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Security vs. Liberty

 
 
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 09:35 am
Whenever a tragedy like what might have occurred on the Northwest Airline Flight on Christmas day is either averted (as it was, by pure luck and courage) or actually occurs, as the Lockerbie bombing did, out fingers point in every direction, and we pretend we don't know what to do to make such incidents unlikely. It is clear to every rational person above the age of 8 or 9 that the best way to lessen the chance of such incidents is to target those potential fliers who, based on experience, and what we know, are the most likely perpetrators of bombing of commercial airlines. And that group consists of young male Muslims between the ages of about 15 to 40. As I say, everyone knows that, whether or not they are willing to say so. And, every time this is pointed out, that old Benjamin Franklin chestnut is trotted out:

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

And that must raise the question of what "essential liberty" is, and what "a little temporary safety" is. Does profiling (and that is what it would be) "giving up essential liberty"? How? And is preventing innocent people from dying horribly "a lttle temporary safely"? Sooner of later, and perhaps it will take the tragic deaths of innocents to cause it, this country, and this government, is going to be brought face-to-face with this issue. It is inevitable.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,579 • Replies: 66
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xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 11:36 am
@kennethamy,
It does not matter what liberty has to say, the facts are, the security services will and do target the obvious security risks in our societies. Its not about liberty, its about logical evaluation of the known risks. Would a Muslim enter a bar full of right wing skin heads? He is making a logical assumption that he might just get his head kicked in. Its not a matter of making a prejudice decision, we all make them, all the time,we evaluate our safety and take the appropriate path. Its unfortunate that its young muslims at this precise moment but Germans , Japanese Irish have all had their times of targeted interest.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 12:18 pm
@xris,
xris;115594 wrote:
It does not matter what liberty has to say, the facts are, the security services will and do target the obvious security risks in our societies. Its not about liberty, its about logical evaluation of the known risks. Would a Muslim enter a bar full of right wing skin heads? He is making a logical assumption that he might just get his head kicked in. Its not a matter of making a prejudice decision, we all make them, all the time,we evaluate our safety and take the appropriate path. Its unfortunate that its young muslims at this precise moment but Germans , Japanese Irish have all had their times of targeted interest.


It does not matter what liberty has to say, the facts are, the security services will and do target the obvious security risks in our societies.

But they do not, it is quite clear. The official security services are intimidated by the civil liberty organizations which are afraid of law suits from organizations like the ACLU. What has the young Muslim in a bar have to do with it?
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 12:43 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;115604 wrote:
It does not matter what liberty has to say, the facts are, the security services will and do target the obvious security risks in our societies.

But they do not, it is quite clear. The official security services are intimidated by the civil liberty organizations which are afraid of law suits from organizations like the ACLU. What has the young Muslim in a bar have to do with it?
The young Muslim making choices is the same as what the security services do, make valued judgements on safety.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 01:04 pm
@xris,
xris;115606 wrote:
The young Muslim making choices is the same as what the security services do, make valued judgements on safety.


Blowing up planes is safety? And even if that were true, what has that to do with it?
Pyrrho
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 01:27 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;115569 wrote:
... the best way to lessen the chance of such incidents ...


Wouldn't the best way be to deal with why some of the people of a particular group want to do such a thing? It is generally easier and better to avert a problem at its source, rather than waiting until the problem becomes large. If people can be prevented from wanting to blow up airplanes, wouldn't that be better than dealing with people who do want to do such things? Granted, that is a long term solution, and not one that deals with the current potential bombers, so other methods will be needed for those who do want to blow up airplanes. But don't you think it might be best to try to eliminate the desire to blow up airplanes? To do that generally requires that one understand why people want what they want. Of course, that requires thinking, and most people would rather die than think (Russell's comments on this subject come to mind...).

There is a cause (or, rather, group of causes) for people wanting to blow up airplanes, and addressing that is the best long term solution to the problem.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 01:37 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;115627 wrote:
Wouldn't the best way be to deal with why some of the people of a particular group want to do such a thing? It is generally easier and better to avert a problem at its source, rather than waiting until the problem becomes large. If people can be prevented from wanting to blow up airplanes, wouldn't that be better than dealing with people who do want to do such things? Granted, that is a long term solution, and not one that deals with the current potential bombers, so other methods will be needed for those who do want to blow up airplanes. But don't you think it might be best to try to eliminate the desire to blow up airplanes? To do that generally requires that one understand why people want what they want. Of course, that requires thinking, and most people would rather die than think (Russell's comments on this subject come to mind...).

