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United States Your Rights Online

Want Freedom? 1084

Posted by michael
from the not-badly-enough dept.
Xenopax writes "According to this story on the Sacramento Bee Americans are now more willing to throw away their first amendment rights for the false feeling of security than ever before. In fact many believe that the First amendment goes too far with its protection and think we should allow monitoring of religious groups for national security. Also many people believe the media shouldn't be allowed to question the government in times of war. One has to wonder if anyone cares about their constitutional rights any more, or if everyone would be happier living in 1984." The study is conducted by the Freedom Forum every year and is available for download.
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  • by Robber Baron (112304) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:14PM (#4170902) Homepage
    Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar. - Julius Caesar
    • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:27PM (#4171053) Homepage
      The United States has not had real conflict in its borders since the mid 19th century - even 9/11 wasn't a real war at home in anyway comparable to anything the rest of the world has had to deal with for most of the 20th century. In light of that fact, it wasn't surprising that a rhetoric of a free society was able to develop. In light of the love of comfort and security that the American populace evinces, I sometimes think that if it faced the sorts of turmoil that Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America confronted, it would be willing to create a society far less free than many of the above in order to defend those comforts. The luxury of freedom apparently ranks below other luxuries.
      • by guanxi (216397) on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:00PM (#4171397)
        The United States has not had real conflict in its borders since the mid 19th century ... In light of that fact, it wasn't surprising that a rhetoric of a free society was able to develop.


        That rhetoric developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, mostly during wars.


        During the Revolutionary War (1776), with the most powerful navy in the world anchored in NY harbor (the British), Jefferson wrote,

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, overnments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...


        The First Amendment, the subject of this article, was writting ~1790, not during war but not exactly a time of peace and harmony.


        During the Civil War, in the mid-18th century, at perhaps the lowest, most dangerous moment in our nations history (the Battle of Gettysburg), Lincoln said,

        ... our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. ... from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that this government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.


        Makes us look like wusses, throwing it all away in the face of the relatively very minor threats we face in 2002.
        • Makes us look like wusses, throwing it all away in the face of the relatively very minor threats we face in 2002.

          Who you calling "us"?

          The bulk of the population was ALWAYS willing to throw this stuff away - even (perhaps especially) during the period where those documents were composed. The revolution was run by a tiny fraction of the population even then.

          The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights were largely put there by a coalition of radical (for the time) pressure groups and state legislators. These people were the "anti-federalist" faction of the Founding Fathers and were concerned that the Federalists were staging a coup and setting up a super-state by hijacking an articles-of-confederation-revision committee of the Continental Congress.

          The pressure for the freedom of religion clause came primarily from protestant ministers - concerned that the government might select a state religion - other than theirs - and restart the religious wars that led to the founding of several of the colonies by refugees of various religious factions.

          Interestingly, Moslems were common in the former colonies (especially near the seaports - lots of sailors). Islam was the canonical example of a non-Christian religion that produced moral people, used in the debates whenever the question of whether "freedom to chose a Christian religion" was what was meant.

          The Bill of Rights exists EXPLICITLY to protect unpopular rights of unpopular minorities from trampling by a hostile-to-indifferent majority. And these days the establishment-of-religion clause of the First Amendment has been used for everything from defending abortionists to blocking the Pledge of Allegiance and moments-of-silence in public schools. And the country is still reeling from an act of war by a political sect attempting to start a religious war. Yet a poll finds less than half of the population polled will say "The First Amendment goes too far".

          Seems to me that the current US population is MUCH more understanding of, and in favor of, the ideas behind our freedom than the population at the time of the revolution.
    • by rcw-home (122017) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:30PM (#4171094)
      Great quote. I just wish we knew who said it. It's [ohio-state.edu] a [wikipedia.com] fake [mojosdailygrind.com].
    • As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. -- Commissioner Pravin Lal, U.N. Declaration of Rights, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
  • by elmegil (12001) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:14PM (#4170906) Homepage Journal
    It's only ok if they monitor those OTHER religions. My religion is just fine, and of course there's no way GWB would monitor my Church.

    (for the sarcasm impaired: that is not my real belief).

  • by Mr Guy (547690) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:16PM (#4170930) Journal
    the media shouldn't be allowed to question the government in times of war

    I don't know of anyone that thinks the government should be required to be entirely truthful about ongoing operations in times of war. If a reporter discovers classified information and shares it, it is not a matter of the first amendment. It is a matter of treason, as if they'd discovered documents and sold them directly to a foreign power.

    Just because you belong to the press corps doesn't make you above the law.
    • by swingkid (3585) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:18PM (#4170953)
      What part of "question the government" means "reveal classified information," Mr. Ashcroft? Or am I committing treason by asking such a question?
      • That was my point, you have the right to question the government, you have the right to ASK questions. You don't have the right to ask questions using information that you obtained illegally, and asking that question is illegally revealing that information to others.

        The government also has the right not to answer. Perhaps I'm mistaken, I read that as "media demanding information" not as "media voicing dissent."
    • You're talking about an entirely different topic.. if the Bush administration does something shady (such as they have been doing since 9/11), the major media outlets should be (and haven't been) monitoring these events, and giving the public a proper base for their decision to throw away constitutional rights. It's this kind of blank patriotism that's going to pull the country away from the people, and into the hands of a select few.
    • There is only one crime defined in the US Constitution, and that is treason...

      Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

      You don't what is reported, so you call it treason. Views like this are a threat to all of us.

      I'm not a huge fan of the press, but they are hardly treasonous, and do act to protect our rights, if only for selfish reasons.
      • IF they however, broadcast information which would be considered sensative, such as the movements of our troops etc, then they have just aided the enemy. I'm all for freedom of press, however I'm also for discretion and self control.

        The press knew of the Cuban Missile crisis beofre the public did, the government knew before the press. Should the government have todl the press? No. Should the press have told the public? No. Creating widespread pandimonium is not bennificial to anyone except your enemies.
    • Just for the record I would like to point out that we are not at war. War requires a formal decoration by Congress, not by the President. I don't know what to call this.

    • Its a case by case senario. I would agree that if documents were "discovered" and sold that would be treason.

      However, If I were in the media and decided to say. I don't support Bush going to war in Iraq because it will draw support for Iraq's current government amoung the people in Iraq, and because the majority of the world seems to favor an alternative option other than war "ie more sanctions" and such.

      Should I be labeled as a "Benedict Arnlold"? I don't think so. This is what I think the issue is. I don't think anyone is saying the Media should be above the law (or at least I hope not).

  • Can we really trust that the questions themselves didn't lend a bias to the results?

    For example, if you ask, "In a time of war, do you think there is a limit to the amount of information that should be disseminated to the press?", you'll likely get a high positive response. However if you ask, "Should the government hide information from the press?", you'll end up with a much lower positive response.
  • Franklin said: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YahoKa (577942) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:17PM (#4170936)
    Trade freedom for security, and you'll get neither. If only people would understand.
    • Re:Franklin said: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gwernol (167574) on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:09PM (#4171485)
      Trade freedom for security, and you'll get neither. If only people would understand.

      Just because Franklin said it, doesn't make it true. Appeal to authority is a very weak form of argument.

      Giving up some freedom can in fact give you some security, and we all do it all the time. I am not allowed to go around shooting people - if I do the cops come and arrest me. This is a compromise of my absolute freedom, but one that I (and the vast majority of other people) are very happy to make.

      The question is not should we give up freedom for security, but how much and for how long, and what are we getting in return. These are the right questions to be asking. We should be very careful not to compromise any more freedom than is necessary and we should make sure that we get it all back once the threat has subsided. Freedom is a precious and important thing that we should not give up lightly.

      Any system that is taken to its absolute conclusion is dangerous. Have we learnt nothing of the danger when any view is taken to its extreme? I would have thought the example of Islamic fundamentalism was only too painfully clear.
  • by pivo (11957) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:18PM (#4170951)
    Bumper sticker suggested by a friend of mine. Says it all, really.
    • I was too.

      Why, just yesterday I was watching Crossfire, and it was great entertainment listening to them basically saying Bush is an idiot.

      I want my civil liberties so I can keep laughing at my elected leaders in public.

      (In private, I cry because I helped elect some of them.)
  • The Freedom Forum is a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people.

    and a "study" like this is a great way for them to get in the spotlight and receive additional funding.

    There is no such thing as "nonpartisan". Ever. Be skeptical of everything you see/hear/read.
  • by HanzoSan (251665) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:19PM (#4170960) Homepage Journal

    Intellectual property and copyright law in the digital era = censorship.

    The computer is a communications tool which is an extention and enhancement to our ability to communicate and express ourselves, source code is the method of expression, 1s and 0s are the output of this expression.

    However current intellectual property law is designed to reduce our abilities to express ourselves via code or even to copy a file.

    Copyright and Intellectual property is out of control right now and its slowly removing our freedomm of speech and our right to expression.

    Why is it ok to censor people in the name of capitalism, no one but rogue pirates dare step forward and say what we all know is happening.

    Freenet, GNU, etc etc, its all about freedom of speech. Alot of people claim "well if you are going to have freedom to be open source you should also have freedom not to be"

    However when you arent open source and you support the patent system you support censorship. Its very funny how Americans can jump to complain about China and the evils of Communism, claiming USA is all about freedom, claiming the constitution, but its all bullshit.

    USA is about Capitalism right now, not freedom. While we are more free than China, we are only more free than China for now, eventually Capitalism will remove all freedom from us due to our own greed.

    • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:24PM (#4171025) Homepage Journal
      You've got it confused. We are NOT a capitalist system, we're pushing more socialism and mercantile protectionism than capitalism.

      In a true capitalist system, government can NEVER subsidize, tariff, or embargo companies. They can't regulate or control. They can't tax.

      In America, our government protects its friendly businesses with subsidies, while harming the competitors to its friends with tariffs and regulations.

      Its not Capitalism that hurts our country (greed helps EVERYONE, not just the greedy), its excessive government regulations and subsidies that hurt us.

      • Pure models are not useful for discussing political economics. By that standard, there has never been a "true" capitalist system, nor a "true" socialist one, nor a "true" communist one. Even some fascist apologists say that the problems with Nazism came from the fact that it wasn't "true" fascism, and the problems with Mussolini came from the influence of Nazism.

        I'm also critical of farm subsidies on the part of Europe and the US - I think that form of government protection is preventing the best of globalism from actually developing and hurting third world economies considerably - but capitalism, especially complex high-tech highly-interdependent late-capitalism, will always rely on a non-trivial legal and political framework, and on elements of infrastructure that are publically supported (transportation, utilities, financial institutions like the FDIC).

        • Exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

          by HanzoSan (251665) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:47PM (#4171271) Homepage Journal

          There will never be a pure anything for a long long time.

          Currently the best we can do is have a mix of Capitalism and Socialism.

          Socialism to give everyone universal benifits, the right to have the military protect them for example, the right to get an education, etc

          People arent always born with the money to go to private school, buy a shitload of machine guns, pay their own personal doctor, and so on.

          And if people did have to do this, doctors would make less money on average because people wouldnt have any money to pay them with, teachers would be working for pennies literally and poor students would never have access to good teachers, etc etc.

          People can argue all they want for a pure Capitalist world but its just impossible, just like a pure Socialist world is impossible, the only way we could have a world like this is to have a utopia where everyone is responsible,mature, intelligent, and we have a perfect democracy.

          When we have a Utopia then we can decide if we want it to be a Capitalist Utopia or A Socialist Utopia.

          Right now we arent there yet.
      • by HanzoSan (251665) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:38PM (#4171188) Homepage Journal

        And we are becoming more and more an information based economy.

        True Capitalism couldnt work in the real world just like true Socialism cant work. Theres a reason we are a mixture of both, because this is the only thing that could work.

        Without public schools, police, government, etc we'd have complete chaos because the people in this country arent intelligent enough, arent responsible enough, and they arent mature enough to successfully govern themselves.

        Greed helps everyone? Thats not even logical, Greed only helps you, it doesnt always have to harm everyone else, but it only helps YOU.

        Greed helps you. Depending on how you make your money decides how many people you help or harm.

        I could say Socialism helps everyone too, you go to the police when you need them, you depend on the military to defend you from al qaeda, without socialism you wouldnt even have the internet, we would have never gone to the moon, we wouldnt have big industries.

        Look, pure capitlaism can never work, its a pipe dream, pure socialism most likely can never work either, the best we can do is have a mixture of both, as the economy becomes less labor based and more information based, and we dont have to work as hard, we'll become more socialist, progression forces socialism because you cant sell something when theres unlimited amounts of it.

        Capitalism if it was pure, it could work if it were 100 percent fair capitalism, this means capitalism without globalism, this means forcing companies to raise the minimum wage they pay their workers along with the amount of money the company brings in, meaning dynamic salary which increases when companies do good and decreases when they do bad, equal salary for everyone in the company this means the CEO shouldnt make billions and everyone else thousands unless the CEO actually is working the hardest and has been working there the longest.

        Enron and Worldcom situations should not be tolerated at all, a person should go to jail for life and their assets removed from them.

        Globalism cannot work in pure Capitalism because Capitalism is all about small businesses not big businesses, big businesses are like governments and we dont need this.

        No tax? Theres always going to be a tax because people always have to pool their money together to pay for say military forces or hospitals, however by making paying the tax a choice such as a donation you could still have pure capitalism while increasing freedom.
        • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:50PM (#4171305) Homepage Journal
          Everything you dictate is consistent with the liberal/socialist front, and all of it is easily rebuked in such famous writings as F.A. Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" and Murray Rothbard "Man, Economy, State."

          "True" capitalism CAN work, and it DID work in America's most prosperous era (from the founding until the Civil War, when Lincoln's many fascist treasons corrupted the whole political system).

          If people aren't smart enough to save money to educate their children, then they'll need to LEARN responsibility over the generations when they're poor. That's what's great about this country -- the unintelligent "darwinistically" fall by the wayside, and the MOST intelligent from other countries immigrate to our country to make the society stronger.

          I know I'm a solo voice, but the hopes for liberty ARE growing, and I can only hope that people eventually see the fallacy that we "NEED" public education, or that we "NEED" minimum wage laws (laws that have removed 500,000+ jobs from the market, and hurt minorities and the young). Pick up one of those two books, settle in for a long week, and learn why Government Doesn't Work.


          • True" capitalism CAN work, and it DID work in America's most prosperous era (from the founding until the Civil War, when Lincoln's many fascist treasons corrupted the whole political system)"

            Oh so using slaves to do all the work and just sitting and taking their money is pure capitalism? If you believe its Capitalism I suppose you also support reperations? After all if slaves did all this work shouldnt they be paid the money your pure capitalist ancestors "earned"?

            Like I said, We have never had pure capitalism, and for pure capitalism to work it has to be fair. This means no slavery or other forms of cheating.

            "If people aren't smart enough to save money to educate their children, then they'll need to LEARN responsibility over the generations when they're poor. That's what's great about this country -- the unintelligent "darwinistically" fall by the wayside, and the MOST intelligent from other countries immigrate to our country to make the society stronger."

            They wont live for generations. Poor people die quickly, or become criminals which your tax dollars use to build their prisons, face it what you are saying is that only successful people should survive. People who arent born into success will be poor and uneducated, lets say this was you, lets say you had nothing, no parents, no money, and you were homeless, how would you turn this around with no free education?

            Also I dont support darwins theory, Darwin was talking about the competition between species in terms of evolution when resources are limited and competition for these resources are required.

            The world is not like highlander, or at least it doesnt have to be, we dont need to fight over resources when theres enough food to feed everyone, it becomes a self destruction process,Sure you can have capitalism but it has to work for everyone rich or poor.



            I know I'm a solo voice, but the hopes for liberty ARE growing, and I can only hope that people eventually see the fallacy that we "NEED" public education, or that we "NEED" minimum wage laws (laws that have removed 500,000+ jobs from the market, and hurt minorities and the young). Pick up one of those two books, settle in for a long week, and learn why Government Doesn't Work.



            You arent a solo voice, you are a typical upper class rich white male, most likely single, who had a mother and a father put you in a private school and provide all you needed to be successful.

            What you dont realize is, not everyone in this country has what you have and gets a fair start, people who start with nothing and people who start with everything are in two diffrent worlds.

            Capitalism as you mentioned cant work for this simple reason, if you are poor, and you dont have any support from family, you cannot get an education, so you cannot get a legit job, so you go to crime and end up in prison because in your society theres absolutely no other option.

            How exactly do you move up in the class system if theres absolutely no free services to help you do it? There has to be a way up if theres a way down.

            Options, provide the same wage for everyone and make education not matter at all (yeah right)

            or

            Make education free for everyone and use education to decide wage, allowing people rich or poor to be able to benifit from Capitalism.

            Why do we need minimum wage? Alot of people cant work 3 jobs and raise kids.

            Alot of people have to work 2 jobs now just to survive onn their own WITH minimum wage, without minimum wage more people would have jobs, less people would be on welfare, but the poverty would be much more extreme than it is now.

            Extreme Poverty becomes Extreme Crime, alot of pregnant teenage women will be robbing people and begging on the streets, because they arent educated enough to get a good job.

            And lets not even try to imagine how the kid would turn out if they had to live on the streets with a mother who works 3 jobs and still cant afford anything, I guess you'll have to remove the child labor laws so kids can go to work and they can survive.

        • by Tosta Dojen (165691) on Friday August 30, 2002 @03:37PM (#4172362) Homepage
          Without public schools, police, government, etc we'd have complete chaos because the people in this country arent intelligent enough, arent responsible enough, and they arent mature enough to successfully govern themselves.

          That is a typical elitist approach to government. The basic premise of the government is that it is one of the people. Your argument against capitalism doesn't even make sense. Capitalism and socialism are economic systems, while the government services you cite are not economic in nature. Governments exist to provide at least a few basic services, among which are protection from invasion and law enforcement, for which the military and police are required. Using these entities as a "proof" that government is socialist is absurd; by your argument every government is socialist in nature. (Which, I suppose, was your intention all along).

          Capitalism if it was pure, it could work if it were 100 percent fair capitalism, this means capitalism without globalism, this means forcing companies to raise the minimum wage they pay their workers along with the amount of money the company brings in, meaning dynamic salary which increases when companies do good and decreases when they do bad, equal salary for everyone in the company this means the CEO shouldnt make billions and everyone else thousands unless the CEO actually is working the hardest and has been working there the longest.

          I don't know where you get this at all. Actually, I do; this is pure Marxist philosophy where Labor = Profit = Worth. No amount of work on a mud pie is going to increase its value. You would certainly refuse to pay $100 for a mud pie that I worked on for 20 hours, and you would certainly complain if you, as, let's say, a computer technician, made the same wage as the unskilled laborer handing out flyers on the street corner. There is more demand for higher skills, which makes them more valuable. If not, why bother going to get an education? You'll be making the same as everybody else anyway.

          Your run-on sentence even contradicts itself in the middle: equal salary for everyone in the company...unless the CEO is actually working the hardest. Well, duh. The people who work harder and who are in demand are worth more. That's capitalism.

          Enron and Worldcom situations should not be tolerated at all

          Here I agree completely. I am all for minimal government involvement in business, but law enforcement should be ever present, which, in this case, means prosecution of fraud.

          No tax? Theres always going to be a tax because people always have to pool their money together to pay for say military forces or hospitals, however by making paying the tax a choice such as a donation you could still have pure capitalism while increasing freedom.

          I agree with the necessity of taxation as well. Making the tax optional is an interesting idea, but doomed to failure because too many will exploit the system. However, taxation for military and law enforcement do not make the system socialist because they are not economic in nature; they are part of the basic function of government.

    • You are confusing capitalism with corporate welfare. The US is increasingly moving away from the former and toward the latter; overbroad intellectual property laws which are used not to prevent piracy but to stifle competition and remove users' rights are just one example of this.
  • that there must be some kind of educational requirements met before you are allowed to breed...
  • religion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Toshito (452851) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:20PM (#4170974)
    I'm not against keeping an eye on religions. They are the biggest source of conflicts in the history of man.

    The problem is that not every religion will be treated equaly... Bush will surely not mess with his friends of the christian right...
  • While 75 percent considered the right to speak freely as "essential," almost half, 46 percent, supported amending the Constitution to prohibit flag burning.

    How are "freedom of speech" as mentioned in the first amendment and the neo-liberal concept of "freedom of expression" remotely related? I support the freedom of speech unconditionally - I do not support the "freedom of expression" - first of all, there's no such thing. Second of all, it's ridiculous to consider phyical actions as speech.

    When was the first time "freedom of speech" got misconstrued into "freedom of expression"? Where did that term come from, the same place as "underprivileged"?

    • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john@oyler.comcast@net> on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:37PM (#4171167) Journal
      Yes, because there is no such thing as body language. Or emphatic gestures. And deaf/mutes, that sign language isn't speech either.

      And if you pose for a camera, that's not speech, nor is letting your words be recorded on videotape. Speak all you like, but if the words end up in a fixed format, then damn you, you seditious criminal.

      And if you want to wear a black armband to school during wartime, as a peaceful non-disruptive protest, then that "expression" is surely a crime too, and I hope you burn in hell.

      Language and communication aren't limited to vocal sounds. As long as the action is without doubt, communication only, who are you to claim it's not protected?

      Burning the US flag might be wrong, but only because it's the one country in the world where you are guaranteed the right to do it.
  • I for one don't think we should lose our rights at all, because without them, we just become like China, where you can't speak out against the government, you'll be locked up/shot/enslaved etc. Here's an example: When there's a structure set up, such as that of the US Military, and the command officers make all the decisions...they may not be making the right ones, and a private or a lieutenant might see a solution to the problem. Now, say for example, the 4-Star General in charge doesn't want to look bad to his superiors, for showing a weakness, or inability to see something. So he sets in motion a rule that anyone who countermands his orders, or mentions another way of doing what he's doing, or what he is doing wrong, they'll be court-marshalled. So, we'll pretend the General is sending troops into an area, and the patrols keep getting killed because they can't shoot first, they must be fired upon first. Private Jon Doe, realizes where the ambushes keep happening, and tries to speak up, to prevent more losses. But, the General doesn't want to look bad, so therefore Private Jon Doe is court-marshalled. Troops continue to die off, and everyone else under the General learn not to speak up, even when they see something wrong. Now, tell me, is this something you'd like to see happen every time somebody gets pissed at the good 'ole US of A, and decides to shoot or blow something up? I know I don't.
  • Every civilization, has a turning point. America is no different. Going by cultures it is very new, just about 250 years old.
    The past events were a turning point just like WW2 was. So these insecurities and talk about changing rights and all is a phase.
    Slowly things will go to optimum levels. We humans are not digital circuit, it takes time.
    Many feel that ciivil liberties are being jepordized and many feel that the laws allow too much. To be honest the laws allow a bit too much. So now swing will be the other way, no more privacy, big brother watching and all that, and then the pendulum will start swinging the other way again.
    Actually the civillizations which reduce the amplitude of swinging pendulum survive longest, others wither away or are replaced by something else.
    Currently everybody is at crossroads, unsure... they had the first amendment, freedoms etc., and the tragedies happened, no all these will be curbed to some extent. In fact it is very necessary to change things from within. Someday america will find the in between point, but then transition is always painful isnt it.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:21PM (#4170993) Homepage Journal
    Thank the founders that this country is not a democracy, but a Constitional Republic. Of course, the liberals and conservatives of this country like to forget that.

    Our Constitution was set forth in order to protect our God given rights from destruction by an insane majority. As you can now see, the insane majority is here.

    I will only vote for those who push legislation for smaller government. In Illinois, we will have libertarians on almost every ballot position, and that's how I will make my statement.

    Of course, if we do find more infrindgements on our liberties, I will be one of the first to move to Costa Rica, or another country where their freedoms are GROWING, and because those countries aren't fighting "wars on everything," the standard of living is just as high as it is here (for entrepreneurs), but the tax burden and liberty loss is less.

    Don't accept this mess. Vote to end government/business orgies and socialist schemes -- VOTE LIBERTARIAN [lp.org].
  • by Aexia (517457) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:22PM (#4171000)
    Seven in 10 respondents agreed newspapers should publish freely, a slight drop from 2001. Those less likely to support newspaper rights included people without a college education, Republicans, and evangelicals, the survey found.

    They needed a survey to find this out?
  • It's bull shit.....

    Tell people others want something and maybe you can convince them.

    It's called marketing.

    Now who woud be promoting such a thing? Lil' Hitler Bush and company?
  • I guess its nice to know that so many people are idiots.

    Remember what Hitler said "If you give them victory, they won't question your honesty".

    The fact that the US media have such a huge impact will prevent the government from doing crazy things.

  • Here are the statistical qualifications of the study:

    1000 people surveyed, +/- 3 percentage points.

    Who exactly did they ask? If they asked 1000 people in San Fransisco, they would get a much different answer than if they asked 1000 people in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Propaganda alert??? If I were a left-winger, I would question Uconn about the study, and I would suspect the hand of Ashcroft and the GOP sympathizers (er, Snowball) behind it.

    But I then again, I AM somewhat of a conspiracy theorist.

  • Thank God, or whatever CONSTITIONAL PROTECTED diety (or not)that you choose to worship that only 49% think it goes too far.

    That's is still a wide margin from the 2/3's of both Houses and 3/4 of the states needed to make an amendment.

    We could use this study to reduce our reliance on foreign oil (and the Saudi's) by using the spinning of the Founding Fathers in their graves to generate electricity.
  • by vkg (158234) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:28PM (#4171070) Homepage
    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

    - Martin Niemöller

    Let me say this clearly: Bush sucks. He's a dangerous, arrogant man who's brother stole the election for him, and who's flushing our democracy down the toilet as fast as we will let him.

    Unanswered Questions about 9/11 [unansweredquestions.org]

    • > Let me say this clearly: Bush sucks. He's a dangerous, arrogant man who's brother stole the election for him, and who's flushing our democracy down the toilet as fast as we will let him.

      Personally, I prefer to think of him as an idiot who was selected to serve as a cypher for interests far more extreme than himself. (Look how fast he accumulated a $70,000,000 war chest when he announced his candidacy.)

      The most dangerous people in the USA right now are Rumsfeld and Ashcroft, not Mr. Bush.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:29PM (#4171073)
    (With apologies to Jello Biafra [geocities.com]'s 1990 spoken word piece)

    We interupt your surfing session with a special bulletin:

    The Internet is now under martial law. All constitutional rights have been suspended. Stay in your homes! Do not attempt to contact loved ones, science fiction authors, or software developers.

    SHUT UP!

    Do not attempt to think, or depresion may occur. Stay in your homes. Curfew is at 7 pm sharp after work. Anyone transferring content on ports other than those allowed by their subdivision router - will - be - shot.

    (Remain calm.)

    Do not panic. Your neighborhood Digital Rights Inspector will be around to collect access logs in the morning. Anyone caught interfering with the collection of access logs - will - be - shot.

    Stay in your homes! Remain calm! The number one enemy of progress is questions! The security of Hollywood's business model is more important that individual will!

    (All sports broadcasts will proceed as normal.)

    No more than two people may discuss programming techniques without permission! Write only the code prescribed by your boss or supervisor!

    SHUT UP!
    BE HAPPY!
    Obey all orders without question!

    The comfort you've demanded is now mandatory!

    BE HAPPY!

    At last, everything is done for you...

  • by pubjames (468013) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:29PM (#4171077)

    A question. Why is it that there seem to be many Americans that believe that the USA invented the concepts of democracy, freedom and liberty? The issue comes up time and time again. Is it something that is taught in schools in the USA?

    It is suprising (not to say a little annoying) for many outside the US to hear this opinion expressed repeatedly by Americans. Democracy, feedom and liberty are ideas have been around since the Greeks, and probably before. There have been democratic governments in parts of Europe for over 800 years.

    So can we please drop this idea that America invented freedom? It's just a tad irritating.
    • by daeley (126313)
      Why is it that there seem to be many Americans that believe that the USA invented the concepts of democracy, freedom and liberty?

      We didn't invent it, and I don't think anybody here of any reasonable nature would say that. What's taught here, though, is exactly what you said: the Republic/Democracy is a direct descendent of the Greeks.

      The American ideal is just that, a grand conception that quite often is not lived up to and is interpreted differently by different folks. Is the American ideal wrong because it is sometimes ignored by its own citizens? No, no more than any ideal should be discarded because some of its adherents forget what it's all about.

      We can debate and talk about those Americans who forgot or are forgetting, but please don't set up straw men in order to make derisive comments with no basis in reality.
    • by sacrilicious (316896) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:55PM (#4171345) Homepage
      It's not that we *invented* freedom, it's just that we were first to the patent office with it. Now, a la Fraunhofer, we're just waiting for the democracy standard to catch on; once it's really rolling, we're going to spring MAJOR licensing fees on all countries that want to continue being democratic.

      .
    • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:33PM (#4171756) Homepage

      Why is it that there seem to be many Americans that believe that the USA invented the concepts of democracy, freedom and liberty? The issue comes up time and time again. Is it something that is taught in schools in the USA?

      Nope. The usual party line is that the Greeks invented Democracy, Freedom, and Liberty; and that the Americans re-established it after getting sick and tired of Monarchy.

      That's the party line anyway. The reality is probably more complex, involving a mix of Masonic ideals, romantic ideals about the Greeks and Romans, and English corporate traditions.

      I do think it's safe to say that The American Revolution inspired (or was one of the inspirations for) the French Revolution, which laid the foundation for the spread of Liberal Democratic ideals throughout the world. At least, that's my rather provincial, and admittedly somewhat chauvanistic, take on the matter.

      Of course, what's going on now, IMO, is laying the foundation for the spread of tyrrany throughout the world.

  • Individual opinions are ultimately innocuous when you're incapable of expressing and propagating them.
  • I wonder what people who think the First Amendment should be chipped away at would think if the discussion was, instead, about the Second Amendment. My guess is that they would suddenly become great defenders of their constitutional rights and go on about how it keeps the government in check...
  • If you don't want your first ammendment right, then, for goodness sake, shut up!
  • Yes, the media should be allowed to question the gov't., but within certain boundaries What they should NOT be doing is pandering to the pinheads in the Congress to gain access to leaked (potentially secret) documents in order to scoop the competition/gain ratings. IOW, they should NOT be pushing their own liberal based, appeasement slanted, self-serving agenda at the potential cost of human lives.
  • by kafka93 (243640) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:31PM (#4171097)
    The Orwellian reference is most often quoted, but the society in which we increasingly find ourselves bears more similarities with Huxley's work than that of the overrated hack. Our freedoms are not corroded because of fear of any particular oppression, but rather because it's generally more comfortable, more stupefying, to give those freedoms away. People *will* trade their freedom for security - hell, people will trade their freedom for pretty much anything that makes their lives a little easier in the short term, and that allows them to think a little less, to make a little less effort.

    In a society where creature comforts are increasingly easy to come by for the average man, there's an increasing willingness/tendency to sacrifice - or ignore - everybody else. So a few of those funny towel-heads get harassed - what of it? So a few lazy bums are on the streets - not my problem. So long as I get my multiple television channels, eh?

    Most people just don't care all that much about their freedom - they view 'freedom' as the right to watch tv, drink a beer, see a football game. Even on Slashdot, there are always people who are happy to espouse the free software alternative right up to the point at which they want to play a Windows-only, proprietary computer game. Is it really surprising that most of us don't know what our rights are? We don't need or want to know - and such rights are threatening, particularly in the hands of _other people_.

    Just a quick rant.
  • religious groups (Score:4, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:31PM (#4171102) Homepage
    I have no problem with the government monitoring religious groups, so long as they do it on the same basis that they would monitor any other organization. That is, it must be done based on a warrant, must be reasonable, and must not target groups solely on the basis of their religion. For example, if a judge agrees that sufficient evidence exists of possible meetings by a terrorist cell at a mosque; and if the monitoring involves only the suspected people, rather than the population of the mosque at large; and if it is a specific group at a specific mosque that is being watched (rather than any gathering of young men at any mosque); then I am OK with it. Now, if the same evidence were presented for a synagogue or a temple or a Baptist church, I'd be similarly OK with it. On the other hand, if there was no judge's warrant (or if false information were presented to the judge to obtain the warrant), or if the monitoring was of everyone (or most people) at a certain mosque, or if the monitoring covered several mosques as a linked investigation, without evidence that there was a link other than that they were all mosques, then this would be very, very dangerous.
  • The problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by binaryfeed (225333)
    The problem, in my opinion, is that most Americans are not taught critical thinking. As a group (yes, I'm American), we generally accept whatever is spoon-fed to us by the media, by our elected leaders, or by whatever commercial happens to be on between reality TV shows.

    I'm sure this problem exists everywhere, but it seems to be really bad here in the U.S.

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
  • Ok why is everyone getting their panties in a twist over some polls? I mean c'mon! Just because they asked some morons around the office doesn't translate to anything.

    Actually that's my problem with all of the posts of this genre: where's the substance at? "People might do this!" "People say they would be willing to do this!"

    How about some "Government/Corporations doing this." topics. And not only that, but how about some constructive solutions to what can be done instead of sitting around beating off.

    Things like the DMCA I can understand: that is law. It exists. It matters. But all this hypothetical FUD and backlash is so fucking Junior High. The same damn quotes from Ben Franklin. The same damn stuff about capitalism or the evils of the Bush Empire. Hell, why not throw in some Microsoft trolling while your at it?

    Man, I wish for more people like Bruce Perens. At least he actively tried... something that the other 99.9% of /. seem incapable of doing.
  • Look, when people perceive a choice between a more proactively monitoring government and a higher risk of themselves getting blow'd up, it's not surprising that they'll give a bit.

    Even the difference between protected free speech and outright threats / persuasion to violence can be a blurry one. Should antiabortion groups feel free to publish websites with the names, addresses, family makeup, typical commuting hours, and bullet resistant building materials usage of abortion doctors and people who've received abortions? With a note saying "jeez, wouldn't it be *awful* if something happened to these folks?"

    Frankly, I'm glad that cryptography for non-sales-transaction communication isn't ubiquitous. (In the ways in which I'm a scofflaw, I take a calculated risk, and kind of assume safety in numbers, sort of like speeding.) If PGP emails with bomb planting plans aren't lost in a sea of PGP emails of people just saying Hi, I wonder if we aren't better off.
  • by reimero (194707) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:44PM (#4171242)
    One thing I find interesting in all this discussion of rights and freedoms is really how much we assume is constitutionally guaranteed versus what the Constitution actually says. For instance, here is the First Amendment [cornell.edu] in its entirety:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    From the above, it has been inferred that any kind of prayer in public schools is unconstitutional, that putting the 10 Commandments on public property is unconstitutional, that pr0n is legal, that a woman has the right to privacy and, consequently, the right to terminate pregnancy, that public libraries may not filter web sites, and so on and so forth.

    The point I'm making is that we have become accustomed to reading an awful lot into that one small amendment. As a student of political science, however, I find it both amusing and disturbing that the first five words of the amendment are the ones most frequently ignored: "Congress shall pass no law..."

    Taken literally (and as the Founding Fathers intended!) this means that most of these freedoms we take for granted were never intended to be freedoms at the level they are, but rather issues left to the individual states!

    I don't know exactly what that means for us today, but it is food for thought.
  • by paladin_tom (533027) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:47PM (#4171280) Homepage

    That on average, citizens of countries with more freedom tend to be much safer than citizens of countries with less?

    Think of the world's non-democratic countries, like Iraq, or Argentina under the fascists. Are the people there safe? NO! People are taken from their homes in the middle of the night, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Why? Because people arent' free to question and criticise the government. Because people either believe that their government cannot be opposed, or that opposing it would weaken their country.

    Your freedom doesn't harm your safety. It guarantees it. Freedom exists to protect the individual's right to life, liberty, and security of person.

    And as soon as you try to trade your freedom for safety, you will find that you've lost them both.

  • by return 42 (459012) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:48PM (#4171288)
    The appropriate response to people who don't value the right to free speech:

    "Shut up."

  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:50PM (#4171309)

    The sad truth is that the average person is dumb, and half the population is even dumber than that.

    Thus, it doesn't surprise me when 4 out of 10 people say that they don't think the press and the academic community should be allowed to criticize government plans -- they're the 4 who are dumber than average.
  • Looking closely... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) on Friday August 30, 2002 @01:52PM (#4171321) Homepage
    In reading through the survey results, the following struck me as interesting.

    The question the article makes a lot of noise over (question 2.) Question 2 is basically a recitation of the text of the first amendment, followed by the text:

    "Based on your own feelings about the First Amendment, please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: The First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.'

    In this context, more people agreed than disagreed (by 2 points) that the First Amendment goes to far.

    Now, if you look at questions 3-9, each of which ask the interviewee to rate the importance of each freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment individually, there's a solid and vociferous defense for the freedoms guaranteed (on average, between 65% and 80% of people feel that any given freedom is 'essential'.)

    What does this tell us? It tells me that there is an effective lobby against "The First Amendment", and that, when the freedoms are disassociated from "The First Amendment", Americans are rabidly supportive of their First Amendment rights. This leads me to hope that, while First Amendment attacks are en vogue in a number of circles today, that the people will lash back should the Frist Amendment face too concerted of an attack.

    If we want to draw attention to the erosion of First Amendment rights, we need to step away from the "XXXXX is taking away our First Amendment rights" argument and approach the problem from an "XXXXX is taking away your (right to assemble/right to practice religion/right to privacy/right to speak your mind)."

    Sadly, it seems that people cherish the First Amendment considerably less than they cherish the rights that amendment provides.

    (My views are my own. They do not reflect those of my employer. I am not a real political analyst, I just work with them.)

  • by guanxi (216397) on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:08PM (#4171475)
    These are inalienable rights, not privileges. The question is whether you choose to excercise them.

    The state can't give you free speech, and the state can't take it away. You're born with it, like your eyes, like your ears. Like old Campbell said, 'Freedom is something you assume. Then you wait for someone to try to take it away from you. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free.' - Utah Phillips
  • by Mr.Sharpy (472377) on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:11PM (#4171510)
    if one morning they woke up to find that while they were sleeping the US government had become a totalitarian dictatorship with Pres. Bush at the helm? Granted, that seems unlikely since they apparently prefer to work the government slowly in that direction, but the question still remains.

    If the US government was openly and violently suppressing the American people, what do you think the rest of the world would do? Would the Europeans come to our aide? Would the Africans laugh at our disgrace? Would China just go on with its business of becoming the next super-power?

    Would the French help an American resistance movement? Would the British sell the people arms? Or would there be endless talk and admonitions of human rights violations? I really can't imagine that anyone would help us.

    I really do believe that the greatest threat to American citizens is not terrorism, but our own government. That might be paranoid, but it's how I feel about it. And everyday I become more and more concerned. And then I wonder, who would help us? What would the world do?
    • The threat isnt so much government as it is citizens that make it possible. The article points out how citizens are ready to cede these rights. This is outside the normal scope of conversations about government seizing rights.

      People are free to be stupid.

      To answer your question, no one would choose sides until victory seemed possible. 100 people, 1000 people, no big deal. Now, if it came down to 100,000 armed and disciplined men and women preparing a full assault on the Federal government, that would draw international support.

      The first time around things were bad for the patriots until victory seemed possible. When victory did seem possible we got a good amount of support from the French (mostly because they wanted to kill some Brits).

      From a purely technical standpoint though, the Federal government could rather easily be partitioned, attacked, and finally seized. One thing that works for future patriots is the size and scope of the bureaucracy. Most of these employees are more or less worker drones.

      In fact, I bet if you had 10,000 trained men who are willing to do the deeds, you could sieze effective control of the federal government. Get them together, get them uniforms and badges and sidearms, plus big white vans. Meticiously track down the heads of virtually all major departments of the government in DC. Not the big time politicans mind you - I mean the people who make it work. All non-elected people. Get those addresses and your 10,000 men, split them into teams of three, and on a Sunday maybe during a football game get them to the homes of all the people who really make the government function. Announce that you are arresting them, and then formally read them their rights and bring them to an improvised patriot prison. Make sure to get FBI department chiefs (they'll comply no problem), as many secret service agents as possible, as many comissed military people as possible. Get as many White House and capital building employees as possible. All in all, if you make 3,000 teams and have them get 3 people each, those 9,000 select people are the ones who have the ability to really shut down the government.

