Losing Our Freedoms on the Road from 9/11 to COVID-19

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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13 September 2020 15:27
 

Summary: Since before 9/11, but accelerating rapidly since then, our government has been gutting the Bill of Rights. I largely agree with this article. My main quibble is that I don’t really believe in a conspiracy like “the deep state”. Instead I believe that like minded and similarly lawyered oligarchs have - working individually - driven this gutting of our civil liberties:

losing our liberties

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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14 September 2020 07:28
 

After 9/11 I grant you.

But the pandemic din’t cost any additional liberties: the rights of the State to combat an pandemic are way older than 9/11, and they are there for a good reason.
And they are limited to the actual crisis.

The US could have benefited greatly from making full use of the laws instead of letting every Community decide for themselves.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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14 September 2020 08:39
 

The TSA is only 5% effective in preventing prohibited goods from getting onto planes.

3-ply cotton masks are somewhere in the 50-80% effective range.

I don’t think the pandemic and 9/11 responses are really comparable.

edit: A lot of the complaints about post-9/11 security/law enforcement changes brought things into the sphere of experience for white Americans.  On the flip side, black Americans have been dealing with a militarized police that often ignore their rights since the 80’s.  I find the framing of these issues as only starting to happen in the last 20 years to either be missing a large swathe of the truth, or to be accepting their usage against black Americans as justified.  Not accusing the author of anything, but rather pointing this out as something to be aware of.  The War on Drugs and mass incarceration started before 9/11.

[ Edited: 14 September 2020 08:47 by weird buffalo]
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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14 September 2020 08:47
 

Okay, I’ll amend the OP - after a lot of thought, I think I can think of mandatory masks the same way I think of seatbelt laws and driving laws. Basically, if a person chooses to be “in the commons”, then they must follow the rules of the commons. So I can agree to disagree with the author when it comes to masks wink

But the rest of it?..

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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14 September 2020 09:43
 

What is liberty though ? For most of human history we were free of state imposed restraints, but was that freedom?  For myself I like the freedoms of driving, flying, municipal water, recourse to emergency services and so forth. I think the project of liberty isn’t about casting off state shackles. Instead it’s about trying negotiate democratically toward the best balance of cooperation. In terms of constitutional civil liberties I feel like we’ve never really had them. They are an attractive theory that we dance around. A little closer. A little further. The public doesn’t really seem unified in this project. I don’t think we have a deep state big brother so much as a corporatist little brother that sells us the means of our own enslavement to our own delight. I think that we could probably have this mythical liberty the moment we decided that we really wanted it.

[ Edited: 14 September 2020 09:48 by Brick Bungalow]
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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14 September 2020 09:48
 
Brick Bungalow - 14 September 2020 09:43 AM

What is liberty though ? For most of human history we were free of state imposed restraints, but was that freedom?  For myself I like the freedoms of driving, flying, municipal water, recourse to emergency services and so forth. I think the project of liberty isn’t about casting off state shackles. Instead it’s about trying negotiate democratically toward the best balance of cooperation.

Sure, I think we’re all agreed that we prefer some degree of socialism, as you’ve suggested here.

But I think Ben Franklin’s old saw about safety vs freedom is really apt these days, don’t you?

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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14 September 2020 09:49
 
icehorse - 14 September 2020 09:48 AM
Brick Bungalow - 14 September 2020 09:43 AM

What is liberty though ? For most of human history we were free of state imposed restraints, but was that freedom?  For myself I like the freedoms of driving, flying, municipal water, recourse to emergency services and so forth. I think the project of liberty isn’t about casting off state shackles. Instead it’s about trying negotiate democratically toward the best balance of cooperation.

Sure, I think we’re all agreed that we prefer some degree of socialism, as you’ve suggested here.

But I think Ben Franklin’s old saw about safety vs freedom is really apt these days, don’t you?

.  Yes. See edits

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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14 September 2020 10:00
 

brick’s additions:

They are an attractive theory that we dance around. A little closer. A little further. The public doesn’t really seem unified in this project. I don’t think we have a deep state big brother so much as a corporatist little brother that sells us the means of our own enslavement to our own delight. I think that we could probably have this mythical liberty the moment we decided that we really wanted it.

