Why The American Government Has The Authority To Take Away Our Rights During The Time Of War And That National Security Supercedes The Rights Of The People.

1394 words - 6 pages

National SecurityWhen the United States is engaged in military conflict, do the demands of national security supercede conflicting claims of individual rights?" ...Only the greatest dangers can outweigh that of changing the public order, and the sacred power of the laws should never be interfered with except when the safety of the country is at stake". Because I agree with these words given by a great philosopher of the social contract, Jean Jacque Rousseau1, that I affirm the question.The question gives the circumstance in which we debate whether or not national security ought to supersede conflicting claims of individual rights. That circumstance is when the U.S. is engaged in military conflict and when national security is at stake. We can infer that these infringements on rights would only be temporary until national security was no longer at stake, in which case, these rights would be restored.Because the question inquires the United States and its values, we must understand and examine what the U.S. was first founded upon. The Declaration of Independence was what America first established itself upon and states that this country entitles it citizens to, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". We must realize that to receive Liberty and Happiness means first we must have Life, furthermore the protection of.We cannot protect societies liberties and individual rights, if we cannot first protect the citizens' lives and ensure their security. Once we protect the people, we can then protect their rights.The government's duty to the country is to do what is best for the country as a whole as seen fit by the government. John Locke2, another philosopher of the social contract affirms this; "To avoid this state of war (between one individual to another) is one great reason of men's putting themselves into society, and quitting the state of nature." He also explains that men give up certain rights for protection and establish a government to do so. Until the whole country is in a stable state, the government cannot further do their best to do what is best for the individuals of the country.Clinton Rossiter3, a political scientist, best demonstrates this in his book, Constitutional Dictatorship: Crisis Development in the Modern Democracies. "No form of government can survive that excludes dictatorship when the life of the nation is at stake". If we plan on maintaining the rights we have now, we must give up a little sometimes, so we can do what is best for the country. Legal commentary by John W. Dean4, dealing solely with this subject, "Democracy works best in times of peace, when there is debate, compromise, and deliberation in forming governing rules, regulations, and policies. When confronted with a major crisis - particularly one that is, like terrorism, of an unfamiliar nature - the nation will turn to the President for initiative and resolute leadership. If our very existence and way of life are threatened, Americans will want their...

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