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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Libertarian, like my father was

The following courtesy of Lawrence Wilkinson:

From the Ends-Justify-the-Means Department:

The U.S. government has proposed offering telecom companies retroactive (and prospective) immunity for giving the government personal data on/about/of their users, "notwithstanding any other law." The proposed immunity would cover both the acts that telcos have denied committing, all the way back to September 11, 2001 (a growing body of evidence to the contrary notwithstanding :-), and anything going forward... so, beyond an end to any worries about past transgressions, a telco could simply (continue to ) hand over any data, despite clear contravention of the law, in the knowledge that they are immune from legal consequences...

Commentary and the relevant text from the administration's new appropriations request for intelligence agencies, wherein this beauty lies, are at this LINK.

On a technical level, here's the bit I don't get. Nevermind that BushCo's wiretapping program violates the Constitution. The Bush Administration has repeatedly claimed that it's legal on a statutory level, too.

But, if it's all so legal, why would they have to give the phone companies immunity?

On an emotional and philosophical level: Seething fury. Rage at the soiling of America's long history of aspiring to be the exemplar of government defined by its limits. I always thought that was a big part of what made America great in the mind of Americans.

At what point do you say the line has been crossed and we've gone from free society to police state? That's not a knee-jerk liberal asking, just someone who always thought folks in America liked their freedom.

When the government starts giving immunity to those complicit in institutionalized, warrantless domestic spying, the question of what freedom means getts pretty pointy.

Raised at my father's knee, I've always been a pretty solid libertarian. (Lower-case "l".) That was always his mold. As he's aged, however, he's become a down-the-line Republican. As the Republican party has moved away from its libertarian heritage, I've stuck with the principles. He's stuck with the party. He and I can't talk about politics anymore, because I can't understand why all the libertarian righteousness he raised me with has gone.


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