President Barack Obama recently spoke about his intention to reform the National Security Agency and the way it collects massive amounts of data regarding Americans’ phone calls and emails. Obviously, he’s bowing to the pressure he’s receiving from both sides of the aisle on this one.
How much will change and how long it will take remain to be seen, of course. I wouldn’t hold my breath on this, if I were you. The Obama Administration has always justified this spying by claiming that they are only looking for terrorist connections, and that in an age of terrorism we have to be willing to give up certain freedoms in order to obtain the security we need.
Please forgive us we if don’t have a great deal of confidence in that claim, especially considering how invasive this administration has been since day one.
Senator Rand Paul, who has been one of the strongest proponents for liberty over the past decade, doesn’t believe we should have to sacrifice one for the other. One of his quotes while speaking at Freedom Fest in 2012 was, “In America today, we’re not yet burning people at the stake, fortunately. Nor are we burning books. But your government is interested in what books you read. They’re interested in what you say in your phone calls. They’re interested in what you write in your emails.”
He followed up by saying, “We have been too lax in giving up our privacy. We are trading our liberty for some sort of sense of ostensible security. Look at how we travel now, the personal privacy and dignity we’ve lost…When we give up our dignity and basic freedoms that we’ve always enjoyed as Americans, we give the terrorists a victory they most certainly don’t deserve. We lose something too important to who we are as a people.”
How do you feel about this? Has the government gone too far in terms of taking away our liberties in order to provide security, or are they just doing what they need to do to keep us safe? I hope you’ll chime in on this important issue.