COMPARING CITIZEN ATTITUDES TOWARDS SECURITY AND LIBERTY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND SLOVAKIA
One of the key problems of our time is how much security we want, what price we are willing to pay to feel safe and whether safety leads to satisfaction. Security has a financial and political cost. The article focuses on the relationship between security and privacy from the point of view of a citizen. It examines Czech and Slovak citizen attitudes toward the use of strong prevention security measures in a situation where the government suspects a terrorist attack or security threats in general. We focus on the Czech Republic and Slovakia, two countries that do not have much experience with a severe threat to security, so security is more about pre-emptive measures and general consideration. Data from the two latest ISSP Role of Government modules (IV. and V.) are employed to analyse the degree to which citizens in both countries accept security measures and what are the determinants of their acceptance. We find that a mixture of the low level of trust and a high level of perceived corruption foster sceptical attitudes towards the use of strong security measures. Citizens are less willing to have their personal freedom limited if they do not trust their government. Populists and radical right harness mistrust and fear of immigration to strengthen their issue-ownership on law and order, promising more security but often seeking to limit the freedoms and individual liberties. In this context, the search for the balance between security and liberty has a new urgency and should receive more comparative attention in the future.
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