Epitaph for Freedom: "If it's for the security of the country, it's OK with me."


From a Boston Globe story about reaction to continuing revelations about the extent and nature of the NSA wiretapping program:

Added William MacKenzie, a Verizon customer from Taunton: "I have nothing to hide, so I don't have a problem with it. If it's for the security of the country, it's OK with me."

Those interviewed yesterday overwhelmingly said the possibility of phone companies handing over records to the government didn't alarm them and wouldn't make them walk away from any of the companies. Telecommunications giants Verizon Communications, AT&T Corp., and BellSouth Corp., according to a story first published in USA Today, agreed to share customer information with the NSA. One company, Qwest Corp., however, refused to cooperate.

More here.

I'm reminded in such moments of the old Ben Franklin quote about trading liberty for "temporary safety" and more about how something Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano told Reason a couple of years back:

No one–no lawyer, judge, or historian–can point to a single incident in American history where national security was impaired because someone insisted on their right to free speech or their right to privacy or their right to due process.

Whole interview here.

Flashback time: Guarding the Home Front: Will civil liberties be a casualty in the War on Terrorism?, a symposium from the December 2001 ish of Reason.

What price Safety?: Security and freedom in an age of fear, a special section from the October 2002 ish of Reason.