Rights and Liberties
When the United States of America was founded, at its core was the idea that all people would be given certain rights that could not be violated haphazardly. This being understood, as life in America has become increasingly complex and violent due to many issues such as the proliferation of illegal drugs, the breakdown of the American family, and the constant threat of domestic and international terrorism, all of which has made it necessary, for better or worse, to essentially violate the rights of individuals in the interest of fighting crime and maintaining public order. At the heart of this point lies an important question that will be the focus of this research: how can the American legal system, which is so devoted to protecting individual rights, justify itself morally if it jeopardizes, through its own rules, the right of law-abiding citizens to personal peace and security?
Moral Justification for the Invasion of Personal Peace and Security
A study of the latest literature corresponding to the question of how the American legal system can even begin to justify the erosion of the right of the individual to be secure in their residences, personal papers/effects, and communications seems to go back to one standard answer that is recited time and again by the courts, law enforcement, military and the like: we are now living in an era where individuals and groups not only exist within the US population, but are also actively seeking to enter the US for the purpose of killing thousands, if not millions of innocent Americans through acts of terror (Nunn, 2007) and in light of this relatively new and definitely growing threat, it is necessary for clandestine surveillance of suspected individuals, which in the process, has resulted in the loss of privacy and security in person and property for innocent individuals, basically as a cost of doing business for those who are empowered to protect the American people from those that would do harm (Scoglio, 1998).
On the other hand, the US Constitution has remained as a bedrock of personal freedom, and in cases where Constitutional rights are being threatened, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have stood as champions of personal freedom in a time when those in power seem to have placed freedom on a lower level of priority than the greater good of keeping the streets of America safer for all (Wells, et al, 2002). All of this being said, if the protection of the defenseless is moral, in light of maintaining constitutionally guaranteed rights, is it right?
If it is Morally Justified, is it Right?
It would appear that the Constitutional rights of Americans must be held sacred-violation is not right even if it is morally justified, but also, the protection of those same citizens is a priority as well. Like many other things in life, it may be impossible to have both total privacy/freedom and total safety. Therefore, in conclusion, a feasible solution will be proposed.
In conclusion, if a clear cut answer is not possible, compromise seems to be a suitable alternative. Therefore, a healthy balance will have to be maintained between the individual’s rights and the larger duty of those in power to protect those individuals literally from injury and death. The Constitution must stand for something, but if no one is alive to be served by it, what good would it be? Lastly, the people who fight for rights and those who fight for safety will need to collaborate and cooperate before all is lost.
Nunn, S. (2007). Incidents of Terrorism in the United States, 1997-2005. The Geographical Review, 97(1), 89+.
Scoglio, S. (1998). Transforming Privacy: A Transpersonal Philosophy of Rights. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Wells, M. L., & Eaton, T. A. (2002). Constitutional Remedies : A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution /. Westport, CT: Praeger.