The War on Liberties
Voltaire said, “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” In the decade of fear since 9/11 the government has constructed a vast apparatus of control and surveillance. Your most obvious experience is at the airport but it extends way beyond that. Big Brother is watching. Basic liberties are under attack all in the name of protecting those liberties. National security is ritually invoked to cover a range of violations of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The beacon of freedom descends into a twilight zone of criminality. The state has 16 intelligence agencies with untold billions at their disposal in black budgets, operating in secret, carrying out black operations and following what are called presidential findings. Defending liberties is not what they are about. And they sometimes confuse dissent with disloyalty.
Susan Herman is President of the American Civil Liberties Union. She holds a chair as Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches courses and seminars in Constitutional Law, Terrorism, and Civil Liberties. She is the author of The Sixth Amendment and Taking Liberties.