A Single Moment Changed Our Freedoms Forever
by Brett L
“Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
This thought by Ben Franklin has never held more truth. After the tragic events of 9/11, we lost more than lives. We lost our essential liberties, in more ways than one. Here are some of the biggest ways that the government infringed on our freedom since 9/11.
1. Freedom of Speech
After 9/11, we’ve undeniably lost our liberty to speak our mind. Informally, it has simply become difficult to speak out against the government. Unfortunately, criticizing government policy is labeled anti-Americanism.
Additionally, to make matters worse, the government now employs laws to crack down on dissenters. Since laws like the Patriot Act have expanded the definition of terrorism, non-violent civil-disobedience can lead to a terrorist label. Also, those like Edward Snowden can’t expose government treachery without facing exile or arrest. Speaking of which…
2. Freedom of Privacy
Privacy rights are all but dead in the post-9/11 world. The Patriot Act was only the beginning. As aforementioned, Snowden revealed the metadata mining program by the National Security Agency. For his revelations, he fled the U.S. to avoid prosecution.
American information is no longer secure. In the name of fighting terrorism, the government has run roughshod over our freedom of privacy. Many may have nothing to hide. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t fear the potential of an invasive state.
3. Freedom of Information
The Obama administration routinely denies Freedom of Information Act requests. Again, as Snowden showed, we’re not free to know what our government does. They hide their secrets in the name of fighting terrorism. In reality, they’re simply keeping secrets from the American people.
4. Freedom of Movement
The Transportation Security Agency tells the whole story. Americans are now man-handled every time they want to fly. We can’t carry big water bottles. Every American is a suspect. The government has brought the efficiency of the DMV to our airports.
Of course, some security is necessary at the airports. However, there is no reason why more efficient private companies can’t take point. The government has only shown a penchant for abusing passengers. These abuses are directly attributable to the 9/11 fallout.
5. Right to a Fair Trial
If you’re arrested, don’t assume that you’ll get a fair trial. At least, such has been the trend since the Bush-led War on Terror commenced. Guantanamo Bay is just one example of how our government stretches their power.
You don’t have to have sympathy for terrorists. However, you should stay cognizant that the state has arbitrary power to label terrorists. Government watch-lists face little review, and they can be used at the expense of your constitutional liberty.
6. Freedom of Association
Along with the freedom of speech, our freedom to associate with others is under attack as well. Americans must watch out for who they hang out with. For them, a little political activism could come at a great cost.
The government has the power to monitor and infiltrate political and religious groups. It doesn’t even matter if they’ve been convicted of a crime before. This is an egregious assault on our liberty. Without this freedom, we lose a crucial part of our national identity.
7. Right to Due Process
Along with the right to a fair trial, due process is a crucial part of our legal process. Unfortunately, that process has been routinely assaulted after 9/11. Both President Bush and President Obama have contributed to this.
The Bush administration was infamous for their abuses of due process. With the National Defense Authorization Act, the Obama administration decided to continue his legacy. The government can indefinitely detain Americans. Often the state won’t tell them their charges. Unfortunately, this is the world we must face now.
8. Economic Liberty
When government expands, our economic liberty is sure to retract. Military excursions aren’t cheap. The police-state comes at a pretty penny, as well. All the money funneled into unconstitutional ventures could easily be used to better ends in the private market. Instead, American lives are sent to foreign lands at great cost.
A big military-state goes hand and hand with economic intervention. As long as the government continues to spend billions to fight their supposed War on Terror, our economic freedom will recede.
9. Equal Protection Under the Law
The 14th Amendment has also taken a hit in the post-9/11 world. The government routinely profiles people. Americans are put on government watch-lists for their religion and background. Non-citizens can be deported for such arbitrary reasons.
The law and Constitution provide for dealing with terrorists. We can fight the bad guys without sacrificing who we are. The government only feeds resentment when they target people for traits they can’t control, like their background.
10. Freedom From Unreasonable Searches
This ties in with our freedom to privacy. As the government has expanded, the police-state has responded in kind. Policies like the drug war have been enforced with more vigor, leading to more unwarranted searches.
The government can conduct searches and wiretaps without probable cause. Ultimately, the state is out of control. People are no longer safe in their persons and property. The message is very clear. We belong to the state, and they can access our things at their leisure.