One of the most common things that is said about September 11th is that it changed everything. In some respects, that is true. In the most important respects it would be more accurate to say it has changed everything for some, far more than it has for others. One instance of that can be seen in a pole that National Public Radio did one year after September 11th. They asked people to what extent their life had changed. They asked them whether they had to give up any important rights or freedoms in the war on terrorism. Only seven percent said yes. I think that is a telling statistic. I think the reason for that is we have not, in the wake of September 11th, been forced to ask which of our rights we as American citizens are willing to give up in order to gain more security. The attacks of September 11th have left all of us feeling vulnerable in ways that we were privileged not to have felt before September 11th. There may well be a need to recalibrate the balance of liberty and security. That is not the question our government has asked us. Rather, the question it has asked us is, are you willing to give up their rights and their liberty for your security? The they being the foreign nationals; more specifically Arab and Muslim nationals. That is an easy way to strike the balance between liberty and security for a politician, because foreign nationals have no voice in the political process. Citizens do. So, you put citizen security interests on one side and the liberty interests of a group who has no voice on the other side. You can see where the balance is struck.
29 Can.-U.S. L.J. 339-349 (2003)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Cole, David, "Security and Freedom: Are the Governments' Efforts to Deal With Terrorism Violative of Our Freedoms?" (2003). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 75.