Liberty, War & Politics
Canadian Liberty: Good News & Some Very Bad News
Jan 28/03: Privacy ruling rejects infrared drug search
Good news. "The Ontario Court of Appeal extended the right of privacy to intrusive technological advances yesterday, acquitting a man whose hydroponic marijuana operation was detected by police flying overhead with infrared equipment." (1)
Jan 29/03: Privacy under 'unprecedented assault' says Canadian Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski
"He's equally adamant that the why-should-I-worry? mentality of law-abiding citizens is an argument "at the intellectual level of a bumper sticker."
"The same reasoning suggests police should be free to wander through everyone's homes, read their mail or listen in on their phone calls at any time.
""We all have something to hide in terms of our interests, our relationships, our attitudes, choices we've made, mistakes we've made, financial circumstances, our personal habits," said Mr. Radwanski.
"Not because they're illegal. Not because they're shameful. [But] simply because they are private."" (2)
Key Points in Privacy Commissioner's Report
"Specifically, I am referring to: the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency’s new “Big Brother” passenger database; the provisions of section 4.82 of Bill C-17; dramatically enhanced state powers to monitor our communications, as set out in the “Lawful Access” consultation paper; a national ID card with biometric identifiers, as advanced by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre; and the Government’s support of precedent-setting video surveillance of public streets by the RCMP." (3)
Canadian Privacy Commissioner's Annual Report to Parliament 2001-2002
George Radwanski makes his case very clearly. He deserves our gratitude for taking this stand. Please read all of Part 1 to get the full picture. Here are some quotations:
"The fundamental human right of privacy in Canada is under assault as never before. Unless the Government of Canada is quickly dissuaded from its present course by Parliamentary action and public insistence, we are on a path that may well lead to the permanent loss not only of privacy rights that we take for granted but also of important elements of freedom as we now know it."
"Now "September 11" is invoked as a kind of magic incantation to stifle debate, disparage critical analysis and persuade us that we live in a suddenly new world where the old rules cannot apply."
..."It is a matter of very considerable dismay that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre, presumably on behalf of the Government, is pressing for a "debate" on establishing a mandatory national identity card, complete with biometric identifiers, for all Canadians."
..."If the U.S. government is indeed exerting pressure on Canada to take steps that cannot be justified on their merits in accordance with our Canadian values and rights, then Canadians are entitled to expect that the Government will remain steadfast in meeting its responsibilities rather than trample on their rights out of fear of U.S. retaliation."
..."But if we apply the premises of war to the challenges of dealing with terrorism, we will by definition be committing ourselves to a "war" with no possible end -- because there is no single, definable enemy."
..."This means that there can never be a moment when it will be possible to declare a definitive victory in a "war" against terrorism. In fact, such a "war" will be eerily reminiscent of Orwell's 1984, which takes place against the background of a mysterious chronic war in which it is never clear just who the enemy is or who is winning or losing."
..."We need to recognize, therefore, that any intrusions or limitations on the fundamental human right of privacy that are imposed as a purported wartime measure against terrorism will likely never be rescinded."
..."The 18th Century political philosopher Edmund Burke understood this danger when he wrote, "The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts." " (3)
Libertarian Criticism of Russell Kirk's Conservatism
The Conservatives’ War on Ideas
by Karen De Coster
Conservative Russell Kirk distrusted ideology. "In essence, Kirk’s views are an advocacy of retaining the current order in spite of its inherent corruptness." (4)
Explaining Kirk by Clyde Wilson
A defense of Russell Kirk. "Kirk's main message, I believe, was not so much to condemn ideology as it was to preach a return to the "moral imagination." The old way of looking at the world as a spiritual struggle rather than as an abstract utilitarian proposition that was to be understood and managed by a Plan." (5)
Stop the War
Loose Lips by Joe Sobran
"In wartime the Enemy is inflated to satanic proportions. He is everywhere, he is an evil genius, he has limitless goals, he seeks world conquest, he wants to extinguish our freedoms (and everyone else’s). And of course he is quite capable of achieving all this. It must be flattering to have such preternatural powers ascribed to you. "
Mentions Gangs of New York and director Martin Scorsese’s denunciation of the plan to attack Iraq.(6)
Is George W. Bush an imperialist? by Pat Buchanan
"Though Iraq does not threaten us, has not attacked us, cannot defeat us, and does not want war with us, the United States is about to invade and occupy that country." (7)
Newspaper Editorials Turn Against War
"To the south, in a far-more conservative area, The Orange County Register proclaimed in a strikingly blunt Jan. 19 editorial that the United States "seems to be looking for a pretext for war."" (8)
Nat Hentoff: When Will Press Report on CIA's Torture?
"Following up the Post story, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, which reports on human-rights abuses in some 70 countries, wrote a letter to George W. Bush -- with copies going to Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld -- reminding the president that "U.S. officials who take part in torture, authorize it, or even close their eyes to it, can be prosecuted by courts anywhere in the world"..."(9)