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Dowdifying Ben Franklin
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Take a close look at the protest banner held up by a petulant bunch of Georgetown University kids who disrupted a speech by Attorney General Al Gonzales defending the NSA’s terrorist surveillance program yesterday:


Notice anything missing?

The Ben Franklin quote that has been so misused and abused by the civil liberties absolutists since Sept. 11 originally appeared in 1755:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

The version that appears on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal reads:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

The omission of those key qualifiers–“essential” and “little”– makes all the difference in the world. Ben Franklin has been hijacked to endorse an untenable and deadly view that no sacrifice of any liberty for any amount of safety at any time should ever be made.

Is there a single adult on campus who will correct the miseducated protesters and teach them to think rationally about trade-offs? Or is Georgetown’s educational mission to produce the next generation of ignorant Chicken Littles who’ll proclaim the collapse of civilization every time our government fingerprints a temporary foreign visitor, detains an illegal alien, interrogates an enemy combatant, prevents bogus charities from raising money for terrorism, refuses to admit radical Muslim clerics into the country, or monitors the internationally routed e-mails and phone calls of known and suspected al Qaeda operatives?


Naturally, the Dowdified quote received an endorsement this morning from none other than Maureen Dowd:

At a Georgetown University speech, W.’s legal lickspittle ignored a few student protesters, but he might have learned something from their banner, emblazoned with words of Benjamin Franklin: ”Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”


John Hinderaker at Power Line has much more on the Gonzales speech and highlights this key part:

The conflict against al Qaeda is, in fundamental respects, a war of information. We cannot build walls thick enough, fences high enough, or systems strong enough to keep our enemies out of our open and welcoming country. Instead, as the bipartisan 9/11 and WMD Commissions have urged, we must understand better who they are and what they’re doing – we have to collect more dots, if you will, before we can “connect the dots.” This program to surveil al Qaeda is a necessary weapon as we fight to detect and prevent another attack before it happens.

John asks: “Didn’t that “collect the dots” theme originate on the internet? I think so.”

Flashback: See Bryan Preston’s “Collect the Dots…Connect the Dots” movie.

They should show it at Georgetown to all the brainwashed kids who’ve been watching Fahrenheit 9/11 in class.




The Conservative Cat: “[I]t’s worth noting that Franklin was talking about liberty, not privacy. There is a relationship between the two, but I find it strange that no one bothers to quote Franklin when we’re talking about the liberty to choose how your children are taught or smoke cigarettes in public.”

Bryan Preston reminds the Left’s Ben Franklin quote doctors (funny how they’ve finally found a Founding Father they can love) of other relevant sayings that don’t quite fit their agenda.

Scott Johnson at Power Line points to some serious Ben Franklin scholarship worth reading.

Reader Jeff T. writes:

The misquotation of Franklin in the argument about “domestic wiretapping” strikes me as particularly amusing in light of Franklin’s role as one of the premier intelligence agents during the Revolutionary War. The CIA has a nice summary of the intelligence activities undertaken in that war, and no one is so prominent as Franklin, including in covert activities. More to the point here, Franklin was a member of the original committee, appointed by the Continental Congress, to review and publish intercepted communications from England. Hmm, Benjamin Franklin: Domestic Spy! If he meant what the liberals think he meant, we’re going to have to change his statues to read “Printer, Inventor, Statesman, Hypocrite”!

Stop The ACLU has more on essential liberties.



You can’t connect the dots…

The White House and the War on Terror

Take a leak

How the Times is ringing in the New Year

Finally: Justice Dept. opens NSA leak probe

The NYTimes vs. America

The NYTimes strikes again

Eavesdropping for me, but not for thee

Red alert: Chicken Littles on the loose

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Maureen Dowd