Monday, July 25, 2005
In his July 18 op-ed column, "Looking Back at Big Brother," Sebastian Mallaby asserted that it is "a bit weird" that libertarians "support a law while simultaneously opposing modern tools to enforce it." That is a bit incorrect.
It is not technology, or its use to enforce the law, that libertarians find "creepy" but instead the consequences of placing this sort of power in the hands of government. While libertarians may not believe that today's law enforcement will use "programs that survey your Web browser and e-mail" to limit civil liberties, such programs make such abuses possible and therefore more likely. Assuming an always-benevolent government is unrealistic and dangerous.
Mr. Mallaby conceded that "governments will watch citizens," and that is a threat to our precious and hard-won gift of liberty.