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The Provision of National Security and Safety by Protecting Civil Liberties

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The emergence of laws that promise to provide safety and security, tend to effectively challenge liberalism and civil liberties. Liberal democracies emphasize the importance of rights and freedoms, although, according to the source these liberties can be neglected when a nation is faced with external danger in order to provide security. The source suggests that liberties can be suspended to preserve the collective safety of the nation, and thus an overall orderly society can be achieved. Civilians trust that the leader of their nation will protect their safety and security in times of emergency. The author’s perspective aligns with the ideologies of the philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Stuart Mill. Mill believed the government should interfere when the safety of the nation is at risk. He believed that individuals have the freedom to pursue their self-interests, unless it violates the safety of another. Thomas Hobbes believed individuals should give up their liberties in exchange for safety and protection. The ideological perspective of the source is one that values security over liberalism as the excerpt advocates for strong government intervention in the lives of the citizens when a threat is perceived. The ideological perspective in this source should not be embraced, liberties should not be denied even in times of emergency as the leader’s authority is often abused. During several points in history nations have faced external threats detrimental to their safety in which liberties are altered to accommodate the changes to ensure security and safety are protected. Often the accommodations made had underlying intentions to scapegoat or negatively affect a group of people.

During the 1930’s Adolf Hitler of the National Socialist Party of Germany embarked on his journey to gain power and authority. During this time Germany faced the threat of communist expansion and revolts against the fascist government. In response to these threats Chancellor Hitler passed the Enabling Act of 1933 in which was meant to provide safety and protection from communism. The Enabling Act promised national conduct in Germany as efforts were made to arrest communists and their parliament delegates, this was possible as the freedom of expression was rejected. The Enabling Act was only meant to be implemented for four years, then citizens would be given back their democratic and voting rights as the threat would be deemed dealt with. However, Hitler did not utilized this act to preserve safety and security from the external dangers, rather, he manipulated the act to aid the rise of his Nazi dictatorship. The Enabling Act dissolved all political parties other than the National Socialist Party, the act also made all political parties illegal, he was able to do this by removing citizens liberties to vote. The true purpose of the act was to ensure the longevity of the Nazi Party’s power, disregarding the nations collective security. In addition to ensuring the success of the Nazi party, Hitler saw that the German people were struggling financially, thus causing civil unrest. Hitler feared this threat would further breach national conduct and blamed the individuals of the Jewish faith as the ones responsible for Germany’s poor economy. Through the use of the Enabling Act, Hitler used his power to further scapegoat individuals of Jewish faith, overall this resulted in the Holocaust. A mass genocide which predominantly targeted individuals of Jewish faith as well as Slavs, gypsies, communists, individuals with disabilities, and several other groups. Liberties were stripped away which prohibited individuals from speaking against Hitler and his cruel treatment towards individuals he deemed were not “purebred” or of the Aryan race. The safety and security for the majority of individuals in Germany was denied and replaced with constant fear and terror of falling victim to Hitler’s dictatorial regime. Trusted by many to ensure widespread safety, Adolf Hitler failed to protect Germany from external dangers, instead Hitler caused internal dangers within Germany by denying individuals their liberties. Adolf Hitler forced individuals to abandon their civil liberties using the Enabling Act claiming it was for safety and security of Germany, although this was simply not true. The collective security of the German people was not in Hitler’s interest, he was solely concerned with creating a “purebred” Germany and returning the nation to its former glory before World War I using any means necessary to accomplish his self-interests. Therefore, the Enabling Act was not used to create national conduct by implementing safety, the act was utilized to permanently remove the rights and freedoms of German citizens, ignoring their safety.

