Since the atrocity of Sept. 11 some have argued that it is necessary to restrict freedom in order to protect ourselves from terrorism while others have argued that to give up freedom for security is to destroy the thing we are fighting to defend.
This is false dilemma. Individual liberty is not a threat to our security. It is or ought to be an integral part of our security system. To illustrate this point look at the bill of rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The first amendment which protects free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion adds to our security in two ways.
First, it largely protects us from internal religious conflict. Because the state is forbidden to interfere in private religious matters, religious groups are not in constant conflict to impose their beliefs on each other. Thus we have been mostly spared from having home grown religious terrorists.
Second, by protecting freedom of the press the first amendment increases the probability that our nation will have a winning strategy in the war on terrorism. In any country the number of people in the defense and foreign policy bureaucracy is limited. Moreover many intelligent people interested in defense and foreign policy will not join the government agencies because of the bureaucratic regimentation. In the absence of freedom of the press, only the thinking of members of these bureaucracies could shape our foreign policy. With freedom of the press the ideas of thinkers outside the bureaucracies are available for consideration by the decision makers. Thus the total brain power brought to bare on security questions is vastly increased and the probability of our adopting a winning security strategy is increased. → Continue reading: Free society is secure society