I know lots of people for whom the Patriot Act is the biggest boogeyman out there, now that we got rid of Gingrich, that is. And Lott. And Ashcroft, etc (Jeez, once we get rid of Rove, it'll be puppies and kittens up the whazoo). Perhaps out of hope and simplicity, and maybe stupidity, I just don't fear it the Patriot Act. This is because I have not seen its abuse.
When Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was looking at importing pharmaceuticals from Canada, he was challenged, as he should have been, by the specter of lesser standards of drug testing and regulation in Canada, the idea being we don't want to import medicines that are harmful or ineffective. Pawlenty's dismissive reply was "Show me the dead Canadians."
Well, show me the locked-up Americans. Look, nobody outflanks me on individual liberty and limited government. I don't want the feds, the state, or the do-gooder freaks Minneapolis City Council listening to my phone calls or checking my orders from online book sellers. The biggest reason is not because increased governmental law-enforcement capabilites is going to (insert ACLU talking point here), but because it's a waste time.
Like everyone says (but I actually mean), I expect results from my tax money. I'm very creeped out by the scope of federal spending for homeland security, but not because of the Big Brother element, but because I don't know what kind of effectiveness we're buying, and I'm not convinced were doing anything with what we learn. Close the border already. Arrest some felons. Crush the windpipe of a transit bomber. Give me something to work with.
Ol' Bill gets pretty near to the bottom of it all:
The Patriot Act is further bedeviled by the difficulty in amassing records that display its success. If you reduce the speed limit, in no time at all you can measure changes in the rate of accidents. How have the provisions of the Patriot Act affected the liberty of modern malefactors to work their odium upon us? The legislators have difficult responsibilities, and it is discouraging that there is so little hard evidence informing the public commentary.
Be a champion of civil liberties. May the wind be at your back. Just make damn sure you are also harpooning Clinton, Gore, Kerry and all the other freedoms frauds. If you don't, you may find your bile clouding your vision.