Liberty and Safety Trade-Off

Liberty and Safety Trade-Off

I agree with Benjamin Franklin the statement. The statement by Benjamin Franklin showed a possible trade-off between liberty and safety and had been used variably mostly in civil liberty and criminology. Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act) is one conspicuous application of the statement.

USA PATRIOT Act seeks to promote domestic security against terrorism. One of the provisions of the act is the Surveillance procedures that revolve around surveillance of suspected terrorists (Manz, 2016). In this provision, the act gives government agencies power to collect intelligence on American and non-American citizens. While applying Franklin’s statement, the act requires an exchange between personal liberties to attain safety. To safeguard the security of  American citizens, it requires that liberties of suspected terrorists are infringed on.

It is a fundamental right of every citizen to have an extent of privacy. In the provision of the bill of rights, it is important that rights and freedoms of every person are respected. However, to maintain safety, it is provided in the USA PATRIOT Act that, government agencies can conduct searches in terrorism investigations (The United States, 2014). Such searches include gaining access to stored voicemail, papers, and houses where a probable cause exists.

In the quest for maximum liberty, bans on searches would be imposed completely thus safeguarding the rights of every citizen to unlimited privacy. According to Manz (2016), the consequences of banning searches would be a loss of safety since it would be illegal to search houses for murder weapons or even dead bodies and other connections to criminal activities. Consequently, people would indeed lose their liberty too since criminals would render the populace prisoners of insecurity. It, therefore, goes without saying that it is important to trade liberty for long-term safety.

References

In Manz, W. H. (2016). USA Patriot Act: A legislative history of the Uniting and Strengthening of America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, Public Law no. 107-56 (2001): Series IV.

The United States. (2014). Strengthening privacy rights and national security: Oversight of FISA surveillance programs: hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, first session, July 31, 2013.

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