Well, Bob, I - and around 70% of the public polled - disagree with you. Some of us feel that it was a smart thing to do. One fact that cannot be disputed is that we were not attacked again after such things were implemented. Does the wiretapping get the credit for that? Beats me. That's a question that can't be answered, since it didn't happen. I would much rather have any inconvenience incurred by it than another 9/11. It damaged our civil liberties? That would not be a first, considering the Japanese interrment camps and the McCarthy trials and too many other instances that could be listed. Do you feel your own personal liberties were damaged? In what way?
You bury me with off the subject questions. The subject is what were the things that happened in addition to the wire taps that we know about following the 2001 imposition of the restriction of civil liberties. You are eating up that space.
I will pick and choose. We have discussed some of these topics before. You should remember my answers from before. Asking again serves only to use up my writing and research time. If I have any new information, I'll try to find some way of fitting it into so appropriate future post.
We don't run governments by popularity poll. The founders loathed the idea, and were extraordinarily distrustful of it. A serious conservative would know that this is an outrageous position for him or her to take, since it is at odds with the basic constitutional principles he believes in. Indeed, the constitution is designed to protect us from this exactly situation. It doesn't matter what percentage of the population feels this way. The feeling needs to last at least two years to have any impact, and four before it begins to make structural impact. This is why the Presidency is not decided by popular vote, though there is pressure to change that now.
The fact that you place your particular slant on our freedom from major terrorist attack on US soil (I am not sure this is true, by the way; I'm simply going with you on this because I don't have research time now) says little. There hasn't been a whole lot of serious attacks in the former Yugoslavia since that time. There have been a number of serious attacks of US allies in that time. The attack on Iraq was an attack on what the administration claimed was a whole series of sinister forces, each having to be eventually acknowledged as either false or an outright lie in turn. You could as easily say that the actual removal of the twin towers (sick as the comparison is) was the agent to kept America free from attack. There is as much evidence to prove cause or correlation. It sounds great to draw that conclusion because it offers us the illusion of control over what happens to us, but the proof of correlation is not there. If it is, show me the math and show me the studies that prove it. It's comforting but probably untrue.
You suggestion that there is a correlation and that you'd be willing to accept the inconvenience is therefore without logical grounding. You are now proud owner of a bridge in Brooklyn, and are trying to sell other people shares of the same great investment. That it would not be the first damage to our civil liberties is not a healthy excuse for accepting another assault. All you are saying is that you've gotten so used to it that it's okay with you by now, and that you expect the rest of the country to live down to that standard. That is not what the ideals of the country are supposed to be about. It is not only not what Liberalism is supposed to be about, it's not what conservatism is supposed to be about either. If it is, when did it start?
Do I feel my own personal liberties were damaged?
I told you about being stopped and closely questioned three times on a single bus trip from Ithaca to Buffalo, and also from Buffalo to Ithaca. I told you about the rank discourtesy some of my companions were exposed to. You didn't find that met your standards. I was somewhat upset to hear that you were imposing your standards for what was good enough to be upset about when you asked me what I felt.
The standard was what I felt.
The point was that this behavior was repeated for everybody on the bus on a domestic bus trip, and it was not polite, it was darn crude and insulting. The point was that this was simply the obvious behavior, the behavior that I knew about. Because the way the law was structured, they didn't have to tell you that they were going through your things and going through your mail or entering your house or checking to see what books you read from your bookstore or your library. You have no idea what information the government is collecting on you and what use they are making of it.
You, Mike, thought that was terrific. As long as the government was Republican, everything was swell. Now that the power has changed at least some of your fellows are starting to wonder what uses are being made of those sweeping powers, and whether there might be a crackdown on right wing politics, talks shows or politicians. This was fine when the shoe was on the other foot; now it's unfair and terrible and possibly as measure of potential tyranny.
I think it was always a potential instrument of tyranny, and it continues to be one today. It's simply easier to see what's been done by looking back at where it all started, and to work our way forward. The folks back then are out of power and can't strike back as hard. Then we need to work our way forward, as far as it goes.
My personal opinion is that the Democrats aren't as much involved as the Republicans, simply because they've been out of power too long to get hooked back in to the machinery. If you want to prove me wrong though, I'm really going to want solid reasoning and as many facts as you've got. Local Rebel has made a very fine case.
Sincerely, Bob Kaven