Something to remember:

It should be noted that the only thing really prompting this tonight is watching an episode of DS9, and yet there are many reasons to consider both, not only under the current administration, but even more so under future ones.

The following two statements stand in opposition to each other, and yet are essential to remember. The first, known largely because of a Star Trek episode, is "Inter arma enim silent leges". It's actually a quote from Cicero from the Roman empire, who said "Enim silent leges inter arma"... the word order makes no difference in Latin; the declension of the nouns and conjugations of the verbs determine the meaning, not only of the words themselves, but of the sentence as a whole. The phrase means that the law is mute during 'the time" of arms. DS9 translated it as "In times of war, the law falls silent"; this is similar enough to the actual meaning that we can work from this translation.

The other statement, often attributed to Benjamin Franklin (who said some remarkably similar things, to be fair) but of uncertain origin, comes from the era of American Independence. It is "
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." It. like the above, is often paraphrased and quoted differently, but again, with enough similarity to the original that it too, can be discussed comfortably.

It should be clear enough why the two are in such complete opposition, yet let me make absolutely clear that it is enumerated. The first, Roman quote, discusses the tendency of government to suspend legal behavior in order to accomplish the "greater" goal of winning a military conflict. Indeed, this was invoked in a Supreme Court decision made in 1866 following the American civil war, when they declared that the Bill of Rights were suspended in times of war, when the safety of the individual was supreme over all other laws. The second, attributed to Franklin, one of the fathers of our nation and indeed, author of the very Bill of Rights that the Supreme Court declared were suspended in time of war, discusses the balance between liberties and safety. It argues that the surrender of freedoms in an attempt to purchase safety is dangerous at best.

I ask you to think these things over. I ask you to be intentional in your political decisions. I know that it sounds as though I'm speaking out against the current administration, but I'm not. I'm speaking of all governments. Do you really want a government large enough to sell our liberties in the name of providing us safety that they can not actually guarantee? (You really think the government LET 9/11 happen, with full knowledge that thousands of innocents would die? Wow... let me read your conspiracy blog!) Do you really want a government large enough that they would ignore the laws put into place to limit it and protect it whenever it feels threatened? The constitution was created to limit the government and protect the people from tyranny... and yet, the very freedoms it guaranteed are now questioned and considered disposable. The right to bear arms was to arm the people against an abusive government; today we are required to register with the government the very firearms we would use to defend ourselves against it.

How big do you want your government?

full disclosure: I am a registered Republican, I agree whole heartedly with the decision to go into Iraq, I don't think we can pull out given the current situation, and while I know how to use a gun, I do not currently own any and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from 2 feet away. None of those facts negate the discussion above.

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