Litmus Test: Will Patriot Act Spying Continue?

With key provisions of the so-called Patriot Act set to expire on June 1, the fight
to preserve the Constitution is heating up — and the battle lines tell us everything
we need to know about the state of the country and the prospects for liberty.

On one side we have a grand alliance of authoritarians of the right and the
left — the Know-Nothing wing of the Republican party and their neoconservative
brain trust, the Obama administration, and present and former government officials
with a
financial interest
in the Surveillance State. All these disparate elements
are united around the alleged necessity of spying on innocent Americans without
a warrant — a practice we once fought a revolution in order to end. Whatever
their ideological differences, the Big Brother faction of the American polity
can get behind the recent statement of Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina),
head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who
gave voice
to the Washington mindset on this and every other issue under
the sun:

“I think it’s clear to say that the program as designed is effective. Members
[of Congress] are reluctant to change things that are effective just because
of public opinion. And we’ve got a program that’s never had one breach of personal
privacy.”

Public opinion? Who cares?

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