Civil Liberties After 911 Essay

1262 words - 5 pages

September 11. No more needs to be said. A simple day, and yet it strikes fear into the hearts of Americans and the world, alike. It is a day that will remain in our memories forever, and although we are all aware of the events that took place, it will be long before we can truly comprehend them. Almost three years have passed, and as the United States continues to wage its war on terrorism, we struggle to understand the impact of the terrorist attacks. In times of turmoil, even bad ideas can gain merit. Through individualism, our society has taught us to put ourselves before all others. In this, we assume the concept of "an eye for an eye," but as Ghandi once said, "an eye for an eye leaves the world blind ." The United States' has vowed to rid the world of terrorism, raising one major question--at what cost? Can we put an end to terrorism without jeopardizing our rights and freedoms in the process? The answer is no. The elimination of terrorism will undoubtedly lead to an infringement on our democratic ideologies and human rights, making a terror free democracy an unpleasant oxymoron. The right to free speech, a presumption of innocence, and privacy of the person are just a few of the rights we will no longer have the benefit of, if terrorists are to be apprehended. Human rights are being overlooked in a search for security. Our democracy is vulnerable under the power of terrorism, and the limits on our rights are diminishing our confidence in our country and in ourselves.In accordance with anti-terrorism legislation, our freedom of speech will be denied. In a democracy, citizens are provided with certain political freedoms, freedoms that include the right to speak freely, even if controversial opinions are expressed. These civil liberties are essential, and are guaranteed to defend the rights of individuals and minorities. They allow terrorists to extend their hatred across our nation with no fear of the law. Terrorists can openly defy governments, can create associations, and can even recruit potential terrorists, provided they do not engage in criminal activity. It is evident that these rights must be reformed if terrorism is to be stopped. The problem posed is this--if these rights are eliminated democracy cannot exist. Freedom of speech provides us with a podium from which to speak. It allows us to express our individuality and to challenge the norms, in a country where diversity is praised. Without it, the government stands to gain too much power, as no one is able to oppose its actions and decisions. Anti-terrorist legislation has already begun to minimize a citizen's right to freedom of speech. New legislation presents a broad definition of terrorist hate crime and propaganda, and labels its use as an outright crime. Freedom of speech allows terrorism to prosper, even in nations where it is condemned. However, the limitation of our freedom of speech impairs our democracy, as it revokes our freedom to criticize the government.To defeat...

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