Carol Platt Liebau: Questions for My Liberal Friends

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Questions for My Liberal Friends

My former jurisprudence professor and former solicitor general Charles Fried lays them out in a piece from the Boston Globe.

He also makes a good point that's been lost in all the hyperbolic hubbub about the warrantless surveillance program -- that is, that it's most likely that the initial filtering of international communications is being conducted by computer, rather than by humans.

Implicit in his piece -- and in the entire warrantless surveillance debate -- is this question: Does a society that recoils at virtually all measures designed to deter attacks really expect to remain secure? For that matter, would it even deserve to?

7 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Interesting article. Thanks.

As to your (rhetorical?) question, "Does a society that recoils at virtually all measures designed to deter attacks really expect to remain secure?..."

Well, of course not. Not really. But in the face of massive propaganda from Mass Media Podpeople and their ilk alternating between the new world order "animal farm" approaches of "ostrich with head in sand" ignoring (or "rehabilitating") terrorists and the "chicken little" approach to picayune (non) "invasions of privacy" is it any wonder that Joe Citizen might be a little lacadaisical toward security issues and all a-twitter over supposed privacy issues?

Still, solid poll numbers (for what they are worth) seem to indicate that a very large part of society understands the necessity of the types of surveillance that's already been done, in spite of the shrill blabbering of elements of the NYT/Mass Media Podpeople/Loony Left Moonbat hive mind...

There is hope, I think. Our understanding and presentation of American society needs to be redefined away from the (still, barely) minority views of the MMP Hive Mind. Of course, it may be my Red State (DEEP BLOOOD RED county) residence skewing my perceptions.

But I don't think I'm that far off... yet.

10:36 AM  
Blogger By the Sea said...

How to stump a liberal: In their minds, why are public officials so smart at questions of how to spend our tax dollars, but so stupid when it comes to applying moral judgements?

I've never known a liberal that can come up with a good answer beyond attacking me for asking.

11:53 AM  
Blogger StillLife said...

"Does a society that recoils at virtually all measures designed to deter attacks really expect to remain secure?..."

How secure can we be and still remain free? Depending upon the benevolence of a powerful government isn't, in my mind, particularly secure.

While I may trust the current administration with these extraordinary powers, there have been several administrations in my life time that I would not so trust.

Further, does the granting of these powers amount to a touchdown or only first down and ten yards to go?

When we appraise the damage that terrorists have inflicted(and by implication, can inflict) upon our society, we find that damage to be much closer to that of the bathtub than that of the automobile.

Pursuit of our enemies is a much more acceptable role for our government than the pursuit of our citizens. Personally, I would much rather risk the havoc of a temporary terrorist to that of a permanent tryanny.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Gary Gross said...

It seems that the Agenda Media types from the NYT & elsewhere are misguidingly hanging their collective hats on the FISA law.

Here's how I framed a question in a recent post:

What was the governing principal before FISA was enacted in 1978? Did the President have the power to surveil foreign communications without a warrant before FISA and what authority granted him that power?

The reason I ask that is this: If he didn't have that authority before FISA, then how could he carry out his oath of office? After all, it doesn't suggest that he protect us "from all enemies, foreign or domestic"; it mandates that he do that. If he couldn't get a warrant on these wiretaps, how could he protect us from those who secretly tried to harm our nation?

As I've said, I'm not a constitutional scholar or a lawyer but it seems to me that the Constitution must grant certain powers so the President can carry out the most important parts of the Oath of Office.

It also seems to me that I can't quite wrap my brain around the concept that FDR's Justice Department went into open court to get warrants so they could intercept intelligence information passing from Germany into the U.S. By what power did FDR conduct this surveillance?

12:59 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Gary Gross wrote, "What was the governing principal before FISA was enacted in 1978? Did the President have the power to surveil foreign communications without a warrant before FISA and what authority granted him that power?"

This is not the issue. FISA was not designed to grant new powers of surveillance, FISA was designed to codify the use of those powers. FISA was written and passed by Congress, signed into law by the President, and has been reviewed by the courts.

Over the past four years, President George W. Bush decided he didn't like the law, so he chose to ignore it. He could have asked Congress to modify it, which they had already done as part of the PATRIOT act, but he didn't. Instead he decided that he, as President, had the right to pick and choose which laws he would obey.

The appropriate question to ask is, "Given the President's Constitutional duty to 'take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed', does George W. Bush have the authority to directly violate the law? If so, who granted him such authority and are there any limits to Executive power?"

3:10 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Carol asks, "Does a society that recoils at virtually all measures designed to deter attacks really expect to remain secure?"

Benjamin Franklin wrote, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

3:31 PM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

certainly Benjamin Franklin lived in a slightly different time. I would like to think he would be smart enough to see that it is now only a temporary essential liberty we'll have if we don't have any safety.

12:30 PM  

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