

Warning: angrier than I’ve ever been in my ife.

Some shockingly naive folks here (not counting @ragingloli, who calls for nuance against the tide of old-boy posturing, the ever-vigilant @janbb, and.. okay, some other people too but… not enough.)
Good lord you guys take a lot of protections for granted. You think you provided them personally by means of sheer chest-beating. If you’ve done anything in your lives to make us safe, make your cases. Make a case against my position that safety has been provided for us like mother’s milk by the very governments (over the years) you resent so much, in your adolescent puling ahistorical way. If you think you provided it, or if you feel you deserve credit for providing it, you ought to enlist immediately in the armed forces or shut your pie holes.
And most of you are anti-taxation, too; which means you would vote against having armed forces, doesn’t it?
Go live in Zimbabwe for a week.

ETpro's avatar

@susanc Granted it’s easy to say “Live free or die.” but not so easy to do it. As to doing my part, my dad was a WWII vet. I served in the Navy, and my son is a 2nd Lt. in the Army Infantry. I pay my taxes, run a business that contributes to society, and do my best to be a good citizen and intervene to protect the life and property of my those around me. I think I’ve got my pound of flesh in the pot.

But I recognize that we give up freedom for security every day. I didn’t intend my answer to mean I yearn for a world without government where only the strong survive by taking from the weak. Sci-fi dystopias like Escape from LA may be fun to watch, but I have no desire to live one out.

I meant that I don’t want to see freedoms we currently have slip away drop by drop till we are complete slaves of the state. I suspect that’s what a lot of my fellow “chest beaters” were saying in their own way.

But thanks for calling attention to the fact we don’t live in a place like Somalia, and most of have no desire to move there.

stump's avatar

@susanc In my own adolescent puling ahistorical way, I like to think I contribute to the safety of my society by paying my taxes, abiding by the law, and maintaining civil and profitable relations with friends and business associates in this and other countries. I do not begrudge the military it’s portion of my taxes, although I do not feel wise use has been made of the military in this century. And I do not feel I owe my eternal gratitude to people who have died in the current or any war my country has waged. Ours is a volunteer military. Everyone who enlists knows what they are getting into and that they may be put in harm’s way. If they don’t know, it is not my fault. I know that people who have fought or have family in the military need to feel that they are special because of it, or they wouldn’t be able to deal with the emotional strain, physical punishment and loss that is involved in mass violence.

jerv's avatar

@susanc I think you are misinterpreting the intent of many of the people here.

I love our Constitution and I spent half a decade in the Navy to protect it. However, before I joined, I had a nice little discussion with the recruiter about possible contradictions in the oath of service.

“I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same:...”

The US Constitution is what gives us the right to call an asshole an asshole, to worship the higher power of our choosing, to get a fair trial and due process if accused of a crime… all sorts of freedoms that many places around the world lack.

”... and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military.”

Hmm. The same government who is rescinding those rights left and right over the last decade, as near as I can see, I am no safer than I was pre-9/11. Okay, 9/11 hadn’t happened yet when I enlisted, but even as a child in the 1980s I could see a trend that I didn’t like; one that made me feel that there was at least the possibility that I might someday have to choose between defending the Constitution or obeying orders.

I was far from alone in those feelings; many of my shipmates felt the same way. I think that proves that it is possible to love this country enough to be willing to die for it and still resent the government. However, it seems that some people forget/overlook that simple fact. So please don’t lump all of the government-bashers into one pile since many of them are just as patriotic as the kevlar-clad guys getting shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan as we speak.


That said, it would be nice if people would realize that freedom isn’t free and actually understood the implications of that. Now, I don’t mind being told that I can’t zoom through a residential neighborhood at 80 MPH, and I am willing to give up my freedom to do so in return for being able to walk across a street without worrying about some other speeding assclown mowing me down. I think we all are willing to sacrifice some freedom for some safety.

However, I am not going to go for a full strip search every time I fly just because somebody shoved a stick of dynamite up their ass and tried to board a plane, especially not when it’s already been proven that many of the measures that were supposed to improve our safety failed. I am not going to let DC wipe their ass on the 4th Amendment (and possibly 8th, depending on the circumstances) because they can’t do anything to actually improve security so they settle for an illusion that even David Copperfield couldn’t pull off convincingly.

The OP wanted to know if we would trade freedom for security. I think that we Americans are trading our freedom away without getting much safety in return, which puts it about on par with paying $37,000 for a small chunk of navel lint, and there are quite a few people here that are not happy with that inequality.

For the type of freedoms that we have given up post-9/11, I expect Uncle Sam to protect us from poverty and predatory megacorporations. And for the degree of freedom that some want to deprive us of (especially privacy in cases where there isn’t probable cause to get a search warrant and they just want to go fishing), I expect protection from tooth decay, cancer, and the common cold.

