Smith: Sorry I was sitting at home and I just realized I had it on google drive but I didn't post it on blogger until now. (I have proof on the document that it was finished last night so in case you need it) :)
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Ben Franklin
Benjamin Franklin Summary Response Outline
By: Alyssa Leiby
Ben Franklin, a founding father of the United States and an ambassador to France, denounces those who relinquish their essential freedoms to gain limited safety and argues that they deserve neither the freedoms that they gave up nor the safety they attempted to gain.
In this quote, Benjamin Franklin correctly portrays the consequences of trading fundamental freedoms for brief safety and the contradictory actions of humans when security and freedom overlap. The human brain can become an endless cycle of want and sacrifice. People tend to believe that in order to gain one thing, you have to lose another, whether it’s a value or a concrete object. For example, a blog post written by a popular radio speaker explains that in many cities in the U.S, sledding has been banned for the purpose of preventing injuries and the suing that results from the injuries. The author of the blog wrote, “No one wants children or adults to be injured, but the price to pay for the ‘nanny state’ protection leads to the banning of an innocent activity that could lead to injuries is the loss of freedom” (Scoot). Sledding, a freedom of pursuing happiness, is now being taken away simply to gain potential protection against injury and the loss of money. Although this may seem reasonable, the city is not to blame for a lack of caution on behalf of the people sledding. As the author, Scoot, says, “What part of sliding down a hill on a sled with trees and other obstacles nearby does not alert everyone to possible risk?” (Scoot). If people are going to take for granted their freedom to use common sense and choose to sled in dangerous areas, they do not deserve the safety they could gain from having sledding banned. Even if sledding is prevented, safety cannot be guaranteed if the citizens continue to throw caution to the wind. Therefore, the citizens want the freedom to have fun in the snow and so they sacrifice safety. But when they discover the consequences of their carelessness they want to sacrifice that freedom for the brief and unguaranteed protection of their money. This is proof that Ben Franklin is correct in his statement that those who give up safety for freedom also give up freedom for safety and thus deserve neither.
However, some would disagree with Benjamin Franklin’s declaration and maintain that even those would who give up important liberties for temporary securities still deserve the right to be free and safe. Those who believe this argue that protection is more important than freedom. In Little Brother, a novel by Cory Doctorow, Mrs. Andersen says, “If the government wants to do something that makes us a little unhappy, or takes away some of our liberty, it’s okay, providing they’re doing it to save our lives” (Doctorow, 209). It may seem as if freedom is more important than security, but if a citizen gets hurt while enjoying those freedoms it can lead to loss of money, property, and even life. Without security, people can’t feel safe, and if they aren’t safe they can’t experience liberties without getting hurt or dying. Mrs. Andersen agrees when she says, “You lose your liberty and happiness to protect life. If you’ve got life, you might get liberty and happiness later” (Doctorow, 209). She is explaining that if a person has security, that person is protecting their life, which they can then use to enjoy other freedoms. This is something the person deserves because they first gave up their freedom to ensure that they were safe. Based on this evidence, many disagree with Ben Franklin and assert that when people protect their lives, money, and property, they deserve the liberties that will follow.
At first thought, it may seem that a person who sacrifices liberties for security still deserves both what he sacrificed and what he gained. This conclusion seems compelling because it provides an excuse for humanity to trade safety for freedom and freedom for safety. We also cannot deny that it is hard to decide between safety and freedom when the two concepts coexist, and that security and liberty are both extremely important. But the line between security and freedom is far more complicated. The human race has the ability to be safe on their own and they have the freedom to be safe. But if people take for granted their freedom to be safe, they also take for granted the safety of freedom. Where freedom collides with safety, humans don’t know which to choose, and whichever one they chose, they are giving up a freedom and a security. Freedom can be the choice to ignore safety and safety can begin to control freedom. When people pick one, they destroy the other, and so they do not deserve either one.
Benjamin Franklin’s declaration correctly portrays the consequences of trading fundamental freedoms for brief safety and the contradictory actions of humans when security and freedom intertwine.
Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. 1st ed. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2008. Print.
Scoot. "Scoot: Americans Are Taking Away America's Freedoms." Web log post. WWL. N.p., 3 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2015. <http://www.wwl.com/Scoot-Americans-are-taking-away-America-s-freedoms/13069478?pid=454689>.