Security and Liberty in the US

Security and Liberty in the US

Has the US swung too far away from its heritage of liberty in its quest for security?

The US founding father that fought for our independence expressed a heritage that has largely been referred to as the US heritage of liberty given to the US citizens by the creator himself. The US heritage of liberty that can be described as the US citizens’ status of being free from servitude, confinement, or forced labor. The US heritage of liberty provided that the US citizens’ would always be free from oppressive restriction as well as control by a government. That the US citizens will enjoy the right to participate in particular actions without the interference or control by a government. The US heritage of liberty is anchored and protected by the Bill of Rights that provides that the natural law is the foundation of the US free and just society. In addition, this bill of rights provides that without moral, virtuous people, moral and virtuous leaders a free and just society cannot exist.

However, it is in the affirmative that the US quest for security has significantly made it swing away from its heritage of liberty. In the recent years, the US government have adopted drastic measure aimed at securing the country from the never-ending security threats. The threats are propagated by the extensive growth of terrorism globally, foreign rivalry from the massive US quest for a free, just and fair society as well as climatic change. All these and many other have compelled the US to boost its security measure both locally and internationally an act that has resulted in limiting of hard-fought US heritage for liberty.

As a result of this, now the US citizens are experiencing extreme government control of their rights to conform to security standards. The people are now subjected to actions such as extensive search so as to enter the US borders, Uncomfortable security management and control in our airports as well as other areas that can grant people access to the US. In addition, the quest for security by our government has made the US citizen look like an enemy in Asian countries such as Iraq, North Korea among other areas where the US security mission has reached (Shaffer, 2017).

Did the recent Supreme Court rulings on illegally obtained evidence, limiting Miranda rights, limiting habeas corpus, etc., go too far?

Basically, a writ of habeas corpus is guidance to the authority such as a police or prison warden by the court to produce the prisoner as well as justify the prisoner’s detention. Therefore, in the event that the prisoner successfully argues that the detention or incarceration was in violation of a constitutional right, then a court can order the prisoner’s release. In the Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the majority bench held that the admission of an elicited incriminating statement by a suspect who was not informed of these rights violates the Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, through the incorporation of these rights into state law (Holland, 2016). This meant that any occasion of failure by the law enforcement officials to offer a Miranda warning to an individual in their custody, despite interrogating and acting upon the knowledge gained, they may not use that person’s statements as evidence against him or her in a criminal trial.

This ruling by the highest court in our country went too far. This is because it gave a great opportunity for a criminal to go free at a mere mistake by the law enforcement officials. This is also a great threat to the US heritage of liberty because it limits other people’s right to fairness and justice. In this case, the suspect who had raped a woman benefited from the limited Miranda rights and thus the woman did not receive any justice. This ruling is set to be applied in lower courts which would cascade the injustice downwards which is a dangerous precedent that threats the heritage of our liberty.

Is the Patriot Act a necessary tool to fight terrorism?

Following the famous 9/11 terrorism in the US, the Patriot Act was enacted to fight terrorism. This law is a necessary tool as it assists in preventing terrorism. In addition, the law is good because it poses so minimal risk to civil liberties. The Patriot Act law just allows the relevant counterterrorism agents employ tools that our law enforcement agencies have used for decades (Sales, 2014). The law contains extensive or elaborate safeguards against abuse. It is evident that after the law was enacted following the 2001 terrorism, the acts of terrorism of 9/11 magnitude has reduced. Even though the Patriot Act interferes with private privacy, it has resulted in a moral good.

Is security work a loss of liberty?

No, security work is not a loss of liberty. However, it good to note that the continuing threat to security needs to be controlled in order to promote our liberty. In addition, it is also unexpected that people may demand to enjoy their liberty at the expense of security. People cannot afford to give up liberty for the sake of security and the opposite is true. Thus, neither of these two can exist in isolation. Therefore, a good balance is need between security work and effects to maintain liberty (Garcia, & Geva, 2016).

Was Benjamin Franklin right when he remarked that “people who trade liberty for security, deserve neither?”

Benjamin Franklin was absolutely right in his remarks that people who trade liberty for security do not deserve either of them. This is because the two cannot exist independently. Liberty entails the right to freedom of expression, privacy, movement, just among other rights. When liberty is traded for security, all these rights are eroded and even if safety can be achieved, it would be at the expense of bill of rights that promotes liberty. The governments have vowed to protect our border through increased security measures. However, as Benjamin Franklin argued, the government has quite sophisticated systems, high capacity, legal as well as technical skills that are used to collect and retain peoples personal information case a reason to cause high discomfort. The government has intruded in its peoples’ right to privacy. People cannot be happy with such practices and hence cannot support the extensive government quest for security.

Is security worth the price?

Security is essential for national developing and maintaining a healthy international policy. However, security is not worth the price of losing liberty. People who have lost liberty and acquired security will not be cooperative and hence the acquired security will just be short lived. The government must work to balance between security and liberty and ensure that it does not trade either of them for the sake of one them (Garcia, & Geva, 2016). Liberty and security are critical ingredients of national growth and unity.

Is this just a modern version of Hobbes v Locke?

No, this is not a modern version of Hobbes v Locke. This is because liberty is of the paramount essence to each and every person. Without liberty, both Hobbes and Locke could not have got an opportunity to voice their theories. Therefore, even though the two theorists differed significantly human nature, state of nature and in their knowledge of law among other factors, they could jointly not support trading liberty for security (Carnoy, 2014). They could advocate that there should be a balance between the two. This is because liberty would allow them to coin their arguments while security would protect and command respect for their views.


Carnoy, M. (2014). The state and political theory. Princeton University Press.

Garcia, B. E., & Geva, N. (2016). Security versus liberty in the context of counterterrorism: an     experimental approach. Terrorism and Political Violence, 28(1), 30-48.

Holland, B. (2016). Teaching Miranda v. Arizona at its 50th Anniversary. Social Education, 80(1),           20-25.

Sales, N. (2014). The Patriot Act Is a Vital Weapon in Fighting Terrorism. Retrieved from New                 York Times: http://www. nytimes. com/roomfordebate/2011/09/07/do-we-still-need-the-   patriot-act/the-patriot-act-is-a-vital-weapon-in-fighting-terrorism.

Shaffer, R. (2017). Emerging security threats in the Middle East: the impact of climate change     and globalization.

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