Cover: National Security and Individual Freedom, from Harvard University PressCover: National Security and Individual Freedom in E-DITION

National Security and Individual Freedom

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674421608

Publication Date: 01/01/1955

84 pages


Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

In this brilliant and important book for everyone, a distinguished public servant, lawyer, and administrator states that the “all-pervasive craving for security at any price is threatening the very existence of democracy.” John O’Brian feels that the changes in our attitude towards government and law in the last two decades are endangering our traditional liberties, particularly those guaranteed under the First Amendment.

He shows that restrictions on the beliefs of immigrants are among the first symptoms of vanishing freedom. This argument he follows with an analysis of the Smith Act, the McCarran Internal Security Act, and the government security program. These laws violate the traditional Anglo-Saxon theory of law, for they attempt to prevent anti-social behavior before it occurs, rather than punishing it when it does occur.

However, according to the author, conscience and courage on the part of America’s leaders can re-awaken a public sense of fair play and force a practical revision of our security program. Once the leaders react to this crisis the public may be expected to follow in more sensible attitudes in creating a security program worthy of our traditions. Quoting the late Justice Jackson, Mr. O’Brian concludes: “Freedom to differ is not to be limited to things that do not matter much.”

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Cover: A Theory of Justice: Original Edition, by John Rawls, from Harvard University Press

John Rawls: Speaking in a Shared Political Language

On the occasion of the anniversary of the publication of A Theory of Justice, Andrius Gališanka, author of John Rawls: The Path to a Theory of Justice, reflects on some of Rawls’s ideas on moral and political reasoning