Due to the erratic behaviour of President Elect Trump no one can possibly know what he will do next. One of the greatest concerns many have is whether or not he will move to curb some of our personal rights in the name of dealing with and securing national security. The big question for each of us is “would you give up some personal freedoms for public safety?” This is a fundamental question but one that is certainly going to be discussed behind many a closed door. Before you answer or make a comment one way or the other let’s consider this from a few sides.
Ben Franklin back on November 11, 1755, said this, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserves neither liberty nor safety”.
I recognize that I will pose many more questions than I can answer but they have to be asked before it’s too late:
1. How much freedom would you give up in exchange for a greater sense of public safety?
2. How certain would you feel knowing that your privacy, security and human rights are now in the hands of the President Elect? I understand that this is Canada not the U.S. but realistically the drummer may be different but the band members are the same.
3. Is it possible that once liberty is given up even though it may be ‘temporary’ the likelihood of it being restored to it’s rightful owners is not great? There cannot be a time frame in the fight for liberty and freedom. Something or someone will always stand in the way of returning civil rights to the citizens.
4. If by listening in on private conversations and monitoring certain web sites we were able to thwart more global as well as domestic threats and in the process save hundreds perhaps thousands of lives would that change your thinking about the exchange of liberty for safety?
5. The President Elect has stated that he would return to violent interventions like water boarding and torture of terrorists to gain information if that would protect American and/or other free world citizens. How far would you want that to go or would you turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to that happening if you thought it would help to prevent a bomb going off in Los Angeles or Dallas or Toronto?
6. Would it be OK to follow those same principles (see #5) in the event of a kidnapping of a young child?
7. Would the use of chemical torture be a more civilized approach since the suspect wouldn’t suffer as much physical pain? Remember he/she may not be guilty of anything but rather just a suspect. Perhaps the use of lie detectors would be better even though we understand they can be beat and are not completely trust worthy.
8. In some countries-the U.K for one-the courts have begun to add further sentences to a repeat offender’s penalty once the original sentence has been served. This is called ‘preventative retention’. Isn’t that a bit like double jeopardy? Human rights advocates would argue that once the sentence has been served and the offender has paid his/her debt to society he/she has the right to live his/her life in a legal, peaceful and lawful manner.
Canada takes a similar stance of adding extra time by naming a select few as ‘dangerous offenders’. This option has been in play since 1947–who knew? Once designated as a dangerous offender the Canadian system can hold someone for an indefinite period of time with little chance of release. It is virtually a ‘life time sentence’. Personally I’m good with this one.
9. Should governments or their agents have full access to individual medical and mental health records without a court order in the event of a public outbreak of a potentially deadly disease? Should they have the right to monitor individuals either electronically or physically because of their medical records? Should they have the right to inoculate people against their will in order to prevent a possible epidemic or the spread of an illness of some kind?
10. How about unlawful search and seizure but being able to use any evidence found if it proved to substantiate some crime being investigated at the time? Or perhaps evidence or information is found that is not directly connected to the initial complaint but is suspected or can be proven to be connected to other crimes or criminals who are planning, are currently or have conducted other criminal or illegal activity–drug dealing or human trafficking for instance.
When I hear people in positions of power talking about how they are going to go after certain groups of people and are going to investigate them for how honest they are and how dangerous they are and then get rid of them red flags go up all over the place for me. I’m a law and order kind of guy and I like the idea of having entrenched and guaranteed personal and human rights that I can depend on to guide us all as a community of human beings.
All I’m saying here is that we need to pay very close attention to those who would ask to have the ‘cuffs’ taken off so they can do what needs to be done to make this a safer place in which to live.
Benjamin Franklin also said in a letter to Jane Mecom, 1773: “If you make yourself a sheep the wolves will eat you”. Words to live by.
Anyways, that’s the way I see things today. All the best, Jim
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