Civil liberty campaigners are under fire after insisting terror attacks on the UK are a “price worth paying” to ensure the spy agencies do not conduct mass surveillance.
The groups, including Liberty and Justice, said privacy was more important than forms of bulk surveillance that have proven to stop terror atrocities.
What’s that phrase? The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots?
Summat like that.
And there’s a rather difficult calculation to be made. Full on Nazi style threat of invation permits rather more curtailment of civil liberty than does 50 people blown up on the Tube every decade or so. The loss of liberty needs to be proportionate to the threat to it in other words.
Think of this from he side. We could larelgy close Ritchie’s tax evasion gap by simply banning the use of cash and insisting that all transactions, of any sort, go through monitored electronic payment systems. Is that loss of liberty worth closing that tax gap?
Ritchie would almost certainly say yes. I wouldn’t and I would be right.
Is the mass monitoring of the population worth stopping 1%-2% of the murders that happen in the country each year (total is in the 800 range a year, terrorism is a handful). Y/N?
Your choice but it’s something that people can righteously differ on.
We’ve even another way of looking at this. The statistical value of a life is around £2 to £3 million. We should therefore be willing only to spend up to that amount for however many lives are being saved by our spending. Who wants to try and work out whether the surveillance state costs more than the handful of lives saved by not having a few terrorist attacks?
Yes, this is all a rather harsh calculus. But everything has a value, even civil liberty and the lives of the slain.
Which gives us our final calculus. How many would be willing to fight and die to prevent the imposition upon us by Johnny Foreigner of said surveillance state? 300,000 maybe, as fought in WWII? Then that’s the scale of damage that we should be willing to put up with without having it imposed then, isn’t it?
Yes, there’s holes in all of those arguments and comparisons. But the basic logic is still true. There’s a value to having freedom and liberty and that value is greater than some number of lives lost by still having freedom and liberty. The difficult question is, what is that number?