"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
--V (V For Vendetta)
Cogent thought process by Judge Nap on the false choice between safety and freedom. The argument goes like this.
Man was born free.
His right to freedom is inalienable, meaning that it cannot be legitimately taken away by another worldly entity.
Man created government to help protect his freedom.
Government properly does so by helping individuals protect against aggression by others.
Those who conflate safety and freedom, claiming that liberty and safety must be balanced against each other, are philosophically, historically, and constitutionally wrong. Liberty is the default position, the natural state.
Safety, on the other hand, is a good--a good that we have instructed government to obtain.
Liberty and safety are therefore not in balance because one created the other.
Every conceivable conflict between the free choices of individuals and their instructions to government to safeguard liberty must favor the free choices of individuals because freedom is inalienable. I cannot authorize government to take away your freedom and you cannot authorize government to take away mine. A majority of all but one cannot authorize government to take freedom from that one minority individual.
As such, it is the free choice of individuals to resolve the conflict between freedom and safety. It is not one that government can rightly make.
If anyone truly believes that, by silencing him or monitoring him or taxing him, government keeps him safe, and that those are the least restrictive means by which to do so, then that person is free to surrender his speech, privacy, and wealth.
The rest of us have the right to retain ours and provide for our own safety.
The reason that we have consented to limited government in the United States is to preserve the freedom to pursue happiness wherever that might lead for each individual.
That freedom cannot exist if we are subservient to government in the name of safety.