There is a cause (or, rather, group of causes) for people wanting to blow up airplanes, and addressing that is the best long term solution to the problem.


That is, of course, a nice thought. But first of all, by the time we deal with why people want to blow up planes, planes will be blown up. In the second place, there is no guarantee that we will be able to deal with these people. It may very well that the clash is too great to deal with, just as it was with Hitler. And, in the meantime, planes will be blown up. We were not particularly interested in understanding why Hitler (or Stalin) wanted what they wanted. We just knew we could not let them have it. And the same seems to be true of the radical Moslems. At any rate, while we are thinking (if we are) of a long term solution, we had better get on with a short term solution. Otherwise, a lot of people are going to die. And I suggest that this president get off the golf links, and begin doing what he was elected to do.
Pyrrho
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:00 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;115631 wrote:
That is, of course, a nice thought. But first of all, by the time we deal with why people want to blow up planes, planes will be blown up. In the second place, there is no guarantee that we will be able to deal with these people. It may very well that the clash is too great to deal with, just as it was with Hitler. And, in the meantime, planes will be blown up. We were not particularly interested in understanding why Hitler (or Stalin) wanted what they wanted. We just knew we could not let them have it. And the same seems to be true of the radical Moslems. At any rate, while we are thinking (if we are) of a long term solution, we had better get on with a short term solution. Otherwise, a lot of people are going to die. And I suggest that this president get off the golf links, and begin doing what he was elected to do.


You might want to reread my post, with particular attention to this sentence:

Quote:
Granted, that is a long term solution, and not one that deals with the current potential bombers, so other methods will be needed for those who do want to blow up airplanes.


In the case of people wanting to blow up airplanes, we keep finding that there are new people wanting to do such things. Dealing with that and preventing it from happening again is the best way to solve the problem in the long run.

If you will pardon the homely analogy, if a bathtub is overflowing onto the floor, just mopping up the floor is not the best way to deal with the problem. Granted, a mop will be useful, but shutting off the water is a part of the best solution to the problem.
0 Replies
 
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:00 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;115615 wrote:
Blowing up planes is safety? And even if that were true, what has that to do with it?
Did you actually read my post? at times I think you troll over replies looking for something to deny rather than actually understand what has been written.

Do you understand that we all make valued judgements on our own security. A white man in a black ghetto , a black man in KKK secret meeting..we all make decisions on our own security. Its not about abusing anyone's liberty. The Muslim was my example of a Muslim who decides not to enter a bar for fear of being attacked, he did not act with prejudice, it acted with personal safety in mind..get it now? where did you get the idea about a Muslim blowing up a plane?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:12 pm
@xris,
xris;115640 wrote:
where did you get the idea about a Muslim blowing up a plane?


From television, and the newspapers. What has the Muslim bar scene to do with that Northwest flight, and the attempt to blow it up? Is there supposed to be a connection? Indeed, what on earth are you talking about?
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:17 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;115646 wrote:
From television, and the newspapers. What has the Muslim bar scene to do with that Northwest flight, and the attempt to blow it up? Is there supposed to be a connection? Indeed, what on earth are you talking about?
Why dont you make an effort instead of replying without actually trying to understand another's perspective. It has nothing directly but only how security services need to react and how we all react to danger.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:23 pm
@xris,
xris;115649 wrote:
Why dont you make an effort instead of replying without actually trying to understand another's perspective. It has nothing directly but only how security services need to react and how we all react to danger.


