Why Have Liberals Abandoned The Defense Of Civil Liberties? (OP-ED)

Liberals have apparently decided to roll over and play dead on civil liberties. No one much cares that they have no privacy rights anymore. The National Security Agency now has total access to our phone and internet records, under rules which the agency refuses to explain, but assures us will keep us ‘safe’ from terrorism. Image credit to lanecrothers.net

Image credit to lanecrothers.net

Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of terrorism:

The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.

Exactly who is it that is using terror to coerce Americans into compliance? Are you more often terrified by the actions of individuals committing violence within the U.S., or are you more often terrified by the threat that individuals–you don’t know exactly who–might commit violence and, therefore, you feel a need for some entity greater than yourself to protect you from that possibility? Note that the definition of terrorism specifically says ‘systematic’ use of terror.

If you’re not concerned yet about the fact that you have virtually no privacy left, maybe you’d like to hear the words of a man who’s a true liberal, Al Gore. In an interview with the Guardian, Gore commented on the NSA surveillance whose full extent was recently revealed:

This in my view violates the constitution. The fourth amendment and the first amendment ? and the fourth amendment language [against unreasonable searches and seizures] is crystal clear. It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is.

The man who has been warning us for years about climate change, has also warned us before about the erosion of our civil liberties. In his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Social Change, he wrote:

Surveillance technologies now available ? including the monitoring of virtually all digital information ? have advanced to the point where much of the essential apparatus of a police state is already in place.

Did that ‘police state’ reference get your attention? If so, you’re probably in a minority. In a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll published last week, 62% of respondents said it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if it intrudes on personal privacy, than it is for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy. Fifty-six percent said it’s okay for the NRA to track Americans’ phone records in order to investigate terrorism. That result holds across all demographics: sex, race, party affiliation, education level, income, region. A majority of all Americans, of all demographics, are perfectly fine with kissing their rights good-bye.

And now that they’ve agreed to do that, how are they going to get them back? The usual defenders of civil liberties have zipped their lips. For the most part, liberals have nothing to say–not the politicians, not the Congressional leaders, not the lawmakers, not the columnists or the commentators. If it’s a Democratic President signing the orders, then giving away rights doesn’t seem to be a problem–until it’s no longer a Democrat sitting in the White House. Then what?

If you’re willing to cede all your records, what comes next??Are you ready for the government to take naked pictures of you and post them on the Internet? Oh, wait, I forgot. The TSA already takes the naked pictures. But we can be assured that nothing is stored, nothing gets abused. Right?

Last week, a handful of senators introduced legislation to try and limit the surveillance powers of the NSA or to make their activities more transparent, but any such legislation will be dead in the water when it reaches the House Of Representatives. Americans just don’t seem to care as long as they have their illusion of safety.

Gore rejects the public’s opinion, or at least the importance of what the polls report because, as he said in the Guardian interview, we don’t do dial groups on the bill of rights.” Right after the Guardian initially broke the story of the surveillance, with the help of whistleblower Edward Snowden, Gore tweeted:

Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?

I don’t know if he’s prepared for the answer, but most Americans think it’s just you, Al.


Edited and published by WP.

I'm a lifelong liberal, a social/political activist, a writer and blogger. I've been through many incarnations, including 20 years as a psychotherapist and 10 years as an astrologer. However, writing and social justice have always been my passions. That's the way I was raised: much thanks, Dad! I look forward to many more transformations as life goes on. For more, please join me on Facebook. or Twitter @thepolitcali_1