We’re largely agreed, but I’d spin it differently: Civil liberties aren’t a binary thing, we have them to varying degrees over time. For example, we have a judicial system that’s been clarifying and redefining the borders of our liberties since we cranked this experiment up.

Agreed on it not being a deep state, but instead corporations / oligarchs / plutocrats (pick your term).

And YES !!!  The public needs to wake up and smell the encroachments. Sadly, the oligarchs have done a fine job of weakening our education system so that now we have a largely anti-intellectual population to try to wake up, argh.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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14 September 2020 10:33
 
icehorse - 14 September 2020 08:47 AM

Okay, I’ll amend the OP - after a lot of thought, I think I can think of mandatory masks the same way I think of seatbelt laws and driving laws. Basically, if a person chooses to be “in the commons”, then they must follow the rules of the commons. So I can agree to disagree with the author when it comes to masks wink

But the rest of it?..

Aspects of it are right.  I think some of his first amendment examples aren’t very good ones.  We have a right to whatever religious beliefs we choose, but we do not necessarily have a right to any religious actions.  Feeding the homeless is good, but doing so in a way that is a superspreader event is bad.  I would love to see a dramatic shift in this country that religious “charities” are not given a fairly automatic pass, but rather have to justify their means and methods just like everyone else.

I do agree that based on how our economy is structured and many of the court rulings over the past couple of decades that there is no right to privacy in practice.  We’ve already handed all of our data over to corporations, and the government can either already access it (like the metadata collection revealed in the Snowden leaks) or can easily obtain it if they desire.  The fact that I think this is also why I found the idea of worrying about RFID chips ridiculous.  All the data an RFID chip would give the government literally already exists on servers of cell phone companies.  Not only does the data exist, but it is better than what could be collected, AND we already pay a subscription fee in order to provide it to them.

Something not covered in the Constitution is a universal right to vote, but in truth it is even more fundamental to a democracy than the ideas contained in the first amendment.  I would consider how prisoners are treated to be the measure of how just and free our society is.  The scale of the prison population indicates that our government is willing to lock us away for just about anything.  The rights that inmates have tell us how willing our government is to protect the rights of all people in society.

I don’t disagree with his overall sentiment.  We should be watchful of our rights, and we must work hard to ensure that the government is protecting them instead of infringing them.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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14 September 2020 21:00
 

The greatest danger to out freedom is the massive criminalization of the population: cops and prosecutors can find a crime for anyone whenever they choose, and force a guilty plea for reduced sentence without ever giving you a jury trial. And when they do, they can use evidence and coercion you can’t.

Only those with enough wealth to hire lawyers for years are safe.

Cops can maim and shoot you without legal consequences, but you can’t resist them without being thrown in jail or killed.


And you are worried that taking medical precautions against a global pandemic will cut into your freedom?

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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15 September 2020 09:08
 

The other part I would add is the ability to confiscate property that is “associated” with a crime.  For example, a young man in Philadelphia was convicted of selling drugs, and prosecutors confiscated his parents home.  The prosecutor was able to do this because the young man lived there, and all he had to do was claim that the house was used in the sale of drugs.  The parents then had to engage in a very long and drawn out battle in order to keep their home.  The burden of proof was on the home owners.  All of this over $40 worth of heroin that was found on someone other than the home owners.  Eventually they were able to return to their home (they were kicked out), but then prosecutors tried to force them to sign an agreement to ban their son from their home permanently.  All that happened in 2014, and it took 4 hour years of fighting to get the practice overturned.

Civil asset forfeiture is still on the books in many districts, and is still regularly abused by police and prosecutors.  The laws at the federal and state level are often still in place, but just the practice has been ended as a department policy.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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15 September 2020 14:03
 

One thing I notice is how efficiently these corrupt practices are sheltered by our partisan polarity. How often do you hear complaints about this couched in criticism of one party only? Is it a coincidence that our officials stir this pot in public while being in bed with everyone behind closed doors?