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Thursday, September 05, 2013

It's The Liberty, Stupid

Today's must-read is a piece by Dan Gillmor, in which he wishes for a presidential candidate who would give a speech about liberty. An excerpt:

Our political leaders have made a calculation in recent years. They believe you are too frightened, too cowardly, to face the truth – and that you think liberty is much less important than temporary safety.

We are human. Terrorism unleashes our deepest fears, and our most lethal fury, even though the risk for any one of us is vanishingly low. We must challenge the fear mongers, and ourselves.

Here is the truth. We will be attacked again, no matter what we do to prevent it. Americans will die. Murderers like the Boston bombers will evade our best efforts at prevention. Rarely, but realistically, they will find a way to commit their crimes because in an open society we can't possibly seal every border, building and open space; we can't watch everyone closely enough; and we can't track every material that someone can turn into part of a bomb. If we did that, and all the other things we'd have to do, we would become a police state.

And remember: in police states, the biggest crimes – the worst acts of terrorism – are committed by government.

Yes, we will be attacked again. No matter who is president when it happens, we will hunt down the murderers and bring them to justice.

But if I'm in the White House, we won't give them what they want by punishing ourselves, as we did in too many ways after the horrors of 9/11. We won't again waste thousands of lives and trillions of dollars on an unnecessary war and security measures that do little, if anything, to make us safer, but much to curb our liberty.

We will mourn our victims, rebuild what was destroyed and remember that we take some risks for our liberty. Terrorists will realize how America's liberty and resilience is what truly makes us strong, and that they have no possible way to bring us down as a free nation.

Our immediate task is to restore the liberties we've lost in the past decade and more. This does not mean a unilateral disarmament in preventing terrorism and crime. It does mean putting liberty first, where it belongs.

President Obama and his team believe we are not entitled to know what our government is doing in our names and with our money. He says, "trust me", but he doesn't even begin to trust us. My first goal as president will be to restore that trust.
There's more -- read Gillmor's entire piece here.