Is National Security More Important Than Civil Rights?
A People cannot thrive without stability and freedom from violence. Of course, democracies like the United States are founded on the principle that the people are best suited to choose their government, thus certain fundamental rights must be guaranteed. A successful democracy, therefore, must balance the necessity of national security with the need for civil rights. To believe one is more important than the other is to jeopardize the Nation with policies that do not fulfill the needs of the People.
A mismanaged government, which cannot address its People's needs, is one that will not be respected and obeyed. Modern governments, especially democracies, are created to ensure a civilization can enjoy civil order and freedom from outside threats. This means people need to feel secure yielding to the authority of a governing body while government must also be effective in policing those who reject its authority. As national security is a basic component to a successful civilization, a great deal of authority has to go to these officials, so they do their job properly.
On the other hand, a government, which fails to guarantee the freedoms of a People, is going to be undermined versus supported by the People. Civil rights exist, because they help foster individual achievement and unity; choice gives people greater opportunity to succeed in life. Without civil rights, people will either stagnate or reject their oppressive government. A free People decides to cooperate and build a better future; whereas, a government, which intimidates or scares its People into submission, cannot have a secure future.
For those charged with the responsibility of national security, upholding the civil rights of the People is part of the job. Unfortunately, this makes their effort to secure the country very challenging at times. In this era where global terrorism represents a serious threat, some officials have neglected their full duty. While foreign powers and extremists are dangerous, those empowered by our government have the greatest influence over our lives, thus represent a greater threat should they neglect civil liberties.
People entrust government officials with the power to meet all of their needs. As such, these individuals must balance national security with civil rights. Although respecting civil rights can hinder efforts to protect people from potential threats, a failure to provide for both needs is unacceptable. The terrorist attack of September 11th, 2001 scared a lot of Americans into accepting the false notion that national security requires civil rights have to be undermined. This, however, cannot be the case as both are needs of the People.