30 October, 2006

Freedom Versus Security: The False Alternative

The Undercurrent -- Freedom Versus Security: The False Alternative:
"But both sides are wrong because Hobbes was wrong. In mischaracterizing freedom as the state of anarchy and security as life under the protective fist of government oppression, Hobbes creates a false alternative. It is only by accepting this alternative that we’re led to believe freedom and security are conflicting goals.
Where one philosopher led us into this mess, another can lead us out: Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism. Rand argues that “Freedom…has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion.” A man is free to act so long he is left unrestrained and unthreatened by others. It is only in the presence of physical coercion, i.e. insecurity, that a man loses his freedom. In this broad sense, freedom and security are synonymous. To be free is to be secure. To be secure is to be free. Proper security measures taken at stadiums, for example, make possible the freedom to watch and enjoy sporting events.

In failing to recognize this harmony, we are led to believe that freedom entails allowing terrorists to plot against us with impunity, and that security entails allowing government to violate our rights at whim. Instead, we should pursue both freedom and security–by allowing the government to vigorously combat terrorists in a manner consistent with freedom."


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