Friday, April 3, 2009

Liberty Versus Security

Friday, a gunman stormed into a New York immigration class, slaughtering thirteen people before killing himself. It’s the fifth mass shooting in the U.S. during this month alone, shootings that have left 44 people dead.

It’s inevitable that the usual suspects will use this tragedy as evidence that increased gun control is necessary, just as they did after Columbine, Virginia Tech, and every other newsworthy massacre. Their arguments haven’t changed much over the years—gun violence is a major problem in the United States, and one that can only be solved by aggressive gun control.

Assume that they are correct. Assume that if stringent gun control laws were passed, violent crime would drop precipitously. Imagine that more controls on gun ownership could make shooting sprees like the one in New York a thing of the past, and would make every American’s life much safer. The only drawback would be that many Americans would be forced to surrender their guns. Would such a measure be worth it?

(Of course, gun control has not had a very good record—countries such as Great Britain, which have virtually no guns, are still plagued with high crime rates.)

Some people would say “yes,” that any law that makes citizens safer is a just and worthy law. And there is something to be said for that argument—it is one of the primary duties of any government to keep its citizens protected. And guns serve no other purpose than to kill, and most guns are made for the purpose of killing human beings.

But there is another side to this argument, that I think trumps the pro-gun control viewpoint. The framers of America’s Constitution included the Second Amendment for reason. They felt that the right to bear arms to defend oneself was an important human right, one worth guaranteeing in the nation’s founding document. (Although actually, the Founders probably included the Second Amendment more to ensure that a militia was always available than to make sure that citizens could shoot intruders. Still, the point stands that they considered the right to bear arms a right of every citizen).

It is rarely a good practice to do an evil so that a good may result. And that is why I think that it is wrong to violate a constitutional right in the name of law and order. Sometimes it is not possible to fully guarantee one right (the right to life and property) without violating another (the right to bear arms). Many people fail to consider this.

It is the same with health care. If a European style nationalized system would work—if it would make health care more efficient and more affordable, there would still be a strong case to be made that moving in that direction would be inadvisable. Because it would put the most important thing any of us have—our health—into the hands of the government. Maybe the government would be a good steward of the public health. But maybe it would not. Health care is a very important thing—too important, I think, for the individual to surrender his autonomy in this matter to the state.

America was built around the ideals of liberty, and the individual. Absolute liberty is obviously impossible—one’s liberty does not allow one to infringe on the rights of others. And absolute individualism is likewise impossible—every society requires mutual cooperation.

But if absolute liberty and individualism are not possible, it is still best, I think, to maximize both as far as possible. Because the very foundation of our democracy is liberty, and any attempt to limit it undercuts our democracy. Sometimes, perhaps, we must make sacrifices for liberty—but they are worth making.

20 Comments:

At April 4, 2009 at 6:07 AM , Blogger Beth said...

This posting reminds me of the quote from Ben Franklin, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

That gunman had on his person a hunting knife of sorts, so even if he didn't have a gun, he could have still carried out his deadly mission. It's true, guns don't kill people, people kill people.

And as for those who think the federal government should take over healthcare, doing so is like giving the government a monopoly. One that has powers to legislate things, so that our freedoms as patients and doctors are limited greatly, not to mention they'll have no incentive to be efficient.

 
At April 4, 2009 at 8:08 AM , Blogger BB-Idaho said...

It would be interesting how we would respond had the perpetrator been an Al Quaida terrorist...

 
At April 4, 2009 at 8:19 AM , Blogger Beth said...

What does that matter BB, terrorists or criminals would equally disregard any gun control law they'd come up with to supposedly stop this sort of thing from happening, when instead we should allow more people carry weapons so that when something like this happens we can stop being a victim and start fighting the crazy person or terrorist with a gun.

(Maybe buy stock in metal detector manufacturers, they might start getting more orders.)

 
At April 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM , Blogger BB-Idaho said...

The cop killer in Pittsburg was worried about his rights

 
At April 6, 2009 at 8:04 AM , Anonymous John said...

Beth, What an observe analogy, you sound like you are living in another world. I'm sorry but you Talk, Talk, Talk and it sounds like nothing.
Perhaps you should stick to the abortion issue. I think that you might feel a bit more comfortable talking about that. You seem to be more versed in that topic.
Sorry if I sound as if I attacked you..But I just can't help myself.

