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Barack Obama and Benjamin Franklin: The Choice

Barack Obama said it recently:

Barack Obama quote: I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society.

Barack Obama discussed the idea of that choice in pledges he made in 2007 and then in 2008. As a candidate, many years closer to the attacks of September 11 2001, Barack Obama told us that we should reject the urge to choose between security and liberty:

Barack Obama speech in 2007: This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war.

As President, Barack Obama chose security over liberty, doing exactly what he said he wouldn’t do, without consulting us and without telling us. Wire-tapping citizens. National security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. Tracking citizens who have done nothing more than protest.

Another American leader had something to say about that choice:

Benjamin Franklin quote: They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

What do you choose?

4 thoughts on “Barack Obama and Benjamin Franklin: The Choice”

  1. LibertariansSuck says:

    So sick of people trotting out this trope from Ben Franklin. The day that Ben looked up from his life of leisure and saw jumbo jets fly into skyscrapers and topple them is the day he’d say “They who give up telephony metadata for excellent liberty-protecting security are on the winning side of one he’ll of a bargain.”

    1. J. Clifford says:

      L.S., you start with a wild presumption, and end with a factual error.

      1. You don’t know what Benjamin Franklin would do in reaction to a relatively small-scale, single attack. We DO know how Benjamin Franklin reacted to a large-scale war that killed huge numbers of people in brutal ways – many, many more people than were killed in the event you expect Franklin would have freaked out about.

      2. The NSA spying against Americans is NOT limited to “telephony metadata”. The surveillance has been taking place on virtually every electronic communication medium, and it hasn’t just been metadata. They’ve been listening to phone calls and reading emails and texts on a large scale without search warrants too. ( )

  2. Tom says:

    L.S. – that’s how the German populace felt when Hitler came to power. Hey it’s for our own good!

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