Friday, December 14, 2007

Security is a given

When I previously stated that a political system should be derived from the distinct--and often conflicting--concepts of freedom and justice, one important question remained untouched: What about security?

These days, particularly since 9/11, the word security seems almost obligatory in our political discourse. The Republicans learned this lesson long ago; the Democrats are playing catchup. Hence the Energy Independence and Security Act. Passage of this bill is a "shot heard 'round the world" we're told. (Apparently security is always--what should I say?--more secure--when a few shots are fired. In the streets of the Middle East, shots are literally fired into the air. Here, we settle for the proverbial and metaphorical variety. Less collateral damage--except to the English language.)

Don't get me wrong. Security is important. But I'm not going to start the "Freedom & Security" party? A libertarian might excitedly respond: "Yeah, that's what libertarianism is all about: securing property."

Or how about "Vote Freedom, Justice, & Security." You have to admit: it has that post-9/11 ring to it, don't you think? Though also a bit clunky.

Here's the problem I have with either modification to Freedom & Justice: (1) Humans are communitarian as well as individualistic. A political system should take that into account; (2) Security is a given.

Point #1 implies a sense of justice. Point #2 argues that any system will require steps to ensure it's continued existence.

Adding the security label to concepts in our political discourse is redundant. Security is a given.