According to Glenn Reynolds: "Liberty Dog is a minarchist libertarian with Objectivist tendencies, but I can't even get my dog to crap outside."

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Patriot Act

Sorry...I've been experiencing technical difficulties with Blogger for the last few days that have made it impossible for me to post. I still don't think they are entirely resolved.

Anyway, the first topic post at The Balance of Power is up. This week's topic is the Patriot Act. Here is my contribution:

"The plea of good intentions is not one that can be allowed to have much weight in passing historical judgment upon a man whose wrong-headedness and distorted way of looking at things produced, or helped to produce, such incalculable evil" -- Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt wrote these words more than 100 years ago, but they could have very well been written about those who wrote, supported, voted and signed into law, the "USA Patriot Act." After all, it is said that hell is paved with good intentions. As an atheist I, of course, don't believe in the biblical hell. My version of hell is a country where the liberty of men is subject to the unrestricted whims of the government. The Constitution was meant to prevent just such a hell, but these days the legislature seems to view the Constitution more as a set of non-binding suggestions rather than the absolute law of the land.

Spawned after the tragedies of 9/11, the Patriot Act was clearly the result of fear and panic at time when strength and rationality was needed. Though partisans would have you believe differently, both major parties are to blame for this gross violation of civil liberties. As John Kerry was fond of pointing out during his failed presidential campaign he "authored most of the money laundering provisions" in the Patriot Act. Title III represents some of the most egregious violations of privacy in the law.

Of course, many of those responsible for this monstrosity read only the parts that they themselves wrote, which is why this is such a good idea. It is no surprise that there was a major backlash once the full details of the Patriot Act came to light. Indeed, the SAFE Act of 2003 came about as a result of the revelation of civil liberties violations made possible by the Patriot Act. Had they done their jobs in the first place, our legislators wouldn't have found it necessary to fix their previous mistakes.

It is time for the American public to wake up to the reality that exists on Capital Hill. Until they do, we are not likely to see the end of bad legislation such as the Patriot Act.

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Copyright © S Michael Moore 2005