Thursday, December 11, 2008

National Security vs. Personal Liberty

Before talking about the tension between security and liberty, I think we need to clarify it is national security against personal liberty. National security is different from personal sense of security. America is supposed to be the most secured country with its most advanced weapons, but since 911 its national security is facing great challenge. When I came to America, however, I still feel more secured than I was in China; at least there aren’t that many thieves! Personal liberty more refers to the rights individuals have, and Americans are supposed to have the most rights of liberty.

I have read a series of books written by a Chinese couple who came to America for many years. Their books about American politics, laws and history are very popular in China, just like a window for Chinese to know what America is. Using tons of examples in American history, the books continually talk about the tension between national security and personal liberty, which is not an issue just started but definitely outshined since 911. I’m very much influenced by their books, which shape most of my view of America. As I said before, US is a human experiment, including the test on how many rights individuals should have while not interfering national security, and how to prevent government from using the name of national security to steal rights from its people.

I and my friend ever talked about the Internet censorship between China and America. China might be the most severe Internet censored country. I personally experienced a lot, such as we couldn’t check Wikipedia, my blogs being deleted the second day after publishing, and very interestingly, my friends in China couldn’t see what I wrote on this Blogspot. But my friend also mentioned that you know there’s Internet censorship in China, while you don’t know there’s also censorship in America. You don’t feel it, but “the big brother is looking at you” anonymously. In this sense, who has more liberty? I don’t know.

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