Worriers of the World, United in Fear

On boingboing Thursday, Cory Doctorow reported that the worriers joined together to tie the hands of those who try to protect the freedoms they cherish so much.

An extremely diverse group of online activists ranging from the ACLU to Ron Paul supporters have come together to create The Strange Bedfellows, a campaign dedicated to preventing Congress from offering immunity to the telephone companies that participated in the President’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

Who is in this “extremely diverse group,” you ask? You can check the link for the list, but in addition to the ACLU (proud to defend the civil liberties of people who would kill ordinary citizens), the coalition includes “activists from the Ron Paul campaign …, civil liberties writer Glenn Greenwald of Salon, and leading liberal bloggers.”

Yet this group of libertarians (whom I think of as anarchists without the commitment) and liberal bloggers claims that they are

mobilizing a broad-based left-right coalition of office holders and candidates, public interest groups and individuals who are devoted to preserving basic constitutional liberties …. The goal is to work together to impede the corrupt FISA/telecom amnesty deal.

What a crock. The goal is to impede national security. I find it interesting that the far left treat our military and intelligence preparedness as if it were a paranoid delusion — as if the threat weren’t real — and then succumb to the paranoid delusion that their own government is out to get them. If you believe that, I hate to break it to you: few of us are important enough to need to worry about wiretaps and communications intercepts. And as for the high-minded and righteous protection of all manner of rights and liberties: I bet all the people in the rubble of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and that field in Pennsylvania felt very proud that at least their civil liberties hadn’t been violated. But isn’t life itself a civil liberty?

I’m not afraid of wiretaps, warranted or unwarranted, because I’m not plotting to commit criminal acts. Back in February, in a response to a comment on this blog, I wondered if the civil libertarian doomsayers “type on their keyboards in the dark of night, with the shades drawn, and jump at every sound in case it’s the dark-suited men come to collect them.” On that score, I found a line from Friday’s WSJ amusing: “… those who think that letting our spooks read al Qaeda’s email inevitably means that Dick Cheney is bugging your bedroom.”

And now, thankfully, the House agreed to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for six years, including eavesdropping on terrorist communications overseas and immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperate with intelligence operatives. Hopefully the Senate will follow suit. Even though this isn’t the perfect solution, it allows the Intelligence Community to do what it’s charged to do.

I feel safer already. I can’t help you if you’re one of the worriers.

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