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engl 1b sirkin-Liberties over Securities

engl 1b sirkin-Liberties over Securities - Prof Sirkin...

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Prof. Sirkin English 1B 10 October, 2006 Liberties over Security No one argues that security is not important. It is just as important for the happiness and well being of our nation. The importance of security is not what should be questioned, but the actions that are being done to achieve that security are what need to be criticized. Many times the actions that are taken in response to security deny us the civil liberties that are promised to us as citizens of this great nation. In “Security Versus Civil Liberties,” Richard A. Posner argues that the importance of security outweighs the importance of civil liberties when our nation feels threatened. His main point is that, “The greater the threat that an activity poses to the nation’s safety, the stronger will the grounds seem for seeking to repress that activity, even at some cost to liberty.” He also mentions how it is important that the benefits of having greater security are greater than the loss of liberty so long as they are both weighted out carefully. Another point that Posner makes is that of how previous overreactions in our history have been necessary, and at times not enough, to make sure that our security wasn’t at stake. He gives examples of the Japanese attack on the U.S. which resulted on the attack on Pearl Harbor and the installation of missiles in Cuba by the Soviets that sparked the Cuban missile crisis. Both of these, he argues, were underestimated dangers that could have been prevented if the proper measures were taken. In addition he argues that “legalities must sometimes be sacrificed for other values” by emphasizing that the constitution is a man made set of laws and should not be taken literally, rather it should be taken openly with willingness to change and improvements.
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Eric Foner’s “The Most Patriot Act” on the other hand argues that our civil liberties are too important to be given up, especially when the nation is on alert. He points out that our civil rights and liberties “Are not gifts from the state that can be rescinded when it desires. They are the inheritance of a long history of struggles.” He mentions that freedom is not what is on our constitution or a systematic way of living, rather it is the “Disagreements and battles” that help define what our liberties are. He uses the examples of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1978 and the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans during the WW II to prove how liberties have come about through struggles and Disagreements.
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