Saturday, September 04, 2004

How Are Your Civil Liberties Today?

How do you feel about government data-mining efforts? For example, do you think that your library records should be beyond the prying eyes of the FBI? If you do, you have already forgotten 9/11 and its proximate cause: We were unable to find the murderers in our midst because cooperation between the FBI and CIA was thwarted by an artificial line between domestic and international security. Perhaps this well help you remember what happens when we lose track of the murderers in our midst:

Women take the body of their relative killed in a school seizure, in a makeshift morgue in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2004. The bodies were brought to Vladikavkaz for identification. More than 340 people were killed in a southern Russian school that had been seized by militants, a prosecutor said Saturday. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

Where are their civil liberties today?

Now, how do you feel about your reading list? If you think it's more important than catching terrorists before they kill you or your loved ones, you are hopelessly self-indulgent.

The FBI isn't going to haul you off to jail for reading Das Kapital or Joy of Sex. Hell, you won't be hauled off to jail for reading the Quran. The point isn't to censor or question your reading, it's to look for patterns of activity that might point to terrorists.

If you value your privacy so much that your reading list is sacrosanct, you must not have a driver's license, a credit card, or a phone number. You must be paid in cash and pay in cash. You must never fly, because you won't stand for the invasion of privacy that's involved in airport searches and baggage screening.

Now tell me, again, how do you feel about your civil liberties today?