Wednesday, June 22, 2005

If you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in

Rep. Bob "Freedom Fries" Ney and I don't agree on a lot of things. Even past our political differences, it looks like he's got some ethical issues coming from some inappropriate lobbyist donations.

But he stood up to the overreach of the "Patriot" Act, and for that, I'll thank him publicly. On behalf of all of us who thought conservativism means less Big Government snooping into our private lives, thanks, Bob.

And as far as this "libraries are havens for terrorists" crap goes, let's remember that the FBI has already proven that they won't manage this power appropriately. The days of Hoover and COINTELPRO are not all that far gone. (Remember, Lemming, there were two sides to the '60s.)

This is another issue on which the library community probably blackened our own eye. We didn't really explain our whole position very well. Librarians have a core value that we protect the personal privacy of every one of our constituents. We start with the assumption that their interests are legitimate, and none of anyone else's business. Now, if you've got a specific suspect, and a specific reason to get at the records of what they're reading, get a warranty, and most librarians will cooperate. (I'm not crazy about your warrant coming from a secret court, or imposing a gag order on the library, both of which are parts of the "Patriot" Act, but those are separate issues.)

Unfortunately, we know that Big Government just can't stop there. They fall into a standard logical fallacy. If every terrorist reads the same biography of Osama bin Laden, then anyone who reads that book must be a terrorist.

Guys, this is basic bad math. They teach people that this is false in 6th grade. (Or earlier. Or they ought to.)

Of course, we don't let 6th graders run domestic intelligence services. And I guess we have to write laws to control people whose 6th grade teachers let them down. Even when they run the FBI.


Blogger lemming said...

More than two sides to the 1960s, I would argue, but it's the radical activist love everyone element that the present administration seems to think it can stamp out.

The interest in Monica Lewinsky's book purchase records certainl kept us all much safer. I'm grateful to B & N fo rnot releasing said information. Even big box bookstores occasionally do us proud.

I can only imagie what the Patriot Act folks wold think of my interest in swimming chickens.

8:39 PM, June 22, 2005  
Blogger Joe said...

Quite so, many more than two sides. It's hard to argue, for example, that the Panthers or the Weathermen accepted a "love everyone" philosophy, and they were certainly targets of administrations trying to stamp them out. (Given that I don't see anybody left holding their banner, the administrations might have even been successful.)

Which has a lot to do with why I'm beginning to reverse my opinion on the Second Amendment...

9:57 AM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

As I am sure you are aware, my summer reading project consists of checking out books from the public library and reading them -- books that were listed as "the most dangerous books published in the 19th and 20th centuries". I wonder how long it will be until the government subpoenas the library's records and arrests me for being a terrorist? I claimed I was reading this stuff because, as an American, it is my duty to do so, but the added bonus is that I might also be provided with free room and board (and books) for the rest of my life when my rights to privacy are sufficiently eroded away. I will be so happy when that happens because I am SO SICK of looking for a real job that pays a living wage!


(okay, that last sentence is a lie, but if i lie often enough AND with a smile on my face, do you think that I too, can get a job in big government??)

5:10 PM, July 19, 2005  

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