Civil liberties versus national security 17

The Washington Post reports:

Senators left Capitol Hill early Saturday morning without taking action to extend or replace a controversial surveillance program set to expire at month’s end, paralyzed by a debate over the proper balance between civil liberties and national security.

Our tentative answer to the dilemma: As there’s an administration in power that believes government should control our lives, we would vote for civil liberties over national security; if there were an administration that knows it’s first duty is to protect our freedom, we would trust it not to overstep the mark, so we would vote for national security.

And yet …

Trouble is,  even if we were so lucky as to get a reasonably trustworthy administration, it could all too easily be replaced by another statist gang such as we have at present.

Readers are invited to give their own views on this difficult conundrum.

Posted under Commentary, government, Law, Leftism, liberty, Terrorism, Totalitarianism, tyranny, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 23, 2015

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This post has 17 comments.

  • I have also wrestled with this conundrum a great deal. We want to be protected from terrorism don’t we? Of course we do.

    We currently in the UK have a surveillance bill in progress. The wording of the bill is quite hard to comprehend in many places. It seems to be more an attempt to legitimize what is already happening in many respects. Some of it is quite alarming. The authorities apparently can hack into devices belonging to people who are communicating with a ‘person of interest’ even if the subject of the hack is not themselves under suspicion in any way.

    The implications of this for lawyers, politicians and journalists obviously spring to mind. The opposition Labour party has called for safeguards for people with sensitive professions such as these, but how on earth do you decide who is a journalist nowadays and who isn’t? Is a blogger a journalist? Why should an ordinary citizen not have the same protection as a journalist anyway? Hacking in this way can apparently also leave the subject vulnerable by damaging their device security.

    See particularly the section “Can innocent people be lawfully hacked?”

    (I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this analysis of the legislation, but it seems to be in line with everything else I have read about it.)

    I oppose the mass surveillance particularly. I think the authorities should instead focus on targeted investigations. Of course if the mass surveillance data is not stored now, it will not be available in the future. This will hamper investigations somewhat, perhaps. But as one campaign group put it, placing security cameras 24/7 in everyone’s bedrooms might provide a lot of useful information to the authorities in the event of a crime, but would we accept such an intrusion? To my mind every intrusion should require a warrant and be specific to the individual suspect.

    Ultimately I think that the state already has too much power and
    right now the UK govt. are not behaving in a way that encourages trust.
    They allowed vast numbers of potentially hostile people from an
    antagonistic culture in and now they are using their presence as an
    excuse to invade our privacy on a large scale. Of course those within the “establishment” have nothing to fear. Its those of us who dare to wander outside the group-think bubble who are at risk from an over-powerful state.

    • I’d like to quote this (pretty well in full) in a discussion of the subject on our front page. Okay with you?

      • If you check who is behind this website here:

        you will see they are Conservatives with a small and a large C, and David Davis who I mentioned before is on their advisory council. I have not scrutinized the bill in detail myself, but I have some confidence these people know what they are talking about. One of them is former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

        The Labour party abstained on the latest vote on this bill, which just goes to show what a bunch of clueless cowardly clowns they really are. Its not got to the final stages yet.

        Anyway I need to go down the pub now my head is ready to explode. I have been working all day, publish what you want to. I will send you some more stuff in a day or two.

  • Don L

    Well, here I go again. Admin, madmin, smadmin…look deeper:

    Since the birth of the FED, there has not been one president in any party that has reduced government. Contrary to popular believe, Reagan was no limited government conservative. He was indeed the great communicator…

    great words not associated with his admins deeds. Elections don’t matter because our leaders are puppets of money…bought and paid for by the FED and the bankers behind it; who are not patriotic and have no loyalty except to money…plunder not profit.

    The idea that law will in anyway stop the NSA is absurd. The ability to enhance the central government’s power is too great. The only way to enforce or rather restablish civil liberty is to eradicate the FED and re-criminalize fractional reserve banking in order to destroy the banking cartels across the world. And, in that process, lo and behold, two-bit dictators disappear, wars of adventurism and cronyism never happen and world hunger goes away too. Terrorism…not without the funding.

    I truly recommend the book ”

    The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve” by G. Edward Griffin. In error I I delayed buying and reading this book for years. Having read so many other books about the FED, I thought I didn’t need another. It is not just about the FED. Oh man, it is so much more. It is 608 pages of the most incredible mystery you’ve ever read. You will see the world in a new light…scary but with solution at hand. You will see this civil liberties or security discussion from a different perspective for sure. Buy it, read it…it’ll be good for you!

  • liz

    My answer, like yours, would depend on who was running the administration.
    The problem has been the same ever since the founding! Even as they ratified the Constitution, the founders knew that it would only work if those elected were honorable, honest people. And statists like Alexander Hamilton were already salivating at the prospect of subverting it. By Lincoln’s day, they were moving in for the kill.
    So how can we expect this to be any different?

    • Don L

      Right on, right on, right on. END THE FED!

      And, of course just a couple decades after Lincoln came Teddy, then Woody, FDR, Nixon…in fact there hasn’t been, contrary to myths about Reagan and Clinton, a conservative/constitutional pres since the FED.

      • liz

        Yes, the FED was like the frontal lobotomy of Constitutional government.

        • Don L

          good analogy.