Obama and the Patriot Act

1 Comment

Rand Paul campaigning in Kentucky.

Image via Wikipedia

President Obama has signed an extension of the worst surveillance procedures of the Patriot Act. No records of a private citizen are safe from government intrusion. I commend Senator Rand Paul for standing up for liberty. Between Democrats who by nature love the expansion of federal power, and Republican “Red State Fascists” who have no problem with the expansion of law enforcement power, what freedom the United States has left is eroding. We now have a government that can check anyone’s phone records, anyone’s internet records, and invade a person’s private life in a vain attempt to find potential terrorists. Defenders of the Patriot Act claim it would only be used against people suspected of terrorism, but history shows when the government can do harm to the innocent, it will. Sadly, most people will go along with losing their freedom for an ephemeral security that they will never have this side of heaven. The public’s fears of terrorism are constantly used by the federal government to justify expansion of power in a world where a person is more likely to die of a myriad of diseases and accidents, as well as domestic homicide, than by terrorism. The media as a whole, “conservative” or liberal, supports the Patriot Act, and many Americans are stooges of the media. Government schools have failed to teach them critical thinking skills, and the decline of classical rhetoric classes in high school and college/university education keeps the public unaware of the government and media’s manipulative techniques. It is easy to become cynical and believe that the American people are getting the government they deserve. But the vote in the House was closer than the vote in the Senate, and this offers some hope that Rand and Ron Paul and his allies will be able to gain more support when the next renewal of the “Patriot Act” (talk about doublespeak!) comes before Congress. The actions of President Obama do not surprise me–he campaigned against the same provisions of the Patriot Act he now supports. He is a typical politician who says what he needs to say to gain power and then goes back on his promises when the election is over. To their credit, some liberals, such as Nat Hentoff (an honest man and a true civil libertarian), recognize this and have sharply criticized the president. Most of the rest, sadly, follow him like sheep. Maybe the American people will wake up; polls have revealed growing unease with the Patriot Act. The federal government has much more immediate power to harm the American people than terrorists–and Americans should keep that in mind.

“Big Brother” is Back Again

Leave a comment

 

The FBI Seal where the circle of stars represe...

Image via Wikipedia

 

A twenty-year-old Santa Clara student took his car to the mechanic. His mechanic discovered a strange wire hooked to a strange device. The student publicized the device to find out what it was, and the FBI came to his home, demanding its property back. It was a GPS device the government used to track the student. The FBI claimed its suspicions were raised by the student’s ties to the Middle East.

This should alarm both true conservatives (as opposed to “Red State Fascists” and Neoconservatives, who should be alarmed but are too thick-headed to be concerned) and true liberals. To those who defend this abuse of federal law enforcement power, I would say, “Who is next? Right now the government is focusing on Muslims, especially those from the Middle East. But they have also spied on peace activists. Will they spy on pro-life movement members, advocates of gun rights, members of the Tea Party movement? Are you, who support this kind of surveillance, going to be next?”

Although I do not take the Book of Revelation literally like some conservative Protestants, its point about the Mark of the Beast is well-taken. How far are we, really, from that scenario? It is time for liberals concerned about privacy rights to join with conservatives and libertarians concerned about government power over the individual to oppose the government’s spying on its own people. I had hoped that the Obama Administration would reverse the Patriot Act with the help of a supposedly liberal Congress. Instead, Mr. Obama has continued the falsely-called “Patriot Act’s” worst provisions and has demanded even more power for federal law enforcement. The government plays on people’s irrational fears to get them to support enslaving themselves to Big Brother.

Stop being afraid. Write your congressman or senator about this issue; let those in power know that the people, whom they fear the most, will not stand by without opposing the government’s increasing intrusion into their daily lives.