Thursday, February 4, 2016

In 1759, Benjamin Franklin said “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” He was arguing for lower taxes that were being used for defense against possible French or Indian attacks.
Hundreds of years later, this quote is still being used, but in a different context. With Orwellian horrors coming near reality, people have started using Franklin’s quote to counter ideas of the government having total control. Taking the “new meaning” into context, this quote shows priority  of freedom over safety. If somebody gives away any amount of freedom, they will give away more. One example of this lies 182 years later. When Nazi Germany took the freedoms of the people of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and other nations,Governments and Allies of those nations did nothing. They gave up the freedom of trade and the people in an attempt to appease Germany. This was the wrong decision for the Allies, and they did not deserve the half year of peace they had. One could easily say that Benjamin Franklin was wrong on this matter, and that giving up some freedoms is necessary and a part of life. After 9/11, many Americans were happy to give up freedoms at airports to assure safe travels. They accepted long lines at security check-ins and full body scans. One might argue that this minor inconvenience at airports is well worth the amount of security it gives. At first glance, it may seem that these are small freedoms traded for a stronger sense of security. But once we give up these small freedoms  what other freedoms can be taken? The government could take even more freedoms at a moment's notice. The photos taken of you may be saved, or you may need to submit to a pat-down. Who is to say that the government can’t detain you at any moment because of a suspicion in the name of national security. The more freedoms we are willingly giving up the more can be taken in the future. In this way, Benjamin Franklin’s quote can be used to support not giving up freedom to gain small amounts of safety.

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