Friday, 1 October 2010

A Very Sanguine Maxim

Carmilla Karnstein pre-emptively strikes to save Laura from the lustful Turk, or whoever.  David Henry Friston (1872), via Wikimedia Commons - public domainThe whole world knows that I am very far from being its bravest man. But over the last week or so, I seem beset each way I turn with voices demanding I imitate the world's worst coward and dastard, for fear of what Osama bin Liner will do to me should our masters' stern but fair vigilance be abated for an instant. - Or their cashflow. - Attempting to get my head around this clash of worldviews, I have come up with the following rough-and-ready explanation:

The authoritarian securocrat thinks that giving up our liberties for fear of terror is like having a mole removed when it starts itching. They were unsightly, useless, and not very salubrious at best. When a question of danger arises, we dispose of them soberly, and are only improved by having the occasion to do so.

The liberal securocrat thinks that sacrificing our liberties is more like gnawing off one's limb when it gets caught in a deadly trap. We have really lost something. We hope it is a finger-joint - at worst, it may be an arm or a leg - and we bitterly regret the necessity; but it is done, and there is no undoing it, and it is surely better than the alternative.

But people like me think that sacrificing our liberties for fear of terror is like letting Carmilla Karnstein suck out your heart's blood, because she has sensibly convinced you that you are at severe risk of a recurrence of malaria.

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