June 15, 2002

Civil Emergency Is Not Equal to War

Ginger Stampey puts it very well:


What She Really Thinks

...If we had a real war going on, we'd have real enemies, and we'd be fighting. What we're in is a perpetual state of civil emergency. Unpleasant but true fact: We're in no more danger today than we were a year ago. We just were less aware of what our dangers were. We are going to have to live with the dangers of terrorism inside the United States for a long time.

While "the Constitution is not a suicide pact", nowhere does it say "this document only applies when it's convenient, so in wartime, including perpetual civil emergencies, all bets are off".

Folks who think that's what it says need to reread the Constitution...

Posted by DeLong at June 15, 2002 06:45 PM

Comments

Somebody, somewhere, sometime--George Orwell?--said that pacificism is a self-limiting philosophy except in island nations with very large navies. Similarly, the idea that a state can afford not to watch over its citizens--that they have "rights"--is a product of the particularly felicitous circumstances of the nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. that kept any citizen or group of citizens from being able to harm the state and the nation.

Now, however, with modern technology, all these bets are off. No government anywhere can any longer afford to insulate its citizens from "unreasonable" searches and seizures, or to guarantee speedy trials. It is no longer the case that it is better to let nine guilty go free than for one innocent to suffer.

Joseph de Maistre

Posted by: Joseph de Maistre on June 15, 2002 09:59 PM

from Stephen Green...

VodkaPundit - Chill Before Serving

Go Team Go: Wartime means more compromise between freedom and security. But there's a danger: Once government takes a power during war, it can be difficult to get it back during peace. So, with each new encroachment, we must do two things: (1) Be quietly thankful that some dangerous loon is safely put away. (2) Worry loudly about how it was done.

Always remind the government that you're watching, and remind your fellow citizens of their rights. Vigilence will help ensure that wartime measures end with the war. But whatever you do, do not follow Jonah Goldberg's example and play slutty cheerleader for the feds.

Posted by Stephen Green at June 14, 2002 11:51 AM

Posted by: Brad DeLong on June 15, 2002 11:15 PM

"Similarly, the idea that a state can afford not to watch over its citizens--that they have "rights"--is a product of the particularly felicitous circumstances of the nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. that kept any citizen or group of citizens from being able to harm the state and the nation."

Joseph de Maistre

I think that your view of the 19th and 20th century is a little more rosy than mine.

I also think that you're pulling the same argument as they all do - "it's different this time - the Constitution wasn't meant for this.

Barry"

Posted by: Barry on June 17, 2002 06:53 AM
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