How Liberty is Lost

Symposium: Fallacies in Democracy Society Vol. 40, No. 5 (July/August 2003) 44-51

18 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: 2003


In the wake of numerous recent changes made in American law and that of numerous many countries following the September 11 terrorist attack, civil libertarians, libertarians, and many others have raised concerns that the nations involved are sacrificing their liberty to enhance their safety. Senator Patrick Leahy expressed concern that the United States was “shredding the Constitution.” Civil libertarian organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have described the government’s penchant toward obtaining new powers after September 11 as an “insatiable appetite,” characterized by government secrecy, a lack of transparency, rejection of equality under the law, and “a disdain and outright removal of checks and balances.” Articles in the popular press express similar sentiments. Writing in the American Prospect, Wendy Kaminer expressed the fear that, “Give the FBI unchecked domestic spying powers and instead of focusing on preventing terrorism, it will revert to doing what is does best – monitoring, harassing, and intimidating political dissidents and thousands of harmless immigrants.” In short, it has been argued that in order to protect ourselves from terrorists, democracy may be endangered, if not lost.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, How Liberty is Lost (2003). Symposium: Fallacies in Democracy Society Vol. 40, No. 5 (July/August 2003) 44-51. Available at SSRN:

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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