The Corner

Remember Ashcroft and the Library Records?

Not long ago, a great many Democrats were worried to death that the PATRIOT Act would empower John Ashcroft to go sniffing through their library records, and this was to be understood as the End of All Things: from there to the Gestapo in one or two short and easy steps. 

Today, the same people are arguing that Americans should be stripped of their constitutional rights — the ones listed right there in the Bill of Rights, not fanciful ideas emanating from any penumbras — if a cop somewhere thinks you might be a bad guy.

Due process? Pshaw!

I wonder which other rights our progressive friends think Americans should be stripped of with no due process and no legal recourse, without having even been charged with, much less convicted of, a crime.

I have my criticisms of the PATRIOT Act. But given that Democrats who pronounced themselves aghast at the prospect of conducting invasive surveillance on terrorism suspects are now arguing that we can be stripped of our constitutional rights on some federal functionary’s say so, you’ll understand if I think that this is something less than a good-faith policy disagreement and something more like the cynical exploitation of a horrifying massacre for narrow political ends.

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