Tech Crunch has a stupid article where they say that:
One of America’s favorite liberal phrases has been sent through the political spin machine and polished into a Frankenstein of sorts, thus rendering it inaccurate and far from its original intention.
They aren’t the only one. NPR has an article titled “Ben Franklin’s Famous ‘Liberty, Safety’ Quote Lost Its Context In 21st Century” also engulfs the internet with stupidity:
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That quote often comes up in the context of new technology and concerns about government surveillance. Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the editor of Lawfare, tells NPR’s Robert Siegel that it wasn’t originally meant to mean what people think.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of leftist news sources and magazines followed suit and published similar articles. Slightly surprising (although not really), some right-leaning places bought it as factual.
Except it’s not. It’s typical propaganda.
How The World Actually Butchered Benjamin Franklin’s Quote On Liberty Vs. Security
David Brick has a very nice, obvious rebuttal:
The very idea that the author of this article quotes, as a reliable source, Benjamin Wittes, a fellow of the very left-leaning Brookings Institute, shows that he is either a useful idiot or in league with Wittes’ likely intentional disinformation piece on Franklin’s famous quote. Wittes is a leftist ideologue whose rabid ideology either blinds him to reasonable and logical interpretation or forces him to try to remake Franklin into the image of a very early spokesman for the Left.
To make his point in the referenced post, Wittes takes as the context of the quote the entire letter Franklin wrote (or co-wrote) to then Governor Morris of the Colony of Pennsylvania. That context would be a struggle between the Governor and the Assembly over how the additional funding for defensive measures would be paid for. Wittes tries to force the quote to say that it’s really better for the Assembly to have the Liberty to place a tax on all colonial lands in order to pay for the temporary Safety these defensive measures would provide. One major problem with this is that the authors aren’t talking about the Assembly’s abilities to tax when they make the now-famous statement.
The real context of the quote is actually a very small portion of that letter in which the authors are discussing the defensive needs of certain “freemen” living on the frontiers, or ‘backwoods’ areas of the colony.
Speaking for those frontiersmen, the authors of the reply are saying that the Assembly has done enough to provide for their defense by providing funds for purchasing arms and ammo with which they can defend themselves. To invite further help from the Assembly would be to invite further presence and interference in their affairs from the Government, thus giving up some measure of their Essential Liberty. To do this for the price of some temporary Safety would axiomatically (in their view) be a poor trade.
The quote is actually similar to, though slightly different from, a statement Franklin published much earlier in Poor Richard’s Almanack. It is also one which he restated and paraphrased repeatedly throughout his life. To try to twist it to mean essentially the opposite of its popular interpretation is to twist Franklin’s beliefs and ideology as if to remake the man.
Clearly the quote has to do with Government and its power over the People. The more powerful Government becomes, the more “Safety” it promises, but it will always do this at the price of diminished Liberty. One need go no further than the Patriot Act to see this in practice. If — and it is a big “if” — we are safer as a nation since its passing into law, the Government has exacted the price for that safety in sacrificed freedoms. Once freedoms are surrendered, no government freely returns them.
The Founders, of which Franklin was a member, were keenly aware of this fact and it is the reason why Liberty was such a huge concept to them.
It’s pretty simple. It’s painful that this has to even be explained to a fellow at a leftist institute. But clearly they had an agenda-driven bias.
As per usual, the Pravda try to rewrite history to fit their agenda.
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