February 10, 2005
Security vs. Liberty
What is a conservative to do? In the war against militant Islam we certainly want to destroy the networks of al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Mullahs of Iran, the Saudi Wahabis etc.. But at what cost to our own personal liberties? Should we allow the executive branch to wage war against nations without a declaration of war? Probably. Should we allow the detention of US citizens without charges being brought by the government? Maybe. Should we allow for torture of militant Muslims who seek to kill us? Probably not. I don't have all the answers. But I do think these are questions that we should consider as conservatives. Today I heard a lecture by a professor from Stanford who represented Jose Padilla (dirty bomber) before the Supreme Court. She told me that there have been numerous cases where the government had no evidence against suspected terrorists. She believes that the government should not be able to declare US citizens "enemy combatants" and that even suspected terrorists deserve Constitutional protections of due process. I tend to agree with her in theory, but not quite in practice. I think with fanatics like these who want to kill everyone who doesn't own a Koran, we have to fight pretty dirty. We can't win with one hand tied behind our back. However, what happens when the day comes that the federal government kicks down your door to take your guns? Or when the government deems all Christians "terrorists"? What about when the government declares that all those who carry a pocket-sized edition of the Constitution are terrorists? Then, will conservatives support the idea of hamstringing the government in its fight against "terrorists"? I pose this question as food for thought. I am not certain where I come down on this issue. But it is something we should all ponder.