Oh shit, they're singing. Now they'll be here till midnight.
The old "Franklin quote" about security vs freedom is popping up again amid the pointless noise around Snowden.
I've taken this apart before in a different context, but it deserves a new teardown. First, Franklin didn't say it. He only published a book by another writer containing it. Franklin did say something on the subject, but what he actually said
was vastly more reasonable.
Leaving that aside, the advice or recommendation is that we ought
to prefer freedom above security.
Why? I don't get it. Normal humans want a normal life. They want to work and socialize and raise a family, without having to worry about criminals of any sort. They want the government to protect them from murderers and fraudsters and thieves and enemy soldiers.
This divides into two expectations for governments. (1) Stay out of the way of normal life. (2) Protect normal people from evil people. (The two aren't strictly separate, because failing on the latter tends to ruin normal life indirectly.)
In today's world, only a few governments explicitly fail to allow normal life. North Korea for sure; possibly some of the post-Soviet messes like Belarus. At the moment, this form of failure is rare.
In today's world, many
governments fail to protect their citizens from criminals. Most of the "advanced Western democracies" actually invite
bankster-type crime, enthusiastically assisting the theft of trillions from poor people. And most of those same "democracies" also refuse to punish the more physical type of crime. Beaters and car thieves and terrorists may occasionally be arrested, but very rarely punished in a way that stops their crime.
= = = = =
If freedom means "I can do anything I want", who actually wants freedom? Psychopaths and criminals want freedom. And they already have it. The rich psychopaths who work for hedge funds or governments can take or kill or destroy at will. Nobody stops them. The lower-class psychopaths who beat people and steal stuff will sometimes end up in prison where they can beat people and steal stuff in a protected environment.
If freedom doesn't mean "I can do anything I want", then what does it mean? The people who advocate freedom generally don't know what the fuck they're talking about, but on the rare occasions when they offer specifics, they point to things like "due process" or "right to choose abortion" or "diversity", all of which are explicitly designed to protect criminals, not to protect normal people.
In short, freedom and security are not zero-sum complements. They are independent variables desired by mutually exclusive groups of people. The people who want security are NOT receiving it, and the people who want freedom ARE receiving it.
Finally, what does this have to do with NSA and Snowden? Precisely nothing.
NSA has zero connection with "giving us security" or "protecting our freedoms". None of its spying has ever protected an American from anything. Nothing done by any part of the government
since August 1945 has protected an American, or "protected our freedoms", whatever the fuck that means. It's likely that NSA's spying helps other gov't agencies to persecute
Americans, but we'll never know.