June 16, 2013 · 5:00 PM
Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." But is that realistic in today's world of stateless terrorism, electronic communications and paranoid governments?
The last few weeks have exposed a number of secret programs that deign to protect the people by trolling the vast data exchanged every moment of the day. But what price have we paid? The common refrain is that if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear. Yet, history is replete with examples of government officials misusing access and information for nefarious purposes, or gathering it unlawfully - from J. Edgar Hoover to Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. And while the Obama administration hasn't broken any laws (as far as I know), there is the question of propriety. Is secret access to our private communications by the government a modern example of Franklin's conflict between liberty and protection?
We'll be back at the IHOP near LAX with our favorite hostess, Nicole, and a terrific private room in the rear. Come demonstrate your Deep Thinking bona fides in a heated discussion that is as timely as ever.
Here are two programs that might be helpful in collecting your thoughts beforehand:
The Diane Rehm Show - "What's Private In The Modern Age?"
I hope to see you there - and happy Father's Day!