It's best to not pick an example your opponents like
Posted by aogThursday, 02 June 2005 at 16:27 TrackBack Ping URL

It’s definitely “mock NPR day”. Another story this morning was about the horrors of the Patriot Act.

The story, as far as I could gather, is that

  • Someone notices an apparently inflammatory passage hand written in a library book.
  • That someone notifies the FBI.
  • The FBI asks the library for records on who checked out the book.
  • The library board decides to fight the request.
  • A library staffer uses an internet search to discover that the passage is a quote from a Bin Laden speech.
  • Presented with this and resistance from the library, the FBI backs off.

I won’t go in to why the FBI wasn’t bright enough to use an internet search engine, but what was amazing was the hysterical reaction of the library staff. One of them referred to this as “a life changing event”. And I thought my life was uninteresting. The discussion of the board deciding to resist was played like they were setting up barricades in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943.

And this is the worst abuse of the Patriot Act that they could find? It’s another example of scraping the bottom of the barrel to reveal just how empty that barrel is. I object to the Patriot Act as not being worth cost in civil liberties not because I find the cost high but because I find the benefits miniscule, if not actually negative. I am, however, embarrassed to have people like this as my rhetorical allies. It’s almost enough to make me reconsider my position.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
AbbaGav Monday, 06 June 2005 at 03:15

Very nice. More thought than rhetoric and pretty convincing too. I’m inclined to think that at least this library part of the Patriot Act is about as important as confiscating the nail clippers at the airport: an understandable knee-jerk, bureaucratic response in the immediate aftermath of great trauma, but it might be time to move on and fine tune our efforts. Great blog.

Tracked from Low Earth Orbit: I can't wait for the "everybody does it" defense on 24 May 2006 at 15:42

After years of quietly acceding to the Bush administration’s assertions of executive power, the Republican-led Congress hit a limit this...

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