Scribblings Resurrection

Nothing to fear

Saturday, 22 March 2008

AC Grayling’s recent article1 in the Guardian addresses those people who take the “if you’ve nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” line on the government’s increasing use of surveillance techniques to keep tabs on us. I’ve been wanting to write something like this for some time but have not known where to start. Now I don’t have to as Grayling has written it instead.

The only thing I have to add is that I think it was Voltaire2, in the late 18th century, who said something along the lines of those who would exchange liberty for security deserve neither. That remains as true today as it was then.

1 There’s a text-only version of Grayling’s article which is without all the readers’ comments and is far quicker to load.

2 I was wrong in attributing this to Voltaire. The actual quote is: Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.. It appeared on the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (1759) and is attributed to Benjamin Franklin in the 1812 edition although he denied having written it.

Posted 22 March 2008, 21:02 GMT

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