Sunday, June 9th, 2013

There’s one trope zipping around out there at the moment in connection with the current storm over phone records and data mining that makes me a little bit crazy – and that is the discussion of whether or not the American people will “trade off” civil liberties for what is really merely a sense of security. The terms of the transaction are obviously incorrect. The American people are not being asked to “trade” their civil liberties. They are being asked to surrender them, for all practical purposes, permanently.

Civil liberties are not something you get to “trade,” not least because they don’t all belong to you. They belong to me, too…. You give yours away, you’re giving mine away, too, whether I want you to do so or not. Therefore, we all surrender those civil liberties. We do not trade them because we don’t get anything back. And it’s not like we can cut another deal later to get them back. We at least should be honest about this. We aren’t making a square deal with an equal partner here. We are committing ourselves to be less free.

— Charles P. Pierce, writing in Esquire’s The Politics Blog

trading liberty NOT | 5:02 pm CST
Category: Big Book of Quotations, daily drivel
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