Monday, May 15, 2006

Interesting debate

On Saturday morning Brad and I got into an interesting telephone discussion about the nature of our nation and how the 9-11 attacks affected who and what we are today. While we both agree that the terrorist attacks had a profound effect on America, we disagree about the nature of those effects.

I contend that what we are seeing today is a fundamental shift in the actual psychological makeup of this nation.

This country was founded and based on the fundamental principles of human rights -- life, liberty and property. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights strive to limit government power and protect those fundamental rights from infringement by those whom we put in power. The nation's collective psychology stems from the principles on which the Founders created this nation. These fundamental freedoms are what we treasure. They are what we value -- as a nation; as a whole.

I believe that the September 11 attacks changed that collective psychology. We are now, more than ever, willing to trade away our freedoms for what we believe to be a little "security."

A recent ABC news / Washington Post poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the NSA phone tracking program.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 64 percent of Americans believe the NSA should be allowed to intercept phonecalls between terrorism suspects living in other countries and people living in the US.

A TNS poll reveals that 54 percent of respondents think wiretapping telephone calls and e-mails without court approval is an acceptable way to investigate terrorism.

Americans are largely willing to accept abuses by the TSA and don't seem to have a problem with "no-fly" lists and airlines that are willing to give up passenger data to the TSA without so much as a thought to the privacy of their customers.

I don't think this is simply a reaction of fear to the worst terrorist attacks on our land. I think this is a fundamental shift in how we exist and how we view the very nature of our nation.

Brad says -- and rightfully so -- that history is cyclical... that we have been through similar reactionary measures in times of war. He's correct there as well. We've been through the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798 and the Espionage and Sedition Acts during World War I, as well as the Trading with the Enemy Act.

However, he believes the shift is not a fundamental shift in our nation's psychological makeup, but more the result of reactionary fear and decades of revisionist history in the nation's schools, which barely teach the truth about American history any longer.

Only time will tell which one of us is right.

What do you, the reader, think?

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