Trading Privacy and Freedom for Security

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

  • “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  • “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”
  • “He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.”

Video Synopsis

Must we give up privacy and freedom to gain national security? Would we be safer with a totalitarian police state or fascist dictatorship?

In this video, Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses Apple’s encryption and privacy policies, as well as governance issues, with WSJ’s Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker at the Wall Street Journal’s technology conference in Laguna Beach, California, in October 2015.

This short excerpt video clip is being shared here for educational purposes only in a Fair Use capacity to be used as a supportive curriculum resource for discussions on governance.

Watch the Video


Building a Better Democracy

It’s always been important for me to have people in my life who challenge my views and ideas. I feel it helps me make better, more informed decisions. It motivates me to dig deeper into issues. It helps me find possible faults or weaknesses in my own positions.

In government, governance, and politics, whether at the local level or higher, I think we all realize the value of diversity. As long as people can be civil, it’s really valuable to have a mix of opinions and viewpoints.

You may be familiar with the parable of the blind people and the elephant. The illustration below conveys the basic message of the parable.


Faith in Democracy is to trust that if we work together, intentionally bringing together representatives of diverse views and agendas, we can arrive at a better understanding and help build a better world. We can be united despite our differences.

As Pope Francis has stated:

“It sometimes happens that complete information is not put on the table; a selection is made on the basis of particular interests, be they politico-economic or ideological. This makes it difficult to reach a balanced and prudent judgement on different questions, one which takes into account all the pertinent variables. Discussions are needed in which all those directly or indirectly affected…can make known their problems and concerns, and have access to adequate and reliable information in order to make decisions for the common good, present and future.” ~ Pope Francis, quote from Laudato Si — On Care for Our Common Home (see on Google Books)*

We all need each other. We’re all responsible for one another. The video below illustrates this principle.


This article is by Greg Johnson of Iowa City.

Efficiencies and Benefits of Dictatorships


Best Possible Outcomes

Military dictatorships and fascist regimes are generally considered less than ideal for the citizens they control. Yet, they do offer some potential efficiencies. Assuming those in control are not overly hostile or oppressive, and if they selflessly have the people’s best interests in mind, then such a government could be quite efficient and beneficial.

Effective governance requires some expertise and specialized education to gather data, interpret the data, and make determinations based on what’s in the broadest and best interest of everyone.

If highly competent, well educated, and well informed leaders are running a government, their results may be better than a country run by an under educated, poorly informed, democracy of people.

Consider this example… An auto mechanic, as an experienced specialist with the right tools, can fix your car better than 100 people without the proper tools or experience. Even if the group of 100 were to be guided by democratic principles, they couldn’t achieve what the one skilled person can accomplish.

Worst Possible Outcomes

Unfortunately, dictatorships typically use force to control the masses, and there’s little tolerance for dissent. Dictators are often not the most intelligent or capable people, but among the most conniving, militaristic, and exploitative people who take control by force sometimes combined with a controlling charismatic leadership style. This style of leadership is also employed by cults that use persuasive and charismatic religious dogma or philosophical teachings to control their members.

When wealth, ownership, and government control is in the hands of a few, but delegated out in small quantities, it can create the illusion of a democracy. In the case of a corporate controlled imperialist military empire, a nation’s military may be used for creating the conditions needed for maximum profits rather than spreading democracy and freedom.

Requirements for Better Outcomes with Democracy

It’s important to acknowledge the potential benefits of non-democratic governing. This establishes a baseline for optimal outcomes from a democratic government.

For a democracy to produce better outcomes than the best case scenario of a dictatorship, all citizens must be well educated (for critical thinking), well informed (on history and current issues), and highly motivated to be engaged in the processes of citizenship and democracy.

Small House Community: Governance



This brief article explores the topic of how a small house community might be governed. There may not be a best method of governance, but this document explores what different approaches may have to offer.

Types of Governance

Community governance generally falls into two models:

  • Central Governance and Ownership. There are many examples of centrally owned and managed communities. These are generally managed by property owners in the context of a business negotiation and contract. A camp ground, trailer court, or apartment building would be an example. The people who belong to the community may have varying degrees of influence and control, but ultimately the person or entity that owns the property will have the greatest influence.
  • Distributed Governance and Ownership. In a distributed governance system, members of the community have a more democratic ownership and influence. A free marketplace system of distributive capitalism* is almost required for this form of governance to work. In other words, when you own your home and property within a community you’ll have greater influence than if you’re renting.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Each type of governance model has benefits and drawbacks.

  • Central Governance and Ownership. Most of us have enjoyed the positive experience of renting an apartment or home. The obvious benefit of such an arrangement is the convenience found in not having to maintain the property (shoveling snow, mowing grass, repairs, and maintenance). Those wanting the greatest freedom to pickup and move find renting a freeing experience. The drawback is that money spent on housing does not build equity, and if the landlord isn’t thoughtful and efficient, the quality of life may be much less than what you’d create on your own.
  • Distributed Governance and Ownership. When you own your home, and the property it is on (or even if you rent the land),  you have greater control over your environment. In a community setting, like being an equal shareholder of a company, you have equal ownership. Condominium associations are similar to a self-governed entity where the land is equally shared. Other community models could include separate individuals purchasing land together, and then building on it. Or, a similar group of individuals could all purchase adjoining parcels, and then build on those properties. Then shared community facilities could be owned and managed by all, such as green space, recreation area, laundry facilities, large kitchen and event area. If you find yourself continually outnumbered by the majority voting on community issues, you may need to move elsewhere. Simply having a share of a community doesn’t always means you’ll get your way.

Deciding the Right Governance Model for You

Either of the above models would be a good choice, depending on the person. Over time, the same person may find one model more suitable than another as their own needs and interests change. Exploring questions identified by the factors above will help, such as how much control you’d like to have over your own land and property. Also, how willing are you to be socially engaged and somewhat interdependent upon the lives of others. Having a free-standing home on your own property without any responsibility to a condo association, neighborhood association, or other governance group would provide the greatest freedom in that regard.

Global Page Visits

In the past few hours since the above article was posted, we’ve seen a significant global interest. Thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word. Click either map below for a larger view.




* Distributive Capitalism is an economic system where people have relatively equal ownership of property and business and this avoids a minority of people exploiting the majority of people.