On September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack took place in New York which changed the lives of many. Several individuals lived in constant fear of another attack causing widespread civil disorder. To obtain extensive security and safety across America President George W. Bush implemented the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act; the USA PATRIOT Act. President Bush passed the act on October 26, 2001 in response to the external danger, the September 11 terrorist attacks. The USA PATRIOT Act was implemented to preserve the security of American citizens against other external dangers and threats. Overall it was enacted to punish and prohibit terrorism by creating new laws as well as increasing the punishments and sentences of crimes. To allow the USA PATRIOT Act to be enacted to its fullest potential various liberties were required to be limited or restricted. The act permitted various alterations to telephone and electronic communication privacy, allowing the government and other agencies access to sensitive bank and court information and immigration laws. The PATRIOT Act is regularly enforced in the daily lives of citizens. President George Bush was trusted by American citizens to restore national conduct through the use of the act, however the act was utilized to completely reject privacy and security rights of American citizens. The American government holds extraordinary power to acquire private and sensitive information and records without a search warrant. This power granted to government officials is often abused as it is discriminatory, specifically towards American citizens with similar ethnic backgrounds of those involved in 9/11 terrorist attacks. The act focuses on scapegoating minority ethic groups rather than ensuring the safety and security of citizens are protected, ignoring external dangers and threats by causing civil discontent. Furthermore, the act has the means to censor a large degree of information as well as censoring protests against the act. The USA PATRIOT Act rejects primary liberties claiming it is for security and safety purposes although, this is false. The act is strongly abused by presidents as it is constantly enacted even in the absence of emergencies, neither creating safety or national conduct.

The War Measures Act enabled the Canadian government with certain authority that would otherwise be deemed illiberal. The War Measures Act permitted the government to suspend the civil liberties of individuals, to preserve and increase security during the time of external danger. During the Second World War Canadian citizens of Japanese ethnicity and descent were deemed as a threat to Canada, due to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour. Eventually individuals of Japanese descent were scapegoated as enemy spies and a danger to society. The Japanese Canadians were stripped of any of their personal properties and deported to remote areas of Canada after World War II. These individuals were forced to work hard and strenuous labour without compensation. Japanese Canadians as well as individuals who were suspected of being of Japanese descent relocated to internment camps which had horrendous living conditions. The individuals which were sent to the camps had their property seized and sold under the Canadian government. The War Measures Act promised citizens safety and security at the expense of the Japanese Canadians who had their civil liberties confiscated. Although, in reality no espionage took place in Canada by the Japanese Canadians during World War II. The suspension of liberties of the Japanese Canadians as well as the harsh treatment demonstrates negligent perception on behalf of the Canadian government. The government miscalculated the external dangers of the war, which resulted in the liberties of the people of Japanese descent being removed. The government stripped civil liberties of many individuals in an attempt to preserve the security and safety of Canada. The internment of the Japanese Canadians during World War II exemplifies various examples of illiberal actions and this internment of the did not protect Canada from any outside threats. During the Second World War people lived in fear of various attacks and conscription, so the actions to implement the War Measures Act for the Japanese internment was redundant since no matter what actions taken by the Canadian government it was nearly impossible to achieve safety and ensure national conduct. Furthermore at the end of the war the Canadian government did not pay any form of compensation or regard their mistakes.

Trusting leaders with strong authority such as limiting liberties for the purpose of preserving safety and security has been proven throughout history that it is extremely dangerous for not only the individuals who had their liberties taken away but also for the entirety of the nation. The citizens no longer receive protection from the government in the forms of security and safety, rather, citizens acquire an obtrusive and derelict government. In the times of emergency liberties are exchanged for safety and security, this action has been proven throughout history and modern day it only results in more harm. During World War II this occurred several times, for example the Enabling Act which stripped individuals of Jewish faith of their liberty to life, which ultimately resulted in a mass genocide, the Holocaust. German citizens also lost all democratic power and voting rights as the only party was the Nazi Party. The War Measures Act which denied Japanese Canadians their right to private property and mobility rights, leading to the Japanese Internment. After the September 11 terrorist attacks in America the USA PATRIOT Act was implemented. The USA PATRIOT Act was implemented to preserve the security of American citizens, although the act only resulted in a large violation of American citizens privacy rights. Overall the ideological perspectives in this source should not be embraced as the source fails to acknowledge the historical examples of the occurrence when a leader is trusted and given extraordinary power. Leaders ignore the true emergency and fail to provide safety and security to the citizens as the are preoccupied with accomplishing something else.

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The Provision Of National Security And Safety By Protecting Civil Liberties. (2021, May 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from
“The Provision Of National Security And Safety By Protecting Civil Liberties.” GradesFixer, 31 May 2021,
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