Preserving imperative principles

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Preserving imperative principles

  1. 1. Preserving Imperative Principles Emma Vockeroth6/10/2010Humanities 30-1<br />“Rights and freedoms are essential to a democracy; however, there may be times when a temporary suspension of rights and freedoms is necessary to guarantee the preservation of democracy.” This source illustrates that in order to preserve democracy and the principles of liberalism which fall under it, there are circumstances where the government, in the best interests of its people, interferes and temporarily withholds particular aspects of its citizens’ rights. Withholding an individual’s rights exhibits the ideology of modern liberalism and government intervention. The source agrees with the ideas of 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who emphasized that life without interdependence between government and its citizens and the intervention of government when necessary, is meaningless. Hobbes believed that embracing the notion of a social contract would promote this interdependence, and also the rule of law. When people temporarily give up sovereignty to the government, eliminating threats and nation-wide concerns, and dealing with extreme situations becomes a lot more attainable of a task. In order to overcome relieve tension and serious situations within a country or government, exercising modern liberalism and in some circumstances revoking specific rights of citizens is a necessary pursuit. <br /> Sometimes, the temporary suspension of rights and freedoms leads to permanent control from the government and an authoritarian government. In Germany, for example, the Parliamentary Reichstag was burned down in a terrorist motion and Hitler gained complete control over the country and assumed that the rights of citizens, leading to his dictatorship and full power. Hitler implemented the Enabling Act in 1933, and his incessant authority over the country did not cease-- German citizens never regained the rights they initially had. This situation, however, is very rare and easily controlled in societies where collaboration and cooperation exists between citizens and the government. In past situations, when the government has implemented firmer measures of control and restricted certain aspects of citizens’ rights, the countries have coped and recovered from the drastic circumstance without a lasting effect of having their rights revoked temporarily. The War Measures Act and Anti-Terrorism Act both exemplify this. <br />The War Measures Act was put into effect during the FLQ (Front de Liberation du Quebec ) crisis of 1970. This Act granted the Canadian government the power to makes decision through decree rather than parliamentary discussion. Many would argue that the government had no right or reason to enforce the War Measures Act, which stripped citizens of their civil rights and imposed the full weight of the government onto the people during a chaotic time. Though, a more compelling idea is that implementing the War Measures Act saved Canada from a very dangerous threat to the nation. First, Trudeau and the Liberal government had to help control the state of the province of Quebec, and the upmost pandemonium it was about to incur. It was the government’s duty to do everything in its power that he could do to prevent the FLQ from committing further acts of terrorism. By following through with the War Measures act, Canada as an independent nation proved to its citizens and also the international community that it had the power to solve its own problems and not allow for separatism. The restrictions placed on human rights due to the increased need for national security were minor in comparison to the potentially devastating consequences of assuming that people aren’t abusing the freedom granted to them by the liberal-embracing society. It was necessary for the overall good of society to apply modern liberalism through the War Measures Act and tackle the severe national threat, because in the end, the idea of separatism was deferred, calmness was restored in the province of Quebec, and the government was able to protect, retain, and secure other principles of liberalism.<br />After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act was created. It was used to replace the War Measures Act, and included similar components and ideas of the United States’ Patriot Act. The federal government was forced to act proactively and quickly against the growing threat of terrorism after the attacks on the United States in 2001. The Patriot Act enables censorship and monitoring of communication and other forms of records and data with extreme caution and seriousness, and the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act gives our security and espionage services to a lesser extent. The implementation of these Acts was necessary for the long-term preservation of the principles of liberalism and the immediate need for public security. Terrorism is itself a violation of human rights, so if the government does too little to defend against terrorism, it is then violating the human rights of its citizens. Without enforcing the principles of modern liberalism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the threat of terrorism would still dominate our countries, and would continue to agonize the citizens of North America.<br />In order for the long-term preservation of liberal principles and the existence of a healthy relationship between citizens and the government, modern liberalism and its principles need to be exercised and accepted by citizens. Maintaining a balance between security imperatives and the protection of traditional civil liberties is exactly what the War Measures Act and Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act do. The temporary revocation of rights can be easily defended in both situations. The War Measures Act and the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act both applied modern liberalism in such a way that the citizens of their countries were able to learn and grow from their governments decisions. When the principles of modern liberalism are applied to a country, citizens are able to understand and appreciate the fact that the common good of the entire nation is being considered, and that the values of their country are being upheld by those representing them. <br />

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