Scott Tibbs
blog post
June 21st, 2005

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Lauck in the IDS

IU College Republicans President Andrew Lauck had two letters in the IDS yesterday, one regarding diversity in the Republican Party and one regarding the "Patriot Act". I am surprised that the IDS printed two letters from the same person on one day.

I do wish Republicans would stop pointing to Abraham Lincoln as an example of a great Republican leader. I also realize that is not going to happen, but I can dream.

Lauck takes issue with Professor Jeffrey Isaac's statement that the "Patriot Act" was rushed through Congress without discussion or debate. While Lauck is right to point out that it passed with a wide bipartisan majority, the timing of the vote is critical. The "Patriot Act" passed shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Very few members of Congress had the courage to raise questions about whether or not an anti-terrorism law gave government too much power in the wake of September 11.

Thomas Sowell asserts that the "Patriot Act" is like the polio vaccine, something that seems unnecessary but has allegedly prevented more terrorist attacks. (I would point out that the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front have continued their activities under the Patriot Act.) The problem with this argument is that we already had anti-terrorism measures on the books.

Do we really need some of the more intrusive elements of the "Patriot Act"? I do not think we do, and neither does a majority of the House of Representatives, which voted 238 to 137 to remove the provision that allows the government to look at library records.

The "Patriot Act" represents an overly intrusive government, and a danger to civil liberties. Congress should repeal the "Patriot Act" and, if some provisions in the law are needed, they can be passed individually. It would do well to remember that those who would give up a fundamental liberty for a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.