 
At April 6, 2009 at 11:19 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Since I didn't use an analogy perhaps you could point out John where you see a flaw in my commentary, thanks.

 
At April 6, 2009 at 11:23 AM , Anonymous John said...

Beth, What an absurd analogy, you sound like you are living in another world. I'm sorry but you Talk, Talk, Talk and it sounds like nothing.
Perhaps you should stick to the abortion issue. I think that you might feel a bit more comfortable talking about that. You seem to be more versed in that topic.
Sorry if I sound as if I attacked you..But I just can't help myself. Every time you post you go into outer space. Indeed, it is an absurd analogy..Just like you always change to subject back to abortion.
I doubt if you realize it but
people like you are doing more to advance abortion than anyone else by your ridiculous views.

 
At April 6, 2009 at 11:48 AM , Blogger Beth said...

I see, you are unable to actually debate the issues and can only resort to personal attacks. Typical, and sad.

 
At April 6, 2009 at 11:52 AM , Blogger Matt Rose said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At April 6, 2009 at 11:58 AM , Blogger Matt Rose said...

Unfortunately most stupid people don't even realize that they are stupid...
Some of them have a blind side and just can not apprehend that NOT every road leads to abortion ..And that there are more subjects to debate than the Pro-Life, Pro-choice debate.

But I would like to know If conservatives are so damn smart, how come they act so dumb?
Sometimes you get a little frustrated at some people when they are talking about a subject and then get side-tracked to their pet topic like abortion LOL.
Some damn conservatives have nothing else to do but spend their day sitting on their lard asse’s wanting to over turn Roe v. Wade. These people are the are anti-choice, pro-Fascism, anti-woman rights righteous conservative hypocrites ......Sarah Palin is the culmination of the progress of the stupid conservative.

 
At April 6, 2009 at 3:50 PM , Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Beth, regarding "What does that matter BB, terrorists or criminals would equally disregard any gun control law they'd come up with"
..we have invested substanitally as a country is stopping killing of innocents by terrorists. We seem to blandly accept the killing of innocents by our own psychos.
I'm suggesting, since the results are the same, perhaps we need DO
something (besides urge everyone to arm themselves and take the law into their own hands). I have no answer, just wondering....

 
At April 6, 2009 at 4:34 PM , Blogger Beth said...

You makes some good points, BB, we did establish the Homeland Security to prevent terrorist attacks, but there is no Domestic Psycho Security Department. Although psychos operate totally different from terrorists, whose plots and plans are discussed and can possibly be intercepted, whereas lone crazed man's head cannot be wire tapped. But generally there should be ways to prevent the situation from happening.

We have been asked to be vigilant when someone looks suspicious to us at the airport, perhaps we all should keep ourselves aware of those around us and if they seem on the edge.

Other than that, I'm not sure what we can do, because sometimes people snap and how can we see that coming quickly enough?

 
At April 6, 2009 at 8:54 PM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

BB, you make a good point--is there anything we can do to prevent such mass killings? I hope so, and maybe someone, somewhere has an answer. Possibly better mental health programs are an answer--many of these murderers display homicidal tendencies prior to their crimes. Of course, there are some civil rights issues there. Mass shootings are almost impossible to prevent--the best way, I think, is good police work and vigilance by all of us. Even if you don't carry a gun (I don't carry), knowing what to do in a violent situation can help reduce the deaths because of such shootings.

 
At April 7, 2009 at 5:39 AM , Blogger The Wordsmith said...

"Liberty Versus Security" The Bill of Rights . Amendments to the U.S. Constitution . National Defense .... I hope that you are satisfied and that you are happy now. Next time the republicans should think twice before sitting out an election and letting Obama win think about this!
Something all you weak kneed Republicans should think about next time you get your knickers in a twist. By Your very lack of support for the party you claim to be a part of, you handed the election to Mr. Zero. Even now, many of you are still dumping on Sarah Palin. With supporters like you, who needs enemies. Even though I was ticked at McCain, I still got out and voted for our party. But did you?

 
At April 8, 2009 at 7:38 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Even though I was ticked at McCain, I still got out and voted for our party. But did you?"

I did get out and vote. I just didn't vote for the Republican nominee. I'm not a party loyalist. My allegience and my loyalty lie with an ideology (not a party).

