A greater danger comes not from the terrible but unlikely act of a terrorist, but from more certain threat of a government which would respond to every crisis by eroding our freedoms. Those who are familiar with Robert Higgs’ book, Crisis and Leviathan, know that governments use fear and war to implement new laws and restrictions.
Often, the proposals are sold as only temporary, as the French are doing now with their three month state of emergency. Personal computers in France are now subject to administrative searches without a warrant. The internet is being censored. Other searches are now done at the whim of the police. If history is our guide, many of these policies will continue when the emergency ends.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Either we believe these words or we do not. If we meekly retreat and hide, then these are not real principles, but just pretty words to be discarded out of convenience. It would give the terrorists a veto on our rights. Fear should never be a justification for the abandonment of our rights.
In times like this, we need our reason, and our principles, and our faith. We need to prudently respond to security threats. As we respond, we need to be cautious about overreacting and calls to hand over our rights in the name of security. We must destroy evil with resolve, and we must also defend our liberty with that same resolve.