Monday, December 19, 2005

New Mac Johnson column

Dems Must Believe Bush Made U.S. Safer
In October of 2001, the Patriot Act, giving the federal government increased power to monitor and prosecute suspected terrorists, was passed in the U.S. Senate with only one dissenting vote. Forty-Seven Democrats voted for the bill. They justified their support of the measure, rightfully, by explaining that terrorism posed a grave threat to America and more potent policing would be needed until we could get the long-term problem under control.

If the Patriot act was needed back then but not now, what has changed?

8 comments:

Kaelri said...

Not entirely sure why I still come here... even when your source substance is good, the only thing you ever add to it is a healthy dollop of stupidly rhetorical attacks on Democrats and liberals (who, despite your wishful thinking to the contrary, are not always the same people).

Why did they vote for the Patriot Act four years ago? Because we'd just been attacked, and not even the bloody United States Congress is immune to a kick in the gut from their survival instincts. Apparently a lot of them (regardless of party affiliation) didn't even read the bill, and even if they had, would probably have voted for it anyway because, for some unfathomable reason, even our elected officials seem to think that America's "victory" is more important than the democratic virtues that supposedly justify our being in the fight at all.

Kristopher said...

Do you really want a President Hillary Clinton to have the Patriot Act at her disposal?

Anonymous said...

KAELRI: THIS SURE SOUNDS LIKE YOU.

In the 1970s, Stanley Rothman and Robert Lichter administered Thematic Apperception Tests to a large sample of "new left" radicals (Roots of Radicalism, 1982). They found that activists were characterized by weakened self-esteem, injured narcissism and paranoid tendencies. They were preoccupied with power and attracted to radical ideologies that offered clear and unambiguous answers to their questions. . . .

The unwillingness to offer alternatives reveals a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. If they offered their own policy ideas they would be vulnerable to criticism. They would run the risk that their ideas would fail, or would not seem persuasive to others. This is especially difficult for anti-capitalists after the fall of the Soviet Union. It has also been difficult in the war against terrorism because Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are such unsympathetic figures. Psychologically, it is easier to blame America for not finding a solution than it is to put one's own ideas on the line.

Kaelri said...

How does that sound like me, exactly? I've read it several times but I can't quite see the link. I don't think my points of view are particularly radical, do you? Nor do I lack an idea of my own here: instead of voting for the Patriot Act, vote against it. Very simple, I think.

Daniel said...

Kaelri, I'm glad that you still come here. What I don't understand is if our victory depended on the Patriot Act back then why doesn't it now?

I'm glad that for a time we had a strong survival instict. We seem to have forgotten that we got attacked.

What specifically do you oppose about the Patriot Act? Give me an example of it eroding your civil liberties.

MAX Redline said...

Oh, hey. Rhetorical attacks? That's a bit extreme. I mean, you do the same thing, and what I suspect is that you must admit, it's kind of cool that you can engage in your rhetoric here without anybody trying to shut you down.

Welcome to the Free World, Kaelri.

You make a good point about labels. Not all who choose to affiliate with Democrats are necessarily liberal, anymore than all who choose to affiliate with Republicans are conservative.

To me, labels aren't especially effective. The term, liberal" is pretty much the same as the term, "pornography". I may not be able to conclusively define either label, but I do know the stuff when I encounter it.

And historically, some of the most conservative people have been Democrats - it's really too bad that they don't adhere more closely to their roots.

John Kennedy: strong on defense; willing to face down adversaries. A tax-cutter, knowing that more money comes into federal coffers as a result.

Jimmy Carter: weak on defense and strong on trying to appease. Preferred to increase taxes on "the rich"; adversely impacting the rest of us.

Both Democrats. So your point is well-made. Carter appears to me to be the classic liberal, while Kennedy might have worked well with Ronald Reagan.

I do believe, however, that the Dems are being co-opted and are drifting ever further out of the real world, and I say this purely because I don't see a lot of sense coming from them.

Kaelri said...

"What I don't understand is if our victory depended on the Patriot Act back then why doesn't it now?"

It didn't then. It never did. Our victory is dependent on laws like the Patriot Act not being passed.

"I'm glad that for a time we had a strong survival instict. We seem to have forgotten that we got attacked."

There are those who believe that some of the administration's actions in the past four years have served to further al Qaeda's mission for them.

Please consider this carefully; it's a question that is too often dismissed.

Even if we are truly and tangibly made a safer civilization by the Patriot Act, rendition, torture, NSA spying, whatever... does the fact that it's completely undemocratic and authoritarian mean anything to you? Do we really have the right to defend ourselves from evil even if the means by which we do so bring even greater evil into this world? Who gave us that privilege?

The last thing I am is a blind patriotic flag-waver - our differing opinions on the wars have probably made that clear enough to you - but I believe the ideals immortalized in our constitution are what really have set us apart from the rest of the world for two centuries, and whatever remains of them, that is what we have to protect.

Again, this may simply be a fundamental difference between our two natures, but I would sooner see our nation die today, free, than see it promise my children a life of peaceful, prosperous slavery for the next thousand years.

"In my religion... the whole symbol of the religion ended in crucifixion and condemnation.
That wasn't the measure of the experience. It's just the way it ended."

"What specifically do you oppose about the Patriot Act? Give me an example of it eroding your civil liberties."

It's really worth reading through the whole thing yourself, but sure, I'll grant you what it took me a ten-second Google search to find.

Kaelri said...

"Oh, hey. Rhetorical attacks? That's a bit extreme. I mean, you do the same thing, and what I suspect is that you must admit, it's kind of cool that you can engage in your rhetoric here without anybody trying to shut you down.

Welcome to the Free World, Kaelri."


Thank you. And yes, I'm very impressed by Daniel's admirable tolerance. I would of course appreciate it if you'd provide an example of a rhetorical attack I've made. I'm usually pretty careful about tying my rhetoric inexorably to the substance.