Essay Finding Freedom in America
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Argues that the USA PATRIOT Act denies American citizens their basic right to freedom.
America responded to the 9/11 attacks by strengthening powers of government and, in the process, eroding personal freedoms. This paper argues that it is time to understand that the war on terror isn’t a short-term war, and if we are to live governed by the Constitution, which our founding fathers put into place to ensure freedom for everyone, it’s time to roll back some of the more recent legislation and work towards more sustainable methods of preventing terrorism. The paper refers, in particular, to the USA Patriot Act and the laissez-faire policy of the Department of Homeland Security. The paper argues that if we continue to give up our personal freedom, we have, in fact, let the terrorists win.
“Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act also gives the FBI virtually unlimited power to search bookstore and library records and see what people are reading. Before PATRIOT, the government needed probable cause and a warrant from a neutral judge in order to obtain such records; now they can see what a person is reading without that person even knowing about it. The Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of [t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search an seizures (The Bill of Rights) doesn’t prevent this new power granted to our government agencies. Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford University, argues that under the Cohen Theorem, reading anonymously is “so intimately connected with speech and freedom of thought that the First Amendment should be understood to guarantee such a right” (154).”