Ben Franklin might have had it right

"People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both." Those are the words of Benjamin Franklin, a patriot, inventor and diplomat who helped secure our country’s freedom from England during the Revolutionary War.
Jul 25, 2013

 

His words reach us now, more than 250 years later, at a time when Congress is considering clipping the National Security Agency’s wings after citizens became aware that our own government is spying on us.

Franklin would no doubt be leading the charge to stomp out the NSA’s domestic activities and redirect their efforts toward threats from the outside. He would characterize this full-scale espionage on its citizenry as nothing less than anti-American and un-constitutional.

Americans themselves, however, are split on this issue. Some think that they have nothing to hide, so spy away if it keeps us even a little bit safer. Others think this is a sign of a big brother, tyrannical government that has become too intrusive and controlling of its populace.

The truth of the matter is that our Founding Fathers would have been outraged at the most recent National Security Agency’s activities. But, then again, most of us would have been equally as outraged pre-9/11.

9/11 changed everything. The terrorist attacks shattered our collective belief that we were untouchable. And it was with 9/11 that our freedoms, and privacy, started to disintegrate.

Our phone records, texts, e-mails and Internet usage are being tracked, recorded and analyzed. This is happening. To us all.

The federal government holds up the shiny promise of national security and downplays just how much we’ve lost. The problem is that this is all an illusion of security.

Now that the curtain has been pulled aside, and some of the domestic espionage revealed, it’s tough not to look at the man behind the curtain. Perhaps it is because of this public relations nightmare that congressmen and women are scrutinizing the NSA, how it is funded and what exactly it does.

What some members of Congress have said, however, lead us to believe that they’ve known about this domestic spying for quite some time.

One congressman said the American people would be shocked to learn how much the government knows about them. And this was before the leaks about the cellphone tracking.

President Obama himself said Congress has approved and known about the NSA’s activities for years. But yet now Congress members are “shocked” to learn about the NSA’s activities, once the American people started asking questions.

Hmm — that seems a little disingenuous.

We can only hope that the decisions Congress and our president make – and any subsequent follow-through – will uphold our freedoms and rights as American citizens while providing a necessary level of national security.

It is a delicate balance, but one that must be achieved. If not, Franklin just might turn out to be right – that we’ll lose both our security and freedom.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

truthhurts

i think that quote applies to more than the NSA!!! Well written article, thanks.

Wingmaster

That quote looks vaguely familiar, ah here it is...8th comment downhttp://www.grandhaventribune.com...

And yes your right Truth, it applies to a lot more the just the NSA.

truthhurts

.

Lanivan

;

bigdeal

!

Lanivan

+

Wingmaster

(0)(0)'s

Lanivan

?

Wingmaster

Keep thinking!

Lanivan

I have, and I'm not liking the answer. Would Ben approve?

Wingmaster

Most definitely although he may have been a leg man!

Lanivan

:D

dyankee

The headline should read "Ben Franklin HAD it right!" Well, baby steps I guess for the GHT and I applaud your efforts.

Now students, apply this quote to the opposing view points of the Democrat party, President Obama's agenda, most major inner cities, the EPA, anti 2nd Amendment zealots, PETA, Sierra Club, man-made global warming believers, green energy advocates, food patrol Nazi's, anti-military haters, the NSA, the IRS, the DEQ, most local municipality building departments, and the GH harbor sheriff patrol boater "spot" checking for no good reason annoyances....well, perhaps the last one belongs in a different category.

"IF YOU LET FREEDOM RING IT WILL PLAY BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR EVERYONE AND WILL ATTRACT THE PEOPLE'S HAPPINESS RATHER THAN THE BATTLE OF PURSUING IT" Dyankee - 7/26/13

bigdeal

Fearmongering & lies still dyank???

dyankee

Why don't you expand on your accusations instead of a jab & move approach? Provide any examples of the "promotion" of an individual's responsbility, liberty, property rights, and freedom by my aforementioned groups and/or persons. If not, then, I guess your post is nobigdeal.

bigdeal

"anti 2nd amendment zealots" would have been Ronny Raygun, Mitt Romney & Sarah Palin.

dyankee

I listed 16 groups as blockers of freedom and you hit on only one! Then, proceed with your conclusion of my post as fear mongering & lies?

What about the other 93.75% of my post's content? By way of correction, you're confusing "anti 2nd amendment zealots" with Ray Nagun, Mutt Lange, and Sarah Brady. Yawn, all in a day's work....carry on.

Wingmaster

Zealots: One who is zealous, especially excessively so. Reagan signed the Firearm Owners Protection Act which also added more rifles to the banned list....hardly a zealots move BD!

Walking Alive

Dyanker used it about the Obama administration. What guns has he banned? I wonder what your reactions would be if Obama did what Reagan did?

Wingmaster

Same, I was pissed at Reagan when he knee jerk. By the way it did not change one thing when Reagan did it as we are talking about gun crime some 20 years later!

Deal with the idiot behind the gun.

Lanivan

I would like to note that Benjamin Franklin was a fascinating person in many ways. He was a Deist, a Mason who was deeply interest in Masonic Secrets, and there is evidence in much of his writings that he believed in the mysteries of Occultism.

Wingmaster

Glad he was not able to text!!

bigdeal

True, he would have been an NSA target if he was alive and texting today.

I often wondered, what Ben would think of his USA today if he were to come back. I always thought it would be cool to take him for a car ride. I'm sure he would have some words of wisdom about the drivers out there. lol

Lanivan

You gents might also be interested in the fact that he was quite the "player" with an eye for the ladies - of all ages! He was the poster boy for Free Love, New Age, and Freedom, in all it's incarnations....

http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-...

Wingmaster

Oh geez, do ya always have to go there Lan? Would rather that be kept in the back of a Chevy van.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

Lanivan

Hey, Wing - don't kill the messenger just because you don't like the message (again).

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness - Ben Franklin style. Just pointing out the facts, just like Vlad has instructed me on numerous occasions. Apparently, you're ok with it just as long as it's kept secret?

Wingmaster

Yes, somethings just belong there.

dyankee

...or a Ford Lanivan

Lanivan

Bullseye - high 5.

Wingmaster

Didn't fit my song reference. Besides I don't like the hippie beads and funny smoke in Lanivans!

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