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Are Liberty and Security Mutually Exclusive, or Mutually Supportive - Essay Example

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Your Name Prof’s Name Date Are Liberty and Security Mutually Exclusive, or Mutually Supportive? Liberty is supposed to be one of the foundational principles of any democracy – people should be free from fear, free from threat, and free to pursue their own interests, within certain bounds…
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Are Liberty and Security Mutually Exclusive, or Mutually Supportive

Download file to see previous pages... A careful analysis of theory and practice of security, however, indicates that security is not opposed to liberty, and in fact augments it when used judiciously, but that there is a fine tipping point after which security begins to impinge on liberty rather than support it. The question as to the role and purpose of the government has been a central question to political philosophers for centuries now. These philosophers often work under to distinct precepts that were originally envisioned by Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: that people were born free in their “state of nature” (Hobbes 32), but that they are universally found to be under some sort of governance, which curtails their freedom. The fundamental question is then, why do people give up their freedoms to another power? An explanation, the social contract, was developed by John Locke – he states that absolute liberty is not in fact a good thing, because it would mean liberty to steal from, and otherwise harm one another, so people give up their own liberty for security (Dunn 75). ...
e of the legitimate rolls of government was the regulation of morality: it was supposed that this was a form of security, and that without a patrician government to look after its population people would devolve into immoral behavior, and thus would harm themselves and the state. John Stuart Mill countered this thinking in his seminal On Liberty, in which he argued that it was not a legitimate role of government to regulate morality (Mill 374). This shifted thinking permanently on the role of government in the preservation of liberty. Both of these trains of thought are in fact correct. It cannot be denied that government’s granting and increasing security does, to a particular point, improve liberty: a well policed street will ensure that people have the ability to walk down it unmolested, and a well regulated market ensures the liberty of everyone playing by the same economic rules. Yet it also cannot be denied that governments sometimes go too far in curtailing liberty at the cost of security, by, for instance, monitoring people without their knowledge, or policing ideology (Rovine 42). So where does the tipping point occur? Government’s enacting of security begins to unduly curtail liberty when actions taken in the name of security modify people’s behavior more than the threat or fear of a lack of security would do. For instance, locking everyone in a solitary cell would certainly lower the murder rate, but this would modify people’s behavior much more than the fear of murder does. A well regulated police force, on the other hand, increases liberty by countering the behavior modification that fear of murder by a completely un-policed society would have. Security and liberty are often seen as each other’s antithesis, and for good reason. Governments have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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