YARNLADY's avatar

@susanc My first reaction was to see the same thing you saw, but thanks to some of the replies, I have softened a little bit. I hate to see all the government bashing, rather than a call for action to help provide the things that are missing.

For an example of government gone wrong, we can look at our neighbor to the south, Mexico, where the police force and military are actually killing each other, since many are thugs and involved in criminal acts, and others are trying to enforce the law.

We can find many instances of the same thing right here in our own country, but (so far) our country has withstood the rare outbreaks of lawless behavior.

susanc's avatar

@jerv: what I wanted to see written here. Exactly. Thank you.
@my beloved YARNLADY: Yes.
@ETpro: Good. Now we’re talking about something real.
@stump: These “safety measures” were all instituted during the Bush campaign to throw us into panic mode after 9/11 (read Naomi Wolf, “Disaster Capitalism”).
Shall we mobilize to get them rescinded? How do you suppose we should begin?
to pay our taxes and do business with other citizens?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Under Bush/Cheney the USA was conned and bamboozled into standing by while their basic civil rights were systematically and permanently stripped away because they were told that at any moment Iraq could attack the USA with chemical or nuclear (Nuculer) weapons and that they had to attack Iraq before they attacked the USA. See my detailed discussion of what was done and what rights are freedoms Americans gave up without even having a right to vote on these sweeping Constitutional changes. Here is one of the places where I discussed this in detail.

ETpro's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I’d disagree with one thing. I wouldn’t call them Constitutional changes, they were and are unconstitutional. Unfortunately, once you give the Executive power, it’s hard to take it back. The Obama Administration seems completely uninterested in restoring the Constitutional reul of law or holding thos accountable who originally violated it.

ChaosCross's avatar

Unlikely, but I can think of a few situations where I might consider it for my loved ones.

stump's avatar

@susanc I wish I knew. I confess to not having any answers. I am not an activist. I vote my conscience and e-mail my congressman and senators when I am really moved. But most of the time I am just a windbag.

DrMC's avatar

@jerv you nailed it. I have nothing to add.

susanc's avatar

@stump actually me too but perhaps we could do better

jerv's avatar

@susanc @stump If we could get more windbags blowing in the same direction, we might actually get this country moving in a certain direction as opposed to just going wherever the people at the top want to guide it.

I’m not calling for an outright revolution, but I think that “For the people, of the people, and by the people” means that people need to get more involved with how this place is run.

susanc's avatar

@jerv “windbags blowing in the same direction” GA

thriftymaid's avatar

No; I see no reason to not have both.

lilikoi's avatar


time and time again.

plethora's avatar

@UScitizen Or under Obama/Pelosi/Reid

ETpro's avatar

@plethora & @UScitizen Pitty we can’t ship you folks off to actually live in a totalitarian state for a while. You might come to realize just how good you had it while constantly talking trash about the country that has given you so much freedom.

TexasDude's avatar

…because shipping people you don’t agree with off to a totalitarian state isn’t in the least bit… well… totalitarian or anything.

ETpro's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I am not proposing to ship anyone anywhere. But I do wonder what’s stopping those who think the USA is such a terrible, totalitarian state from moving to their ideal nation and living in what they feel would be a paradise.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro As much as I complain, I do realize that, in many ways, we are the best country in the world.

Sometimes that makes me sad :(

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Well said.

JeffVader's avatar

@ETpro “I do wonder what’s stopping those who think the USA is such a terrible, totalitarian state from moving to their ideal nation”
It’s really very simple, the UK is full right now :)

ETpro's avatar

@JeffVader Healthcare passed, so Rush Limbaugh is going to Costa Rica. —to escape our “massive government takeover of healthcare”. Odd choice, as Costa Rica has one of the oldest socailized medical systems around.

JeffVader's avatar

@ETpro Hahahahaha….. well, I dont think anyone accused ol Rush of being the brightest spark :)

Strauss's avatar

@jerv “I think that proves that it is possible to love this country enough to be willing to die for it and still resent the government.”

I think it was the Roman senator Cicero (or possibly one of his contemporaries) who warned of confusing patriotism (love of one’s country) with loyalty to a particular government or administration of that country.

jerv's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Sounds about right. Too bad many Americans make that mistake. Some believe that you can’t criticize the President during wartime, but I know for a fact that many soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing just that, especially those that were extended by “stop-loss”. I too questioned the wisdom, sanity, and competence of DC a few times when they were signing my paycheck.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I wouldn’t trade my freedom for ANYTHING, much less security. Both of them are illusions, but freedom is by far the better one.

gr8teful's avatar

We do live in a totalitarian regime it’s just we don’t realise it.Everything is controlled through the Media.No one has any privacy anymore our personal private information is sold to companies our medical records sent to drug companies Governments create wars either to further their own ends or some hidden agenda.The one thing they won’t allow us to do is die peacefully in our homes.It makes me wonder why not?

janbb's avatar

I wasn’t given the choice; freedom has been thrust upon me.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther