Are we losing our freedom? (And other rhetorical questions....)

From Scott Ott comes a good rhetorical question about a New York Times editorial:

Does the New York Times really crave a society in which the federal government can restrict the constitutional rights of citizens who have committed no crimes?
To which I would add another rhetorical question: "Is the Pope Catholic?"

For some time, the Times has been pushing for people placed on the no-fly list to forfeit their Second Amendment rights, and this editorial is only the latest manifestation.

In June of last year, the Times argued that citizens' rights under the Second Amendment were not rights at all, but merely "an odd divergence in federal law":

The new statistics, compiled in a report from the Government Accountability Office that is scheduled for public release next week, draw attention to an odd divergence in federal law: people placed on the government's terrorist watch list can be stopped from getting on a plane or getting a visa, but they cannot be stopped from buying a gun.
And I asked what now appears to be a rhetorical question:
Has a fundamental constitutional right now become an odd divergence?

What is an odd divergence from the American tradition of freedom is the watch list itself, but the reason people have acquesiced to it is because of its emergency nature and the fact that it is not supposed to take away fundamental constitutional rights. Like the right to keep and bear arms.

Or free speech.

Would the Times consider it an "odd divergence" that "people placed on the government's terrorist watch list can be stopped from getting on a plane or getting a visa, but they cannot be stopped from writing or speaking"?

I guess that's a rhetorical question too.

By the way, according to the ACLU, the Terror Watch List is million names long.

And growing.

Up 32% since 2007, according to USA Today. And that's despite the fact that the war on terror is being downgraded. As there's no such thing as Islamic terrorist anymore, I wonder about something...

Who qualifies under the new rules?

(I should probably stop asking rhetorical questions.)

posted by Eric on 05.08.10 at 11:58 AM


I understand Janet Napolitano put out a report on new qualifiers last year. Believe in the Constitution? You're qualified!

SDN   ·  May 8, 2010 5:23 PM

I believe I'm way up on that list: 1) former soldier, 2) have written and spoken plainly about my feelings concerning how our political class has crapped all over the Constitution, 3) have done same concerning the police state we are currently under.

Any revolution I would support though would have to be non-violent. They would just use violent actions to justify increasing their control and the fact is most of the general populace would support them out of fear. That is a message that can't be repeated enough. Violence would be more than just counter-productive it would spell the end of any real chance of a return to limited government, what little hope remains of that.

Crawdad   ·  May 8, 2010 10:56 PM

Remember the way the editors at the Times "reason:" They work backwards from the conclusion they've predetermined. We see the same pattern in the "arguments" from the global warming doom-mongers. This is typical of Leftists everywhere, but most apparent in the ravings of Old Media journalists.

Intellectual honesty is essentially dead in the Old Media. As for an attachment to freedom or Constitutional ideals...!

Francis W. Porretto   ·  May 9, 2010 4:27 AM

This isn't really that difficult. It's a privilege to fly on an airplane that does not belong to you, using airspace, that does not belong to you, from an airport that does not belong to you.

It is a right to be able to use tools to protect yourself and your family.

The government revokes some privileges such as flying, if it deems you require further investigation. The government will also revoke your drivers license if it deems you are not trustworthy enough in an car.

The government should not have the power to revoke a right to defend yourself, using firearms, if necessary.

chris   ·  May 9, 2010 5:03 AM

Old strategy: try to take away everyone's guns.

That didn't work, so they've moved on to...

New strategy: just take guns away from our political opponents.

Beck   ·  May 9, 2010 5:06 AM

It seems an odd convergence (it may be because my head is deep within math, specifically bisection, study) that we are downgrading the importance of the list, and therefore downgrading the seriousness of the reason that one can be put on it and expanding the list, while the NYTs is arguing for the upgrading of the rights that can be taken away from a citizen for being put on it.

Scott McLoud   ·  May 9, 2010 5:34 AM

Heterosexual males scare NYT writers.

Hucbald   ·  May 9, 2010 7:41 AM

I say when Obama is ousted in 2012 the new administration shoul put everyone on the NYT masthead on the no-fly list. If they are still in business by then. If they punch, we punch back harder.

wpw   ·  May 9, 2010 7:56 AM

"people placed on the government's terrorist watch list can be stopped from getting on a plane or getting a visa, but they cannot be stopped from buying a gun."

Which of the first two are listed in the Bill of Rights?

drjohn   ·  May 9, 2010 8:34 AM

People convicted of nothing, but suspected of a vague 'something' are supposed to surrender their God given rights? We really are in trouble. Oh, and by the way; if you are banned from traveling by air (no fly list) are you being denied the ability to engage in interstate commerce? It apears so.Possibly a way to challenge the 'no fly' list.

anona   ·  May 9, 2010 12:35 PM

If it is acceptable to take away a person's Second Amendment rights if that person is on the no-fly list, why not take away their First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights as well?

At that point I suspect even the ACLU would come to understand that what the NYT advocates is an assault upon the Constitution, even if Pinchy hasn't figured it out.

But if we do forward, let's indeed put the NYT editors and writers on the no-fly list -- then at least we could shut them up.

Steve White   ·  May 9, 2010 1:51 PM

I think that our freedoms haven't been taken from us, so much as we have traded them for a mess of pottage.

We have become so polarized that there is no trust anymore, and when that happens, society as we have known it is impossible. The hypocrisy of the NYTimes is just an illustration of that principle. They thought it was just fine to subvert the Bush administration's efforts to stop terrorism, but now that their man is in, the Bill of Rights is no longer necessary, because they trust this administration.

AST   ·  May 10, 2010 12:14 AM

"...let's indeed put the NYT editors and writers on the no-fly list "

Anona, it wouldn't work. I expect the Times has its own air fleet, although they're loath to, y'know, actually mention it where the peasants [i. e., us] can read about it. When Junior has to fly to, say, Las Vegas-- (Strictly, of course, to, umm, cover the influx of "guest workers" to our ranks) do you really think he's going to queue up at the counter in NY International?

Loki1   ·  May 10, 2010 6:07 PM

Crawdad, if you can point to a tyranny in history that was really toppled without a credible threat of violence, I'll agree with you.

SDN   ·  May 11, 2010 9:39 AM

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