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Ben and Liz » Politics
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60 Minutes Is Wrong September 12, 2004

Posted by Ben in : Politics , comments closed

A while back, a liberal acquaintance of mine confessed to me that a feels the media does tend to lean toward the left in their news reporting specifically because they forego the fact-checking process on stories that come their way when the “facts” support their own personal political views. Sometimes, though, this means they deliver news that is absolutely wrong, as many bloggers are pointing out concerning a recent story on 60 Minutes about President Bush’s service record and documents relating to it that 60 Minutes claimed were authentic.

Bloggers have reviewed the documents and evidence themselves and have concluded that they are falsified. Jay Currie has the scoop on this.

Those who can give up liberty don’t deserve it? August 12, 2004

Posted by Ben in : Government, Politics, War On Terror , comments closed

When the USA Patriot Act of 2001 passed in the Senate with only one vote to the opposition and in the House with only sixty-six votes in opposition (contrast that with the 357 ‘yeas’), the sentiment of many Americans, myself included, was that we could willingly (and sometimes gladly) allow our freedoms to be restricted, if for only a short while (through December 2005), in order that the safety of our country be maintained. In fact, we felt it was our patriotic duty to allow the government to restrict our freedoms.

A quote by Benjamin Franklin, however, makes me feel a bit shameful about this attitude. Taken from Poor Richard’s Almanac, the statement reads like this:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

What a slap in the face coming from a well-known revolutionary and proofreader of the Declaration of Independence! Even in the face of war on home soil and tyranny by the King, Franklin felt that any self-imposed restriction of liberty in order to maintain safety was itself tyrannical, and he wanted nothing to do with it. In fact, no revolutionary did: tyranny by any government (or even by its citizens) was exactly what they fought against. Any restriction of liberty (with exception to restrictions that maintain the equal liberties of others) is tyranny. That is the point of the Declaration of Independence.

Can we who willingly have given up our freedoms and liberties in time of war call ourselves patriotic and deserving of the very liberty we have given up?

The Patriot Act of 2001 is a long document, and I don’t pretend to know much of what it says, but the folks over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have an article analyzing the Patriot Act in respect to how it affects activities on the Internet. At the least, it’s an interesting read.