THE QUEST FOR FEDERAL POWER
July 22, 2005
You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to know that American civil rights are about to be fundamentally altered. This alteration will affect more than our rights, it will affect our future as a country. The USA Patriot Act is about to expire. Congress wants to renew it. The catch? They want to extend the life of this law by ten years.
In my book, Politics & Patriotism: The Fisk Conspiracy, I wrote about the trend that is even now resulting in bigger government. I made the case that this trend has been with us for quite some time. The events of 9/11 have only served to accelerate some aspects of the drive towards greater centralized power. The text of the USA Patriot Act makes this quite clear.
Read the text of this law here.
Read a relevant chapter from my book here.
As a nation we owe it to ourselves, and all future generations, to be protected from foreign and domestic threats. In times of war, certain precautions are necessary to ensure victory. Even so, the "Congressional perspective" on this matter is something that we need to take a closer look at. Ten years is a long time. Half a generation, depending on how you look at it. That's long enough for Congress to get used to the idea of having...and keeping...those expanded powers. It's also just long enough for most Americans to forget what life was life before the lengthy extension of this legislation.
In my own book, I do say that we could still be at war with any number of terrorist groups in 2014. It's a guess, and it makes for a good story. If I'm wrong, I'm just wrong. If Congress gets it wrong, the entire country is in for a very unhappy ending. In purely historical terms, the U.S. Federal government gives back very little of the power it takes or is given due to national emergency. Allowing the Congress to extend the Patriot Act by ten years just might be the same thing as asking our career politicians to keep that authority for all time.
Read more about Congressional intentions:
Throughout history, many politicians have been tempted to look beyond their current war or national crisis. Knowing that the heat of the moment would give them extraordinary leeway, they constructed laws designed to remain in effect well after the conflict had passed. I think we may be at risk of that now. Some Democrats and some Republicans may be looking to the future, hoping that we won't realize the scope of their plans. As good citizens, we need to consider that future for ourselves. Whatever they want for us, we are still (for the moment) in a position to decide the outcome. If Congress does succeed in extending the life of the Patriot Act by ten long years, our future as a nation won't be so certain.
Politics & Patriotism: The Fisk Conspiracy
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