Sample LNAT Essay: ‘We must be prepared to sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism.’ Discuss.

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Scroll to the bottom of the page to find a sample LNAT essay on whether we should sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism. 


What is the LNAT essay?

The LNAT essay is a 40-minute written task that assesses your ability to construct a persuasive argument. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your critical thinking, analytical skills, and ability to communicate effectively.

Understand the question

Before you start writing, take the time to carefully read and understand the essay question. Identify the key terms and concepts, and make sure you have a clear understanding of what is being asked. This will help you structure your essay and ensure that you address the question directly.

Plan your essay

Planning is crucial when it comes to writing a successful LNAT essay. Take a few minutes to brainstorm ideas, create an outline, and organise your thoughts. This will help you stay focused and ensure that your essay has a logical flow.

Structure your essay

A well-structured essay is easier to read and understand. Start with an introduction that provides an overview of your argument and sets the tone for the rest of the essay. Then, develop your argument in the body paragraphs, using evidence and examples to support your points. Finally, conclude your essay by summarising your main points and restating your thesis.

Use evidence and examples

When writing your LNAT essay, it is important to support your arguments with evidence and examples. This will make your essay more persuasive and convincing. Use relevant facts, statistics, and real-life examples to back up your claims and strengthen your argument. 

Be concise and clear

In a time-limited task like the LNAT essay, it is important to be concise and clear in your writing. Avoid unnecessary repetition and wordiness. Use clear and straightforward language to convey your ideas effectively. It is much better to write in plain and simple language than convoluted flowery language.

Practice, practice, practice

Like any skill, essay writing requires practice. Take the time to practice writing LNAT essays under timed conditions. This will help you improve your time management skills and help familiarise yourself with the format and requirements of the test.

Seek feedback

After writing practice essays, seek feedback from teachers, tutors, or peers. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.


Example essay: ‘We must be prepared to sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism.’ Discuss.

The delicate balance between individual liberties and national security has been a longstanding debate in democratic societies. The notion that we must be prepared to sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism raises important ethical and practical questions. Some argue that such sacrifices are necessary for the greater good, while others firmly believe in the preservation of civil liberties. One school of thought contends that sacrificing traditional liberties is a justifiable means to the end of defeating terrorism. However, this view is misguided because it neglects the long-term consequences on democracy, the potential for abuse, and the importance of alternative strategies. Therefore, it will instead be argued that upholding traditional liberties is essential, even in the face of terrorism.

Traditional liberties, such as freedom of speech, privacy, and due process, are the pillars of democratic societies. These liberties distinguish democracies from authoritarian regimes and are essential in safeguarding the rights and dignity of individuals. Sacrificing these liberties in the name of security poses a grave risk to the democratic principles we hold dear. One argument asserts that sacrificing traditional liberties is necessary to protect citizens from terrorist threats. The proponents of this view argue that certain measures, such as mass surveillance or detention without trial, are needed to prevent terrorist acts. However, this argument can be refuted. While security is undeniably important, the notion that undermining civil liberties is the only means of achieving it is a false dichotomy. There are alternative strategies, such as intelligence sharing and community engagement, that can effectively counter terrorism without compromising individual freedoms.

Sacrificing traditional liberties may also lead to a slippery slope, where governments may overreach their powers and abuse their authority. History is rife with examples of governments exploiting crises to curtail civil liberties, often targeting marginalised groups. The erosion of liberties can undermine the trust between citizens and their government, leading to a more divided and polarised society. Some argue that in the face of an existential terrorist threat, exceptional measures are warranted. They contend that the protection of society justifies temporary sacrifices of liberties. However, history has shown that these temporary measures can often become permanent fixtures, leading to the gradual erosion of freedoms. A compelling historical example of this phenomenon can be found in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. In response to the immediate threat of terrorism, the US government passed the Patriot Act, which granted broad surveillance and investigative powers to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Act was presented as a necessary and temporary measure to enhance national security. However, as the years have passed, many provisions of the Act have remained in place and additional legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has been enacted, expanding the government's surveillance capabilities. It is imperative to find ways to protect against terrorism without compromising the foundational principles of democracy.

Instead of sacrificing traditional liberties, a more comprehensive approach to defeating terrorism involves intelligence gathering, community policing, and international cooperation. These strategies have been successful in thwarting terrorist plots and maintaining democratic values. Some argue that sacrificing traditional liberties allows for more efficient and decisive action against terrorism. However, this argument is flawed. Efficient counterterrorism measures can be pursued within the boundaries of existing laws, respecting civil liberties and due process.

In conclusion, the idea that we must be prepared to sacrifice traditional liberties to defeat terrorism raises serious ethical and practical concerns. While there may be arguments in favour of such sacrifices for the sake of security, they overlook the long-term consequences on democracy, the potential for abuse, and the importance of alternative strategies. Preserving traditional liberties, even in the face of terrorism, is essential to safeguard the principles of democracy, maintain trust between citizens and their government, and explore effective, ethical approaches to counterterrorism.


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