You are on page 1of 7


Zachary Currie Campbell English 1102 September 26, 2013 The Patriot Act: Liberty Lost Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until they have rebelled they cannot become conscious (George Orwell 1984). Have you ever had the feeling that you were being watched; have you had concern that somebody might be reading your personal mail or files. Do you ever envision a society out of 1984 or Minority Report; were everywhere you go there is a retina scan or an Identification check point. We could be looking towards an age of surveillance and pre arrest. It has been twelve years since a very serious event of terror struck the United States. After less than a month of fear, anger, and a lust for retaliation, Congress impatiently passed the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is a two hundred and seventy seven page set of laws that is used to combat terrorism. There are some people that stand differently on the controversial issues that this act allows. Although there are some people that actually participate in this matter, I think the average American citizen is more occupied with the latest football game or a celebrity meltdown. We are so blinded by materialistic things that they wouldnt realize the second coming let alone the actions of a security act. The average American should at least realize the Patriot Act and take a side.

The background history


I was merely seven years old when I first heard that somebody ran airplanes into buildings. I was very young and oblivious to what most people were feeling during this dark time period. As I grew older I learned more about what happened and more about those who were responsible. Of course most people know this day as 9-11 and feelings on both sides were shared. What is known of this event is that a group called Al-Qaida a radical Islamist group ran a number of airplanes into the world trade center and the pentagon. Around three thousand American citizens lost their lives in this tragic event in current history. At the current point in history many people were afraid and wanted those accountable in trouble. This is when the war on terror began. Events like this in history lead to violent wars and overbearing leaders, and history tends to repeat itself. When a nation is in the threat of invasion it is up to a leader to make the public feel better and give comforting words to bring a nation together. A video I found sponsored by CNN which shows the president at the time George W. Bush attempting to boost the morale of the American people. He talks about how America is coming together and how we shall prevail. He also talks about how our way of life and our way of freedom was under an attack. He also uses patriotic terms such as freedom, liberty, and way of life to incite people to bring justice. In another video I found on YouTube, I obtained an address where the same comforting president was declaring a war on terror. In this video he uses illustrations and analogies to describe the terrorist, their motives, and used one analogy to describe their act of terrorism to the crimes of the mob. Because most people are afraid of what was going on, many people sided along with him without really putting too much thought into the concept of a war on terror. We will get to that later, but it is important to use analysis and evaluation of the way president Bush used his words to convince the terror stricken people of America to help take action against those


who were threatening our way of freedom. After this speech American soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan to get square with Al-Qaida. As his speech moved along, Bush starts to talk about the countries Al-Qaida recruits from and says some things to make them sound primitive and backwards. I am only making an analysis that is in the hindsight of twelve years and no longer stricken with the grief, anger, and terror that I was like other people back then. Introduction of patriot Act As the war on terror continued on an act was passed on October 26, 2001 two thousand one which was a security act to counter terrorism. I recovered a video of bush signing this video from the ABC channel website. After evaluating the first minute I saw that Bush refers to the terrorist as unreasonable and uses barbaric statements to describe them. Bush also brings up an anthrax attack possibly related to Al-Qaida and uses his statements to incite fear and anger into the public. About another minute into the video, Bush complements the police and other government workers which I noticed from the last two videos I watched. He brings up that our older laws are no longer qualified to handle these new types of modern terrorist. It appears that Bush is using terrorism and national security to justify these laws. He also uses a repetition of the word terrorist a lot, so it is necessary to analyze these things. He never clearly defines what a terrorist is; which does make me a little nervous on the possible abuse of power. He also makes claims about pursuing terrorist and this is what justifies the Legislation he was about to sign. George W. Bush as claimed as he signed this bill It is now my honor to sign the new Patriot Act of 2001 (Bush). I see this as the famous words of a new American era of counter terrorism. Claims of those who are for the Patriot Act


