< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://davejustus.com/" >

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Issues, Part 5: Patriot Act

Part 5 of my discussion of issues in this election, based on comments made by Nicolas Farly on Farleyman's Blog (Part 1,Part 2,Part 3, Part 4) Nic said:

5. I feel the Patriot Act needs to be revamped. While I see this need for this legislation, I feel it can be rewritten to keep certain civil liberties that are being abused!
I admit to being concerned when the Partiot Act was first past because of the speed at which it was done. I think that maintaining our civils liberties is of great importance, although I do think that the balance of security vs. liberty must take into account what the threats are. Nic didn't mention any specific portions of the Patriot Act that he disagrees with or give any examples of what he feels is being abused. I find that to be fairly common amoung those who oppose the Patriot Act. Here is an ACLU page on the Patriot Act and the problems that organization has with it. It is a pretty good description of some of the potential problems with the Patriot Act, although I do not agree with everything they say. Here is a page that defends that Patriot Act. Google can quickly find more arguements on both sides of this issue. To a great degree I think that the core of this debate is a result of technological changes. In a globally connected world some norms established in the past are no longer valid while at the same time technology has made potential invasions of privacy easier to do. In the past, purchasing something was basically done in public, in full view of everyone. Now, a purchase can take place in the privacy of one's home. At the same time, it was difficult in the past to keep records of all purchases that everyone made while now it is a reletively trivial exercise. Acknowledging these realities is probably a good first step in debating what powers the government should have in conducting surveilance on its citizens (and others). I find that for the most part, both sides in this debate only acknowledge the changes that benefit their side of the debate which leads them to making falacious arguements or into battling straw-men. I don't claim to have all of the answers here. I have kept my eye out for Patriot Act abuses and have not seen anything that really bothers me as of yet. On the whole, I think that the Patriot Act is a good law and takes needed steps to combat terrorism but I am open to arguements that certain portions need to be changed or that greater oversite needs to exist in certain areas. Of course it is worth noting that John Kerry as a Senator has technically more power to change this law than John Kerry would as President. While the President is considered the leader of their party, and Presidents have quite a bit of influence their constitutional power as dealing with passing new legislation or ammending existing legislation is limited to their power of veto. We all know what Bush has said and done in regards to the Patriot Act. Has John Kerry, as a Senator, acted on what he has said?


Post a Comment

<< Home