"You amuse me with your pretention. Your pawn is but a suckling piglet on the teat of failure." - Ze Frank.
This guy kicks ass. He has created his own bizarre, rapid-fire, and cynical news / opinion / entertainment show that is released a few times each week and tracks current events. It's a bit of a underground / cult-film-style production that has fairly dedicated followers.
One of his newer pieces is fantastic. It starts out slow but amusing, and then leaps into a tirade against the erosion of personal liberties our country has seemingly tolerated over the past several years in the hopes of bolstering security. He makes interesting points and used a powerful quote from a Founding Father that I think is worth repeating here. From the wiki he hosts for transcripts and discussions about each show you can read his response to a viewer who voiced support of the direction our country is going:
I assume what you mean is that, if the warrantless wiretapping program catches even one bad person, it validates its existence.This is Texas Hippie, dredging the 'net so you don't have to.
The question isn't whether this program would be effective at catching bad people:
If we had mandatory anal cavity searches for every person that enters the United States, we'd find a lot more cocaine.
The question is whether these kinds of programs upset the balance between government and personal liberty and therefore can lead to an abuse of power. Given this sort of authority, the government decides who is and who isn't a bad person. People who openly dissent against the government's further attempts to encroach on personal liberties could also be called bad people. Governments are made out of people with strong ideas. Some of those people feel that if people of opposing ideas came to power, it would threaten the integrity of the United States. One abstract worry is that if people in power are left unchecked, they could use programs like the AT&T wireprograms to perpetuate their own rule. Court approval in these cases is supposed to provide the check to that unchecked power. In a free society, you can assume that at some point someone you don't agree with is gonna rise to power. When thinking about these kinds of programs, try to imagine how that person would use them.
When speaking about factions and their tendency to abuse power, James Madison, currently dead, said, "Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an ailment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency."
Oh, and personally? I'd rather not live in a country where somebody can stick their finger up my ass in an airport.