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A Rethinking of Security and Liberty

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A Rethinking of Security and Liberty

The liberties offered through representative democracy will always remain the defining factor in American history. America's foundation is grounded in a government for the people, by the people. Citizen's liberties are responsible for providing all rights necessary for man and State to mutually benefit. What happens to that mutual benefit when those rights are limited or unjustly taken? In a simple answer, the democratic form our country is prided for will no longer function at its full potential. America at its core is a government "for the people, by the people". However, "by the people" represents a system that cannot function without complete liberty of all citizens. Most recently in American history, the debate on invasion of privacy and its detriment to such complete liberty has sparked. Our government currently believes that it can fully protect our liberty through limiting our liberty through invasion of privacy. This belief seems paradoxical but is actually invalid and substantiated by governmental hypocrisy. The government should not reserve any right to invade the privacy or limit any liberties of any citizen or collective of citizens without majority consent of those citizens.

Privacy is not an explicit right stated in the constitution of the United States of America, with good reason. Privacy is a very complex notion and cannot be easily defined or applied in general terms. However, that is ultimately what I intend to do by explicitly linking the Rights given to United States citizens in the Constitution. The first and fourth amendments in the Bill of Rights are key ingredients in defining a citizen's right to privacy. In the first amendment, citizens are explicitly given freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly. In a more implicit connection, The First Amendment supports the right to privacy through providing freedom of thought and expression. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens in their persons, homes, and belongings from "unreasonable searches and seizures" of the government. This directly expresses a citizen's right to privacy from unjust government "search and seizure". Even at its core, the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers sought to secure citizen's pursuit of happiness. Quite obviously, the connections that can be made between our pursuit of happiness and right to privacy are numerous. These explicit rights and documents all exemplify where America and its government stand on the right of privacy. The next connection to address is how the right of privacy influences the State and its citizens. All citizens ultimately need is a feeling of security to achieve their full potential. When citizens are secure in all their liberties, they interact, contemplate, and learn at complete efficiency. When this happens in any collective, the State benefits from citizen's intellectual and meaningful contribution. However, the old America and its proud democratic liberty are fading under the clouds of a storm that was unfortunately the result of attacks on our country. The United States of America government has attempted to secure itself without concern for the security of its citizens. Simply put, the government of the United States of America has unjustly limited the liberty and right to privacy of citizens without their consent. I feel that America is a patriotic and unified State where honor and integrity have not been completely destroyed. It is the citizens' responsibility to understand that government interference can be a necessary evil. Much like war, our government serves and operates to protect its citizens using means that wouldn't otherwise be used. The State and the citizens must come to an agreement on the citizens' right to an extent of privacy that is specific to current situations. Through this agreement, both parties will understand and operate under complete security from others and each other, allowing the optimal mutual benefit. Many political theorists emphasized the rights of man and right to privacy and I intend to use those theorists' beliefs to support and shape this new theory concerning citizen's right to privacy.

Political theorist John Stuart Mill would agree with this view on the government's unjust invasion of privacy. In his work On Liberty, Mill emphasized what Liberty truly was and touched on the issue of government interference. He said,

"The third, and most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government, is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power. Every function superadded to those already exercised by the government, causes its influence over hopes and fears to be more widely diffused, and converts, more and more, the active and ambitious part of the public into hangers-on of the government, or of some party which aims at becoming the government. If the roads, the railways, the municipal corporation, etc..., with all that now devolves on them, became departments of the central administration; if the employ├ęs of all these different enterprises were appointed and paid by the government, and looked to the government for every rise in life; not all the freedom of the press and popular constitution of the legislature would make this or any other country free otherwise than in name. And the evil would be greater, the more efficiently and scientifically the administrative machinery was constructed..."

Mill believed there was never a good which developed from an addition of power that was not instituted out of necessity. He says " the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power." If Mill lived in America today, he would certainly argue that restrictions must be placed on government interference. The invasion of privacy and National Security Agency interference are "functions superadded" to those which the government has been justly given. Mill believed in the individual's collective sovereignty and thought the only justification for the limiting of liberty was to prevent political despotism. In Mill's eyes,



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