There are some Americans who are for the Patriot Act. The obvious choice of the Acceptors would be our great department of justice. I have always wondered why a government department would support legislation that would give their department more clout, but they do make some pretty good claims to consider and analyze. I went on their website and found a page which gave a defense for the Patriot Act. I would see the Department of Justice as a credible source for the argument pro Patriot Act because they utilize and deal with it on a daily basis in their positions. They made four significant claims backed by evidence that would be reasonable excuses to keep and maintain this legislature. The first claim is that It allows investigators to use tools already available to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking (par. 1). It seems the point they are trying to make here is that they are so limited on what they could do that they could not use the tools that would allow them to bug criminals and drug lords. This does make an appeal to many people who do not like the consequences of organized crime and the movement of contraband, but could there be a solution that could be more affordable and does not violate rights of those who follow the law. The second claim is that The Patriot Act facilitates information sharing and cooperation between government agencies so that they may better connect the dots (Par. 6). This is actually a really good claim because it is necessary that certain agencies in government cooperate because if they dont well then it will take forever to catch criminals. I do not have a particular problem with this claim, but there are two hundred and seventy seven pages full of twistable legislature. The third claim is that The Patriot Act updated the law to reflect new technology and new threats (par. 8). I truly believe that there is a necessity to keep up with the times, but it appears that this claim is a bit too loosely spoken, this claim allows law enforcement to obtain a


search warrant anywhere a terrorist activity has occurred (par. 9). This point is way too loose because of a lack of what a terrorist activity is defined as. Originally a judge was the only person eligible to issue warrants but allowing law enforcement to print their own warrants without the permission of a judge would make it easier for crooked politicians and bureaucrats to search and seize things of the opposing party and violate their privacy. The fourth claim is that The Patriot Act increased the penalties for those who commit terrorist crimes (par. 11). Like the third claim above, this idea is to loose in the idea that what is the definition of a terrorist crime. It seems the department wants you to think of a terrorist is a crazy guy out in the Middle East, but is that the right definition. Could someone also be considered a terrorist by association, religious views, philosophical beliefs, political parties, and any other non-conformity? This could end up like the communist witch trials held by McCarthy in the 1950s. The Usual Skeptic If there is any person more credible in this situation as a skeptical view of the Patriot Act It would be Ron Paul. The reason why he is credible is because he was a Congressman for many years including the period of 9/11 and the signing of the Patriot Act. He has been very passionate about his views and has a website where he analyzes the Patriot Act, and shares why he cannot approve of it. In his 2005 brief article Reconsidering the Patriot Act he says the Patriot Act waters down the fourth amendment by federal governments ability to use wiretaps without judicial oversight (par. 3). He makes a valid point here because the fourth amendment does stand against the unlawful search and seizers. Pauls main point here is that there should be a change on the Patriot act because of its violation of specific amendments and I agree with him on


this matter. He is also a libertarian which means that he will be a critic to an expanding government; as he claims in his article politicians and bureaucrats will always seek to expand their power (par. 4). This shows that Ron Paul is on the lookout for a government attempt to expand power. Some people might say that Ron Paul is crazy or biased, but I dont see where they are going with this. He appears credible and is the best skeptic of the Patriot Act. Personal analysis / conclusion Although the Patriot Act is very helpful to law enforcement agencies and counter terror, I cannot condone something that violates the any of the first ten amendments or any other American civil liberties. There is no clear cut definition of a terrorist, so that means years later criticizing the government could lead to arrest without trial. I believe that security should never surpass liberty. There could one day be a nation that has cameras on every corner and anti-terror curfews; everything is seen by the government and there is one party that all must partake. Let this not be the United States of America. Our liberty is only as good as we maintain and practice it.


Work cited "1984 Quotes." By George Orwell. Goodreads Inc, 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2013. "CNN - Ex-President George W. Bush's Post 9/11 Speech - YouTube." YouTube. CNN, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. "Life and Liberty Archive." Welcome to the United States Department of Justice. Department of Justice, n.d. Web. 17 Paul, Ron. "Reconsidering the Patriot Act | Ron Paul .com." Ron Paul .com. N.p., 2 May 2005. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. "Sept. 20, 2001 - Bush Declares War on Terror - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., 20 Sept. 2001. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. "What Is the USA Patriot Web." What Is the USA Patriot Web. Department of Justice, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.