Friday, February 22, 2008

Bush Demands Immunity for Spying Companies

George Bush is insisting that communications companies who partake in the invasion of American citizen's privacy on behalf of the government be immune from lawsuits.

His contention is that if communications firms were held liable for their activities, they would be less willing to help the war on U.S. citizen's privacy. That is probably true, but I can't see how that would be a bad thing. What does Bush have to hide? If his effort to spy on people's phone conversations is just, why is he worried about the people he's working with (the communications companies) being sued over it? (this "why do you care if you don't have anything to hide?" line is used so often to justify invasion of privacy, so I figured it might be nice to reverse it on the people perpetrating such things)

The reasoning goes like so: if citizens have their privacy, there surely will be terrorist attacks. So please check your privacy at the door. The idea is "just give up a little privacy and liberty and you'll be safe" and it is so contrary to what the founding father's of America advocated. But the real place to look for solutions to the terrorist problem is NOT in monitoring phone calls from within the U.S.A., but rather a re-evaluation of foreign policy.

Bush said "The American people understand we need to be listening to the enemy". One then is led to wonder who exactly is the enemy? If it is merely terrorists, then why are these broad changes, such as the "PATRIOT act" affecting average citizens also? And why are there no limitations on these surveillance powers?

Terrorism is a threat. But as it has been often pointed out, local tyranny is always harder to put up with than terrorists. It is easier to deal with foreign terrorists than a government dead set on violating its citizens liberties.

Notice how there is a pattern. Whether it is Bush or Clinton, or whoever else, every time they want to increase the power of the state to spy on and enslave their citizens, they plead good intentions.

I must refer to a couple of quotes that are quite applicable:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

"'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded." -- F.A. Hayek

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master" -- George Washington

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