What is it a perspective on? I thought you might have been replying to my post, since you quoted my post. But i suppose that was jumping to conclusions. Did what you wrote have anything to do with what I wrote, or was it just stream of consciousness. Next time you reply to my post would you please preface it with, "This has nothing much to do with what you said, but......"?
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:29 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;115651 wrote:
What is it a perspective on? I thought you might have been replying to my post, since you quoted my post. But i suppose that was jumping to conclusions. Did what you wrote have anything to do with what I wrote, or was it just stream of consciousness. Next time you reply to my post would you please preface it with, "This has nothing much to do with what you said, but......"?
The question you posed was a matter of how the security services act without jeopardizing liberty. The question of one more Muslim attempting to bomb a plane is only the cause of you present question, not the entire problem we all face. Do you want me to comment on this one Muslim or the overall situation you decide , come on tell me.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:33 pm
@xris,
xris;115653 wrote:
The question you posed was a matter of how the security services act without jeopardizing liberty. The question of one more Muslim attempting to bomb a plane is only the cause of you present question, not the entire problem we all face. Do you want me to comment on this one Muslim or the overall situation you decide , come on tell me.


Relevant would be whether we should profile young male Muslims who want to get on commercial jets. What we have to do is to deal with the civil liberty fanatics.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2009 02:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;115655 wrote:
Relevant would be whether we should profile young male Muslims who want to get on commercial jets. What we have to do is to deal with the civil liberty fanatics.
If you actually read my posts without preconceptions you might have seen my response.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 02:40 am
@xris,
I see this problem as a matter of risk and cost assessment. We must assess (a) the benefits to be derived from anti-terrorist measures that impose on our constitutional rights and (b) the costs of losing those rights. There is no easy, commonly accepted way to do such assessments. Nevertheless, they are essential. Then, of course, we must conduct the anti-terrorist operations in the manner and to the extent necessary to meet the balance point.

That's my dry, accountant's way of delineating the task. I know it's a very complicated task in which it's hard to be objective. But it can be done.

Just looking at history, it seems very likely that our extreme concern and fear of terrorism is greatly overdrawn. We have done this before. Our government took anti-terrorist action against some of the citizens who fought for the Bill of Rights. It enacted the Alien and Sedition Act suppressing free speech. It interred our Japanese-American citizens. And, of course, it has recently violated our rights of privacy under the authority of the so-called Patriots Act (developed without any semblance of an assessment such as that I have described.

My own assessment is very subjective, but I simply can't understand the big fuss and bother over terrorism. Terrorism - sometimes also called freedom-fighting - has been around a long time and will probably be around a long time to come. We lose a few hundred lives to terrorism each year. We lose a plane full of people every few years. We panic. Instead of flying, some of us travel on the highways where we lose vast numbers of lives each year. One violent loss of a life is a tragedy; a few hundred losses are a great tragedy; one or two hundred thousand losses is a gigantic tragedy.

In my personal assessment, I also try to judge the likelihood of success, Which works better: our counter-violence or our peace-making approach? I look at the illiterate, jobless, ragged troops that have little choice other than to fall in behind the terrorist leaders. I see much success to be had from more peaceful negotiations and selective counter-violence.

I'm not a frequent visitor to this fine discussion group; so I apologize for any great redundancy.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 07:05 am
@Dewey phil,
Dewey;116837 wrote:


That's my dry, accountant's way of delineating the task. I know it's a very complicated task in which it's hard to be objective. But it can be done.

Just looking at history, it seems very likely that our extreme concern and fear of terrorism is greatly overdrawn. We have done this before. Our government took anti-terrorist action against some of the citizens who fought for the Bill of Rights. It enacted the Alien and Sedition Act suppressing free speech. It interred our Japanese-American citizens. And, of course, it has recently violated our rights of privacy under the authority of the so-called Patriots Act (developed without any semblance of an assessment such as that I have described.

My own assessment is very subjective, but I simply can't understand the big fuss and bother over terrorism. Terrorism - sometimes also called freedom-fighting - has been around a long time and will probably be around a long time to come. We lose a few hundred lives to terrorism each year. We lose a plane full of people every few years. We panic. Instead of flying, some of us travel on the highways where we lose vast numbers of lives each year. One violent loss of a life is a tragedy; a few hundred losses are a great tragedy; one or two hundred thousand losses is a gigantic tragedy.

In my personal assessment, I also try to judge the likelihood of success, Which works better: our counter-violence or our peace-making approach? I look at the illiterate, jobless, ragged troops that have little choice other than to fall in behind the terrorist leaders. I see much success to be had from more peaceful negotiations and selective counter-violence.

