March 26, 2009

Let the Patriot Act Expire!




FBI Urges Renewal of Patriot Act

I've been sick the past few days, and probably will continue to be sick for a few more, but when I saw this headline I could not turn away.

I have never supported the misnamed, Constitution-destroying "USA Patriot Act". To my mind this travesty of justice and the abuses of power it allowed marks the ultimate betrayal of everything a Republican President is expected to protect. If Pres. Obama had moved to repeal this idiocy it would have dampened some of my disappointment in his continued illegal support of an undeserving economic elite. But if he will not repeal, at the very least he can let it die quietly once and for all.

The problem with something as invasive and destructive as the loss of Freedom from Search and Seizure or any other Constitutionally protected right is not that this loss benefits a benevolent government while protecting those who support that government. The problem with even temporarily withdrawing a protected freedom is the ever-present danger that this abridgment will play into the hands of a government that is not benevolent at all. Temporary infringement on any of our inalienable rights makes it that much easier for tyranny to sneak in through the back door, establish itself, and then refuse to restore the protections government is charged with preserving.

Remember, the government does not grant sovereign rights to the people. The primary role of our Constitutional government is to protect those rights the people already possess. This is the key difference between the American Constitutional Republic and any other government ever established or presently existing. In our country, the primary role of government is to protect pre-existing rights, not to grant rights it was never entitled to in the first place. In every other government established or currently existing, the sovereign rights are held by the government and granted to the people and this is reflected in how those governments conduct their daily business.

For example, the reason Britain was able to ban firearms a decade ago was because the government controls all sovereign rights in the land, granting and withdrawing those rights as Parliament or the House of Lords see fit. Or consider Japan, where even though the post-World War 2 Constitution states that "sovereign rights are held by the people", there is no provision for the people to directly exercise those rights because the Prime Minister is chosen by the ruling party and not by the people. The Prime Minister, in turn, is charged with enabling or disabling the sovereign rights of the people in accordance with the needs arising during his tenure.

So, in short, if Pres. Obama is not going to repeal the USA Patriot Act, then the very least he can do is allow it to expire come December.

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