March 20, 2008

THE FOUNDERS DIDN'T FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHT TO CARRY ON BIG SHAMPOO BOTTLES:

Do Americans Care About Big Brother? (MASSIMO CALABRESI, 3/14/08, TIME)

Pity America's poor civil libertarians. In recent weeks, the papers have been full of stories about the warehousing of information on Americans by the National Security Agency, the interception of financial information by the CIA, the stripping of authority from a civilian intelligence oversight board by the White House, and the compilation of suspicious activity reports from banks by the Treasury Department. On Thursday, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine released a report documenting continuing misuse of Patriot Act powers by the FBI. And to judge from the reaction in the country, nobody cares.

A quick tally of the record of civil liberties erosion in the United States since 9/11 suggests that the majority of Americans are ready to trade diminished privacy, and protection from search and seizure, in exchange for the promise of increased protection of their physical security. Polling consistently supports that conclusion, and Congress has largely behaved accordingly, granting increased leeway to law enforcement and the intelligence community to spy and collect data on Americans. Even when the White House, the FBI or the intelligence agencies have acted outside of laws protecting those rights — such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — the public has by and large shrugged and, through their elected representatives, suggested changing the laws to accommodate activities that may be in breach of them.

Civil libertarians are in a state of despair.


The Republic works too well for sane people to fear our government and whatever the "civil liberties" that these folks feel we've lost, it has had too little impact in our every day lives for us to even notice them--with the exception of taking your shoes off at the airport, which is done only for psychological reasons and involves no rights violation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2008 7:40 PM
Comments

We Americans are so ingenious. We invented backless shoes so we aren't inconvenienced at airport security.

Posted by: erp at March 20, 2008 9:20 PM
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