      Chances are it would be bloodless. After the dust from that settles things would get dicey. Most of the infrastructure excepting those on duty at the time would fall apart. After the people on duty realize there is no one coming in to relieve them is when the panic will start. The immediate agents and political types around the president would crack after a few days.

      Within a few days you could take your 10,000 soliders, march to DC, and sieze it offically.

      Probably.
  • One issue voters are always trying to force their belief systems on me. "Hey, you can't do that! It says in the bible..blahablaalaba. We need a law that no one can walk around naked in their own house."

    While I have nothing against the bible or people reading it, living it or whatever. I DO NOT want people telling me what I can, or can't do based on their 'bible beliefs'. The regression of free speech is a sad tale of repressed morality, and low IQ. When I hear that a book/movie/music is banned, people are being put on 'probably going to be a crimminal' lists and held for no legal reason, and when GWB decides to go to war all by himself, I ask, "Where are the dissenting voices?"

    The DMCA, U.S Patent Office, the Patriot act, Carnivore, Echelon, M$ allowed monopoly, the lack of worker rights in the workplace, **AAs, DRM, SSCCA, the isolationism of the USA and our resulting lack of support for the Kyoto treaty, the lack of difference between political parties, Senator Disney and his Club, Campaign Reform (not), CAFE standards, war oil oil war, Alaskan Reserve, Enron, Halburton, Worldcom, The Office of Homeland Security.

    Are these things NOT fucked up? Am I missing something?

    I don't fear the terrorists. I fear my own well meaning, scared, righteous, incompetent citizens will continue to support a Government that is plainly out of control.

    I'm now in the list.

  • by Treeluvinhippy (545814) <treeluvinhippy@A ... inus threevowels> on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:43PM (#4171873)
    You say you want a revolution
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it's evolution
    Well you know
    We all want to change the world
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don't you know you can count me out
    Don't you know it's gonna be alright
    Alright Alright

    You say you got a real solution
    Well you know
    We'd all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well you know
    We're doing what we can
    But when you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
    Don't you know it's gonna be alright
    Alright Alright

    You say you'll change the constitution
    Well you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it's the institution
    Well you know
    You better free your mind instead
    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
    Don't you know know it's gonna be alright
    Alright Alright
  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Friday August 30, 2002 @02:44PM (#4171884) Homepage

    I remember when the presidential election was under way, there was a parody site about Bush. And he hated being made fun of, and tried to shut it down (with lawyers? does anyone remember?). When the press asked about it, he said, "there ought to be limits to free speech."

    Well, we elected him, and now a good number of people in this country are starting to think there ought to be limits to free speech. Gee. How could that happen? And sarcasm aside, how could we, the people, elect someone who is openly hostile to the Constitutional principles the country was founded upon? What were we thinking?

  • in that case... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tumbleweed (3706) on Friday August 30, 2002 @03:24PM (#4172259)
    I think that since terrorist Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, that the government should suspend the rights of Christian foreigners and natives, and monitor the activities of Christians. Also, there are a lot of Christians in government posts - they should be monitored especially closely.
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Friday August 30, 2002 @03:26PM (#4172270) Homepage Journal
    I find it surprising and depressing that many who will complain bitterly about any infringement upon their or anybody else's First amendment rights will support trampling on the rights granted under the Second Amendment (our own beloved Cmdr. Taco being a prime example).

    Free Speech is just as dangerous as a gun - anybody who has seen a riot (or a lynch mob) being incited will attest to that.

    The Founding Fathers held the right to free expression and the right to self defense as inalienable rights (as in, you cannot be forced to surrender those rights under any circumstances). This was because they knew that without the ability to defend them, by force if necessary, we would lose them.

    And look at what is happening. Little by little we are deprived of our freedom of expression, and denied any peaceful means to oppose this.

    I don't want to see violence be the only alternative. I don't want to see violence be used. But if we lose the option, and then we lose all other alternatives....

  • by Fig, formerly A.C. (543042) on Friday August 30, 2002 @03:26PM (#4172276)
    While 75 percent considered the right to speak freely as "essential," almost half, 46 percent, supported amending the Constitution to prohibit flag burning.

    What exactly are we supposed to do to dispose of old flags then? Dump them in the trash?

    Morons.

  • Very scary. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maul (83993) on Friday August 30, 2002 @03:36PM (#4172355) Journal
    If this is not a skewed servey, as some might suggest, it is very scary. It would be scary to me if 1/10 or 2/10 would support any restriction to the first ammendment.

    It is very scary to me that even more people in this survey think that government criticism should be prohibited.

    It also sickens me that there are plenty of people who think that the government should be able to spy on religious practices. People think that their religion will be safe because they aren't muslim. They think: "Only muslims are terrorists, after all."

    I have news for these ignorant people. Every major religion has terrorist groups associated with it. This includes ultra-right-wing psuedo-christian groups who think it is okay blow up abortion clinics. This includes the IRA. This even includes some fringe Jewish groups who plan mosque bombings.

    The government WILL eventually use groups like these as an excuse to spy on everybody's church if given the opportunity.

    You have to stand up for our rights, period. When the government starts raiding mosques routinely, don't just think "Oh, they're just going after the muslims. Everyone knows that only muslims are terrorists, so won't affect me." It will.

    It would also help to get your ass up on election day and go vote.
  • by dbretton (242493) on Friday August 30, 2002 @03:38PM (#4172373) Homepage
    The number of Americans who are stupid has increased to 49 percent, up 10 percent from last year.

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