I'm not a frequent visitor to this fine discussion group; so I apologize for any great redundancy.


Terrorism and freedom fighters are not the same at all. Terrorism is a means, and freedom is a goal. You can choose to be a terrorist, and target innocent civilians in order to gain what you call freedom, or not. You don't have to.

History shows us no such thing. The threat of terrorism is not overblown. As 9/11, and recent events have shown. It is a matter of cost/benfit analysis, and it seems clear that although much of the "freedom" terrorists seek is not worth the cost of innocent lives, that the security we seek is worth profiling for. And, I predict, that after one or two more attempts at terrorism, most people will agree with me, if you don't now.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 09:43 am
@kennethamy,
i would be interested in the statistics as to how many people died in planes as a result of pilots who hadnt had enough sleep or badly maintained air craft or bad weather and pigeons in the motors compared to bombing incidents. and also compare it to (percentage wise of course) how many people die in plane travel as opposed to highway travel. seems to me there is a lot of scary stuff that needs fixing and some of it would be relatively easy.

so if people become afraid and ground all the planes, that would work, wouldnt it? but guess what, a new threat would surface, because terrorists would then be encouraged that their tactics worked.

anyway, profiling muslims or arabs or bearded young men traveling alone is easy enough to overcome-they can recruit young women and children, travel as families, shave and carry bibles, how will you find them then? clearly we are not looking at a means of solving the problem or stopping the threat or promoting world communication.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 11:29 am
@salima,
salima;116886 wrote:
i would be interested in the statistics as to how many people died in planes as a result of pilots who hadnt had enough sleep or badly maintained air craft or bad weather and pigeons in the motors compared to bombing incidents. and also compare it to (percentage wise of course) how many people die in plane travel as opposed to highway travel. seems to me there is a lot of scary stuff that needs fixing and some of it would be relatively easy.

so if people become afraid and ground all the planes, that would work, wouldnt it? but guess what, a new threat would surface, because terrorists would then be encouraged that their tactics worked.

anyway, profiling muslims or arabs or bearded young men traveling alone is easy enough to overcome-they can recruit young women and children, travel as families, shave and carry bibles, how will you find them then? clearly we are not looking at a means of solving the problem or stopping the threat or promoting world communication.


Pilots going without sleep is dangerous too. But that fact does not mitigate the fact that for some time now, although by no means are all young and male Muslims terrorists, by far, most terrorists have been Muslims. And that this argues for cautionary measures directed as young male Muslims.

Of course it is true that young male Muslims can try to disguise their intentions in the ways you suggest, and probably other ways. Nevertheless, the need to make such additional efforts will make it more difficult for them to carry out their intentions, and make it more likely that we'll discover them before they carry them out. Don't you think it is rather horrible to let innocent children (and maybe innocent women) be horribly killed by taking them along? That would only seem to me to argue that our efforts should be redoubled to capture or to kill such a person. Could a civilized person do such a terrible thing?
0 Replies
 
xris
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 11:49 am
@salima,
salima;116886 wrote:
i would be interested in the statistics as to how many people died in planes as a result of pilots who hadnt had enough sleep or badly maintained air craft or bad weather and pigeons in the motors compared to bombing incidents. and also compare it to (percentage wise of course) how many people die in plane travel as opposed to highway travel. seems to me there is a lot of scary stuff that needs fixing and some of it would be relatively easy.

so if people become afraid and ground all the planes, that would work, wouldnt it? but guess what, a new threat would surface, because terrorists would then be encouraged that their tactics worked.

anyway, profiling muslims or arabs or bearded young men traveling alone is easy enough to overcome-they can recruit young women and children, travel as families, shave and carry bibles, how will you find them then? clearly we are not looking at a means of solving the problem or stopping the threat or promoting world communication.
12% of british muslims are white. How you can tell from looking at someone who is more of a threat, I have no idea. It could or should be anyone who is acting suspiciously, not what colour he is or if he looks like a Muslim. Some poor fools think Sikhs are muslims. These are difficult times for all of us, just a little understanding by us all, might make this a little easier.
 

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