Monday, March 17, 2008

Precious liberty

"The creation or adoption of instruments of control, surveillance, and eavesdropping, along with laws and powers to detain, proscribe, silence and punish in areas of thought and activity which were once not subject to such interference, is like loading a gun: we put the loaded gun in the hands of a benign and concerned government wishing to protect us from terrorism, illegal immigration and organised crime, then they pass the gun to the next generation of government, and they in turn to the next … and so unpredictably into the future, in the hope that things will always be such, and times such, and people such, that benignity can and will reign all the way, with the ordinary citizen still functionally free and secure throughout.

"History teaches a painfully different lesson about such naive hopes. If one would try to protect oneself against things going wrong, do not create instruments that could all too easily go wrong in the wrong hands — and very, very wrong at that." —A.C. Grayling

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