Alpine Summit

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Freedom or Security?

A good roundup of the latest leaking of classified information by the left-wing rag: The New York Times. I recommend reading it, but this event has reminded me of yet another debate I have had with my roomate about freedom and security.

My roomate has said that since our constitution enumerates inherent rights on people, we should be doing our best to make sure those rights are not being infringed on anybody (i.e. non-citizen terrorist suspects). I'll leave the torture and cruel treatment debate for another time, but my friend answered it quite well over the break when I presented the argument to him. In short, his premise was "the Constitution is not a suicide pact."

This made a lot more sense to me after it was explained, because until then I really couldn't refute my roomate's claims of inherent rights on "all men." What my friend reminded me was that beginning part of "we the people." We live in a world of nation states where our ideals and principles end at our borders. We (meaning the people of this nation) have a view of these rights as being God-given. Foreign fighters are not part of that group of people sharing this belief and are not subject to the responsibilities of the consitution and therefore not subject to its rights.

After all, by my roomate's logic, prisoners should not be denied their God-given right to own guns... and even further, they shouldn't even be locked up! I've always had a problem with his claims in this regard, but never really understood why. I can see his argument, but lacked the understanding of the issue to properly voice my views on the matter.

When our national security is involved, we need to realize that our rights are not the same rights we should be willing to bestow on foriegners. "We the people" means that "all men are created equal" is referring to those who live within American borders under American law. So McCain's Miranda rights for terrorists are wrong-minded according to the constitution, as well as in-state tuition for illegal aliens in California, amnesty programs, trials for illegal combatants, Koran flushing, and on and on. This isn't to say we won't as a people decide to do (or not do) these things, but in terms of the Constitution (and morality), we have no obligation either way.

Since our lives are at stake, I have absolutely no problem with cracking down on, in any way, foreigners within American borders who have no regard for our laws, or terrorists in American custody who have no regard for human life. Our principles on human rights, while influencing the entire rest of the world, are limited to America's citizens and foreigners who have historically obeyed the laws of the country in which they are guests. That is, people acting in good faith to respect this country while residing in it.

When it comes to tapping foreign phone calls, I find it is neither a hinderance to our "right" to privacy, or illegal in any way. In fact, from what I understand, the only way this would be a legal or human rights violation is if the wiretaps were used against an American citizen in court. Make sure to point this out to any liberal friends you might have who whine about this as a reason why Bush should be impeached.