In the wake of the bombing in Boston earlier this week, Susan Estrich, who by all indicators seems to be a very nice lady, wrote a syndicated column that appeared in our local paper entitled 'Just Keep My Children Safe From Terror'. This no doubt heartfelt column is such a sterling example of wrong thinking that I felt it necessary to address it. She writes:
"What do we want the government to do? How much of our liberty and privacy are willing to give up in the hopes that it might stop terror?.....So this is my answer: I'd give up a lot. You want cameras on every corner? Fine with me. I don't care who pats me down at the airport. Pat away. Keep the confidences of my clients, but other wise my email is an open book. Mine my data;listen to my conversations. If it will keep my children safe, I don't care."
I know,gentle reader ,that there are a plethora of angles from which one could approach this wrong thinking. I'll just throw out a couple of the more obvious ones and we'll see where this goes.
Giving up liberty has never brought security. Ever. Our security is in our liberty. The reason is simple. Your government is more of a threat than any network of terrorists ever will be. To entrust the government with the power it seeks is worse than giving the fox the keys to the henhouse; its giving him the keys, an axe,a pot full of boiling water, and a book of chicken recipes. To trade liberty for safety is to trade what you cannot get back for what you will never gain.
Mrs Estrich says that she would be comfortable living in a surveillance state, which to her would make her safe. Never mind that the governments of the world killed over 200 million people in the last century, a number terrorists could never hope to match. Even if she could give away her liberties in exchange for safety, and even if the state were capable of making her safe, by what right does she impose that condition on everybody else? I for one am not comfortable with more power given to an entity whose very nature is rooted in brutality. It will not keep her children safe nor more than it will keep my children safe. Instead she will be fitting them with the manacles of their own enslavement while softly cooing to them that it's all worth it. Patrick Henry must be turning in his grave by now.
I have full faith and confidence that Mrs. Estrich means every word she wrote. That, unfortunately is the truly scary part.