Just my thoughts
by Aditya Hingne

Animal Farm

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, a serious question has arisen for American citizens. Is sacrificing freedom in the name of security worth the cost? There are reasons to support both sides of this argument. After all, people generally do not enjoy living restrained, but what is the point of living freely if those people are living insecurely? When that question comes to mind, it is logical to think that security measures are far more important. The individuals who are solely focused on freedom fail to realize the consequences of not sacrificing part of these freedoms. They believe that their complete freedom is more important than the safety of children, families, and this great nation. This makes the answer to the question abundantly clear. Yes, it is worth it to sacrifice freedom for security measures, until protection is guaranteed.

It makes perfect sense for American citizens to be suspicious of virtually unfettered government surveillance. The government has not done its job to provide reasonable explanations about how it uses the data of its citizens. They question whether or not the Patriot Act is actually constitutional. It was created after the 9/11 attacks to prevent terrorism. It allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to not only receive the phone data of potential terrorists, but also the data of any individual considered relevant to an investigation. The government has been extremely secretive about their possibly unconstitutional surveillance, and at first glance, it does seem to risk the right to privacy, a deeply cherished American freedom. The government's data-mining has been on what they call suspicious activity. This includes seemingly innocent things such as photography and note taking in certain areas. Most importantly, some United States citizens feel that they they are not seeing the government bring results from sacrificing their freedoms, but rather it is just excuses its actions for national security reasons. Admittedly, the government was able to look up the data for any individual in the nation for possible terrorist activity. However, President Barack Obama has ended the FBI'S free access to phone records. The records will stay with the phone companies and can only be accessed with permission from a federal court. Also, there has been proof that confirms government surveillance has been beneficial. Post 9/11 the national security has helped stop at least 30 potential terrorist attacks on United States soil, by conducting legitimate surveillance. Despite all the complaints about the Patriot Act being unconstitutional, there has been little evidence to support these claims. As a matter of fact, there have been continuous movements that make sure government surveillance under the Patriot Act is indeed constitutional.

The United States is heavily focused on its freedom, inasmuch that it does not know how to guarantee safety alongside. It cannot uphold its first amendment, which states that Congress cannot pass a law that respects a religion, or pass a law that prohibits the free exercise of religion. The Mississippi HB2 law prohibits local governments from protecting the LGBT community against discrimination, for religious opposition reasons. While the law supports the free exercise right, it is still a law that respects certain religions. Had the state of Mississippi been willing to sacrifice part of this freedom, the innocent LGBT community would have been better protected. "It should be permissible, I'd argue, for an individual or a faith-based organization to seek a personal exemption from a law that would otherwise threaten their religious identity. It should not, however, be permissible for the same individual or group to project that identity onto others by writing their religious beliefs into the law itself." If religion or other factors become part of the law, there would be no point in having one. It could never guarantee the safety of the nation's citizens. The animals are like citizens of Animal Farm, who want freedom and safety. When the hens "protested that to take the eggs away now was murder", Napoleon proved that the could not provide the animals safety or freedom. His actions displayed that he would even go against their strongest principles, and become like man, before helping the animals. A promise for security had been broken, and the officials gave their attention to gaining more power, instead of finding a proper solution. If one cannot guarantee safety, that person cannot guarantee freedom either.

The ones in power cannot lose sight of the purpose of freedom, otherwise it will lead to great downfall. When Karl Marx created communism it was meant to be the solution to inequality. It sounds excellent in theory, but it is also unrealistic. One's desire for power would make them lose sight of what they are standing for. The irony in "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS" proves this. It does not make sense for things to be equal while some things are more equal than them. Napoleon's desire for power caused the great rebellion to fail. He completely disregarded the goal of the rebellion, and became worse than man, twisting Animal Farm and the Seven Commandments into something they were never meant to be. The Seven Commandments were principles to be lived by everyday. The pigs lost focus of the commandments and put more attention to gaining power. They instead manipulated the animals into believing they needed all the power to protect them and thus changed the rules. "No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets", "No animal shall kill any other animal without cause", and "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess," are ways the pigs abused the animal's trust and became more like man, and the pigs provided ironic reasoning for these changes. An intensely debated freedom in the United States is the freedom of speech.

What many people forget to realize is that freedom of speech also applies to hate speech. While the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was allowed to express their intense feeling, they officials should have interfered before the violence started. "Local officials must rise to the challenge and ensure the public peace through proper preparation, crowd control, site-specific rules on what items are allowed, and other reasonable steps to mitigate violence." Instead, officials delayed the action to uphold the freedom of speech, resulting in the loss of 3 innocent lives, and 38 more casualties. There will be more casualties unless freedom is sacrificed. Even the commandments were actually made to be security measures but by refusing to sacrifice a little bit for these rules, they became pointless. Airport security checks were created to prevent potential terrorist attacks like 9/11, but what they failed to realize is that the terrorists "were not exploiting a weakness in luggage screening, but rather a weakness in our mind-set, our understanding and expectations of what a hijacking was and how it would unfold." The TSA has the right to check luggage and prevent people from going forward, but it cannot invade one's rights in any way. People will continue to abuse power and invade rights if freedom is not sacrificed for security.

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