Sunday, September 26, 2010
The Threat to Our Civil Liberties
This is a severely abridged sampling of the manifold ways our civil liberties are under attack. The War on Drugs and The War on Terrorism are the biggest culprits. Unfortunately, the Republican Party — the one that is always fretting about lost liberty — generally lends law enforcement and anti-terrorism efforts their blind support, and appoints too many judges who do the same. As you can see in the quote that begins this piece, it’s thought-leaders go so far as to assert that these issues are less worrisome attacks on liberty than President Obama’s domestic agenda.Here an article on the state of our property rights according to the World Economic Forum.
Americans are on an assassination list already. Innocents are imprisoned today. SWAT teams took out countless doors in no-knock raids this week. The last two presidents have asserted authority unprecedented in American history… and even when they break the law it goes unpunished.
Neither President Obama nor his conservative critics satisfy me on civil liberties.
Take property rights. They're at the essence of US capitalism. Last year, according to the WEF's survey of executives, the US was the 30th best country. This year we've fallen to 40th.As Conor Friedorsdorf states, this is a bi-partisan problem. One issue I agreed with most liberals with was the Patriot Act. Taking away our rights and freedom isn't how you protect our rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, too many liberals are not being quiet now that one of their's is in the White House. It show's their lack of commitment to real values and principles (which is just as true for many conservatives).
Part of the problem is politics: no candidate wants to the be "soft on crime" or "fails to address terrorism," which means those areas get blank checks and little oversight. Which is asking for disaster on many levels.
And for what it is worth, there are a whole lot of folks, both liberal and conservative, who have criticized both administrations quite robustly for this behavior. (Bob Barr and Radley Balko have been probably the most consistent national voices on this, and one reason a lot of folks on the left are staying home in November is directly attributable to this issue.)
But one thing not to forget is how much of it is truly local in nature. Property rights are mostly enforced by permit rules and local agencies. Most invasive police work is executed by local criminal justice organizations.
Change them, and the national government will follow. The scariest part about the focus on Washington (our national telenovela) is that the local governments are getting away with so much in the areas of limiting civil liberties.
We've had a couple of cases recently in the Cincinnati area involving local law enforcement. Seems like too many of them think they're tough guys on TV shows at best.
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