Someone I know to be a self-proclaimed liberal told me the other day that I was fooling myself for believing that a little security against Islamo-Fascism was beneficial to society. He used a quote from Benjamin Franklin that has recently become popular to his kind:
"Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security."
I remember laughing to myself as I thought this was probably the only quote by Benjamin Franklin that would be remotely useful to a liberal. Old Ben was an amazing advocate of personal responsibility and merit-based rewards, things that seem to be far from the liberal mind-set nowadays. What's more important I think is this: the quote is also often written as "Anyone who trades essential liberty for safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Like this, the meaning changes dramatically. When I told this to the individual that had started the argument, he seemed to lose all desire for further conversation.
I would have to agree with Ben, but only in the most extreme of cases. If I have to live with my international telephone calls being tapped by the CIA while being protected from suicide bombers and airline hijackers, then so be it. Having my bag checked at the airport seems like a small price to pay for security in the skies.
A less well known quote of Ben's is "Distrust and caution are the parents of security." But then, distrust of those who might be terrorists (aka, profiling) doesn't fit the liberal bill. He also said "God helps those who help themselves" and "The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."
Ben Franklin was not a perfect man, and his words were by no means the perfect model for society and life. I do believe he knew what freedom was, and also believe the liberal model is far from it. Crying about wire-tapping as violations of basic rights and liberty is a waste of time considering how modern liberalism is headed. Some law-makers chastise President Bush for "spying" on the American public while they conspire to increase our taxes, take away our rights to provide our own health care, limit our ability to fund our own retirement, and violate our Second Amendment rights. They want to control what type of car we can drive and prevent parents from home-schooling their children. It's the philosophy that silences debate in the classroom, fosters hatred between races and social classes, tells us we can't eat certain foods, and says we should accept everything and everyone no matter how vile or repulsive. The list goes on.
As far as I can see liberalism has become one of the greatest modern threats to freedom and civil liberties, and promises to get worse. Such violations may not be as overt as wire tapping or arresting people suspected of terrorist ties. But they are far more dangerous because they are hard to recognize in daily life, slowly parasitizing and eating away at liberty. By the time they are recognized, the infection is so far matured it's developed to untreatable levels.