Magazine article Consumers' Research Magazine

On Liberty. (Consumer Letters)

Magazine article Consumers' Research Magazine

On Liberty. (Consumer Letters)

Article excerpt

As a former New Yorker, and a peace-abiding civil libertarian, I take issue with the article from Consumer Alert entitled "Liberty and Security--In the Aftermath of September 11," (CR, October 2001). Your use of Ben Franklin's quote, "Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" especially, is neither appropriate nor necessary. In addition, you cite a number of currently proposed safety measures that can potentially infringe on basic civil liberties. Though I agree with you in principle (and in peace-time) that no such measures ought to be allowed (though debate on them is healthy), I would like to remind you of the present situation in New York City, where the correlation between liberty and security has been balanced sensibly and effectively, in prevalent view, by New York City's former Mayor.

Firstly, Rudolph Giuliani made my city safer for me by curtailing the freedoms of drug dealers, thieves and other thugs to inflict their "businesses" on me and my neighbors. My liberties and their "liberties" must not be considered on equal footing, and the liberties of peace-loving people and terrorists must not be considered equal, either.

Secondly, what you may consider an infringement on someone's rights, such as indefinite detention of suspects, interception of client-attorney conversations, etc., I view as essential safety precautions in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack to pre-empt any further such attacks on my city, on my country, on my democracy, and on myself. My liberties were not even infringed on at the airport security checkpoint, where I wish they had been. …

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