McCain wouldn't have offered anything even remotely different than did Bush. And, quite honestly, 8 years was quite enough of:

Subsidies for ethanol, mass transit and light rail boondoggles, professional sports team stadiums, collectivizing private property through smoking bans, demonizing Bill Clinton for his prescription drug plan only to then applaud Bush when he freekin' signed it into law, doubling the department of education and subsequently its union membership, promoting an easy monetary policy.

But the coup de gras my dear boy would of course been the disasterous Bush/Paulsen panic bailout which (without question) has now set the standard going forward.

It's two sides of the same coin. Perhaps one day you'll come to terms with that reality rather than being the de facto apologist for it.

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton outlet, coach purses, prada outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, nike shoes, red bottom shoes, longchamp handbags, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin outlet, oakley vault, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, true religion outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, coach outlet, ray ban outlet, nike air max, burberry outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, kate spade outlet online, polo ralph lauren, coach outlet store online, nike air max, tiffany jewelry, cheap oakley sunglasses, coach outlet, true religion, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, michael kors outlet online, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online, nike free, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton, jordan shoes, prada handbags

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:37 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

nike blazer pas cher, lacoste pas cher, timberland, north face, air max, guess pas cher, nike free, air jordan, sac louis vuitton, air max pas cher, hollister, michael kors canada, lululemon, barbour, abercrombie and fitch, burberry pas cher, hermes pas cher, vans pas cher, north face pas cher, nike air max, sac vanessa bruno, chaussure louboutin, mulberry, nike roshe run, ralph lauren pas cher, louis vuitton, louis vuitton pas cher, sac michael kors, converse pas cher, nike free pas cher, oakley pas cher, ralph lauren, longchamp, new balance pas cher, hollister, nike roshe, louis vuitton uk, tn pas cher, scarpe hogan, true religion jeans, nike air force, longchamp pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban pas cher, ray ban uk, true religion outlet, nike air max

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

marc jacobs outlet, beats headphones, canada goose, rolex watches, abercrombie and fitch, celine handbags, new balance outlet, instyler ionic styler, ugg boots, reebok shoes, roshe run, uggs on sale, ghd, north face jackets, nike huarache, valentino shoes, vans outlet, ugg outlet, p90x workout, ugg soldes, mont blanc pens, chi flat iron, canada goose outlet, lululemon outlet, ferragamo shoes, longchamp, nfl jerseys, asics shoes, mac cosmetics, bottega veneta, north face outlet, herve leger, birkin bag, wedding dresses, insanity workout, soccer shoes, soccer jerseys, giuseppe zanotti, nike trainers, canada goose outlet, babyliss pro, canada goose outlet, hollister, jimmy choo shoes, uggs outlet, ugg, mcm handbags

 
At November 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler, moncler outlet, hollister, juicy couture outlet, ralph lauren, moncler, louis vuitton canada, montre femme, moncler, canada goose pas cher, pandora uk, parajumpers outlet, thomas sabo uk, iphone 6 case, ray ban, lancel, oakley, swarovski jewelry, supra shoes, moncler, louboutin, uggs canada, coach outlet, swarovski uk, wedding dress, ugg, canada goose, baseball bats, canada goose, timberland shoes, replica watches, pandora jewelry, gucci, moncler, converse shoes, air max, karen millen, hollister clothing, juicy couture outlet, pandora charms, hollister canada, vans, converse, links of london uk, nike air max, moncler, toms outlet, canada goose uk

 
At December 23, 2015 at 12:01 AM , Blogger 柯云 said...

2015-12-23keyun
gucci outlet
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton handbags
the north face jackets
nike free 5.0
retro 11
nike huarache white
michael kors outlet
ugg boots sale
kobe 8
canada goose sale
chanel bags
tory burch
ugg slippers
michael kors outlet online
abercrombie and fitch
polo ralph lauren
ugg australia
oakley outlet
ugg boots outlet
michaek kors outlet
swarovski crystal
cheap oakley sunglasses
tory burch outlet online
coach outlet online
louis vuitton purses
canada goose
lebron james basketball shoes
michael kors outlet sale
uggs for women
tory burch outlet
ray ban sunglasses
hollister
christian louboutin shoes
marc jacobs outlet
canada goose outlet
adidas superstar shoes
louis vuitton bags
ugg outlet
mont blanc pens

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home