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Friday, June 24, 2011

"Freedom" does not mean actual freedom

by Jeffrey Tucker, Mises Blog

The NYT has unearthed a document that seems to date back to 2008 of which a new edition is in the works, and this new edition permits the FBI to do damn thing it wants to do, such as rummage through your trash, monitor communications, break into databases, and be the all-round agency of total domestic surveillance.

The 2008 treatise is an interesting read. It generally follows the following model: assertion of a civic cliche (such as free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion) followed by an explanation of why this cliche, while important and true as far as it goes, has no relevance for the FBI.

An example of this tactic:

The sensitivity related to an academic institution arises from the American tradition of ?academic freedom? (e.g., ah atmosphere in which students and faculty are free to express unorthodox ideas and views and to challenge conventional thought without fear of repercussion). Academic freedom does not mean, however, that academic institutions are off limits to FBI investigators in pursuit of information or individuals of legitimate investigative interest.
This goes on for 269 pages. It makes a mockery of the Bill of Rights ? the essential flaw of which is that the government that the Bill of Rights is supposed to restrict is the same government that is charged with enforcing it. This is like getting a lock on your door to prevent robberies but giving a key to every potential robber should it ever be needed for anything.

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