Dan Gillmor has an absolutely fantastic “wishful thinking” speech he’d love to see from a future Presidential candidate, one in which liberty takes a front seat, rather than is seen as something that needs to be chipped away. Go read the whole thing, but here’s a snippet to suck you in:
When people say, “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide,” ask them if it’s fine to install cameras in their homes, not just in the living room but the bedroom and bathroom. Ask them if they’d mind wearing a microphone and video camera every day, so others can check on what they’ve said and done.
You are guilty of something. I guarantee it. Lawmakers have created countless new crimes and punishments, and allowed law enforcement to extend old laws in dangerous ways. Have you ever told anything short of the absolute truth when filling out an online form to use some service? We can charge you with a felony for that. And, by the way, we don’t need to convict you at trial. If you are a target, we can ruin you financially if you try to defend yourself. This is what we expect in banana republics and police states, not here. And as the surveillance state expands, it will create more targets among people like you.
Our political leaders have made a calculation in recent years. They believe you are too frightened, too cowardly, to face the truth – and that you think liberty is much less important than temporary safety.
We are human. Terrorism unleashes our deepest fears, and our most lethal fury, even though the risk for any one of us is vanishingly low. We must challenge the fear mongers, and ourselves.
Part of the problem we have today is that very few elected officials care about liberty. They care about power, and they believe, incorrectly, that their job involves ditching liberty in an attempt to retain power (which they falsely argue is about “protecting Americans” despite little evidence that the power grab protects anyone but their own interests). It would be an amazing step forward if there were a President who remembered why liberty was such an important issue to our founding fathers.