Ben Franklin, in 1759, declares how a person who gives up freedom and liberty for temporary safety deserves neither. Giving up some freedom is the equivalent to giving up all freedom and safety.
Ben Franklin correctly portrays how our freedom is more important than any temporary safety because the government will continue to take more and more of people’s freedom. When one gives up their rights it leads to absolute government control. Once the government gains power in one area, they continue to expand their power, which inevitably limits freedom and takes away rights. When one allows any of their rights to be sacrificed, even if for temporary safety, all of their rights are at risk. For example, the government has the ability to listen in on every person’s phone calls. Edward Snowden warned America about the NSA listening in on its citizens phone calls, so Andrew P. Anapolitano responded with, “The allegations he unleashed are that Americans have a government that assaults our personal freedoms, operates in secrecy and violates the Constitution and the values upon which it is based” (Anapolitano, 2013). The government having the capability to listen in on every person’s phone calls is unconstitutional and violates the privacy of its citizens. The government will stop at nothing to achieve complete power and the minute its citizen’s give up any freedom, the government will gain absolute control. However, humans are flawed and when there are no laws to restrict one’s actions, there is no limit to what somebody could do to harm another person. People need limited rights to be taken away in order to ensure the safety of others. Without safety precautions everyone’s life would be in jeopardy and in order to have security, people must sacrifice some freedom. When discussing the dilemma of the balance between freedom and security, Anapolitano insists, “...you have heard the argument that we all need to sacrifice some liberty in order to assure some safety, that liberty and safety are in equipoise, and when they clash, it is the government that should balance one against the other and decide which shall prevail” (Anapolitano, 2013). The only way government can keep its citizens safe is if the citizens are willing to sacrifice a few freedoms. In order to find the perfect balance between freedom and security is if the people are willing to surrender and trust the government and acknowledge liberty and safety co existent. Many think that safety is more important than liberty and they should be willing to sacrifice their freedom for security. These conclusions seem compelling because many people live in fear for their lives and when a country goes through a tragic and fearful time, such as 9/11, one may be willing to give up some freedom for temporary safety and security. However, one may not understand once any freedom is sacrificed, they will never be able to gain it back. When referring to the Enlightenment prior to the French Revolution, Jean-Jacques Rousseau,a philosopher and writer, explains, "Free people, remember this maxim:we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered once it is lost” (Rousseau, 1750). The government will not stop pressuring more freedom and rights to be sacrificed. Giving up freedom for security will only give the government more power to invade people’s privacy. Ultimately, according to Ben Franklin’s quote claiming a person who gives up freedom and liberty for temporary safety deserves neither clearly demonstrates complete freedom is more important than temporary safety.