Random musings and activities of a 30 something mom, potential sprint triathlete, vegetarian, dog and cat owner, and a evolving urban homesteader just trying to do the right thing in life for my daughter and the world around us. If the blog seems random, it's because life is and hits us all at 100mph.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006

PostHeaderIcon Slippery Slope and the Patriot Act

originally posted on myspace.com on May 17, 2006

The slippery slope is an argument for the likelihood of one event given another. Invoking the "slippery slope" means arguing that one action will initiate a chain of events that will lead to a (generally undesirable) event later.

There are a lot of slippery slope arguments that I always find interesting, because it forces me sometimes to draw a line in the sand and say "I believe this" but "I do not believe in this". For example, a common one is about gay marriage.... if we allow gay marriage then next we'll have to allow polygamous marriage (which I don't believe).

A slippery slope argument that is on my mind today is that a small decrease in liberty will grow larger over time. Once we allow small liberties to be taken away, then it'll be easier in the future for more to be taken away. This is one slippery slope argument I can support.

Daily in the news we hear about our phone records being gathered, easedropping without warrants, and even our library records. After the Patriot Act was passed, a book club I belong to will not keep your previous orders (supposedly) on record more than 90 days. Simply because if compelled, they would have to release those records. If they don't have them, there is nothing to give to the government.

This is not the first time in our history where liberties that have taken decades to build up have been taken away from citizens. Hindsight makes the shameful internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the FBI's ruthless prosecution of civil rights leaders in the 1960s and 1970s universally condemned. We must be mindful of those lessons today.

George Orwell was right after all. In 1984 (one of my favorite books), Orwell wrote his book as a cautionary tale to underscore the insidious danger of slowly eroded individual liberties. His Thought Police may not yet be on the march, but it's not hyperbole to point out the eerie parallels with today's America. In America today, Big Brother is watching.

Ben Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." I'll admit, after 9-11, I was more ok with the Patriot Act than I am now. I had reservations, but believed in the "greater good." I was alone in Minneapolis in my apartment, pregnant, and wondering why can't the government protect us. How far my opinion has changed since then and I question more. The so-called "Patriot Act" scares me, as does the wiretapping and eavesdropping stories we're hearing about lately. I fear that like the Galactic Senate in Star Wars (Revenge of the Sith), we're letting liberty die... to thunderous applause.

I am reminded of a news story within the last year of a pizza parlor in Israel. They were having a grand reopening on the 1 year anniversary of a bombing that killed about a dozen patrons, including school age children. Some of the patrons that were injured and witnesses the day of the bombing were present at the reopening event. In the interviews with each of them the overwhelming theme was that they were there to show the terrorists that the survivors were not scared and the terrorists did not win.

Mark Twain said once, "that courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear". If we are to be courageous and stand up to threats again us and our country, then we can not allow our fears erode our freedom. THAT is how we fight terrorism.

(oh, and obviously spell check was not used, but hopefully you get the point....)


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Quotes as I come across them......

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it last forever.” ~~~Lance Armstrong

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond." ~~~Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.~~~Denis Watley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. ~~~Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)


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