Security & Law
Some people prefer individual liberty over security; others security over individual liberty, Then there are others who have not seriously thought about the issue. Since 9/11, the United States (and many other western nations) have moved toward greater security, increased surveillance and reduced liberties. I don’t agree with this approach, and I am neither an extremist nor do I oppose the legal system of the U.S; I am essentially a classic liberal in the old tradition. Thus, I strongly oppose laws that go against the U.S. Constitution, and in this case the First Amendment (a free press) and the Fourth Amendment (illegal search and seizure).
That Prof, Jochnowitz views things differently is what makes democracy the wonderful political system it is, and I present his views for you to discuss and debate. Jochnowitz writes: “Recently Edward Snowden has been in the news. He is a rightist who released secrets to the press. Leftists are supporting him. Daniel Ellsberg, a leftist who released secrets to the press, is pro-Snowden. Russia, a leftist country that is certainly not opposed to government control, has offered to consider an asylum request from Snowden—a rightist and a libertarian.”
by George Jochnowitz
“Fair is foul and foul is fair,” chant the witches in Shakespeare’sMacbeth. They include “Liver of blaspheming Jew” in the list of the ingredients in their witches’ brew. If they were preparing such a brew today, they would probably chant “Liver of genocidal Israeli.” The witches are fictional, but nowadays anti-Zionism, the child of anti-Semitism, is the most powerful political force on earth, the way anti-Semitism used to be. Hungary’s far-right Jobbik Party is primarily anti-Semitic, but it is also anti-Israel.
Countries on the far left, like North Korea and Venezuela, are explicitly and energetically anti-Israel.
In the United States, anti-Israel sentiment is primarily leftist, with Noam Chomsky and The Nation being typical examples; however, far-right politicians like Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan are equally hostile. Anti-Zionism is among the issues uniting leftists and rightists—not to be confused with liberals and conservatives. Nadine Gordimer was cited in The New York Times on May 15, 2002, as saying, “I’m not a liberal, my dear. I’m a leftist.” Liberals and conservatives are typically not anti-Israel.
“Liberty [fair] is law [foul] and law is liberty” might be a good opening for the witches’ chant today. Laws restrict liberty but protect liberty. Traffic laws help to save lives. So do laws restricting the ingredients that may be used in foods. Libertarians (on the right) and anarchists (on the left) oppose laws because they take away our liberties. What about laws against murder? They have not ended murder, to be sure, but they make life safer. What about guns? Retired Representative Jay Dickey, Republican of Arkansas, has said, “We have the right to bear arms because of the threat of government taking over the freedoms that we have.” Representative Dickey, a rightist, was in favor of overthrowing the government of the United States by force and violence. So was leftist Bernardine Dohrn, who said, “Guns and grass are united in the youth underground,” in her speech “A Declaration of a State of War.”
Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has spoken about the need to defend Main Street against Wall Street. She expressed the same view that gave its name to the leftist Occupy Wall Street movement.
Recently Edward Snowden has been in the news. He is a rightist who released secrets to the press. Leftists are supporting him. Daniel Ellsberg, a leftist who released secrets to the press, is pro-Snowden. Russia, a leftist country that is certainly not opposed to government control, has offered to consider an asylum request from Snowden—a rightist and a libertarian.
Secrecy, spying, privacy and similar issues are always going to be controversial. The government ought to protect the safety of its citizens. Does spying lead to safety? A number of attacks have been foiled. On the other hand, some major attacks, 9/11 and the recent Boston Marathon bombs, for example, were not prevented by government security measures.
Traffic laws, laws against murder, etc., don’t always work. We should be grateful that sometimes they do work. Why have leftists and rightists united on this issue? They have done so because all extremists oppose the legal system of the United States. And all extremists oppose the existence of Israel—and its people.
George Jochnowitz was born in New York City, in 1937. He became aware of different regional pronunciations when he was six, and he could consciously switch accents as a child. He got his Ph.D. in linguistics from Columbia University and taught linguistics at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. His area of specialization was Jewish languages, in particular, Judeo-Italian dialects. As part of a faculty-exchange agreement with Hebei University in Baoding, China, he was in China during the Tiananmen Massacre. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.