American Civil Liberties Essay

2269 words - 9 pages

Terrorists attacks in America should not reduce or take away civil liberties because it unnecessarily increases government power, gives a false state of security, and goes against the concepts of liberty on which the United States was founded. In order to understand why these three things are important we must determine what are civil liberties.
According to Wikipedia, “Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that protect an individual from the state” (Wikipedia, 2010). Why would we need protection from the state? The intent of civil liberties is to “set limits on the government so that its agents cannot abuse their power and interfere unduly with the lives of private citizens” (Wikipedia, 2010). Civil liberties are protected through the Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence declares a strong human rights statement with “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.” With so many documents about liberty and rights it’s hard to imagine those rights being abused or taken away by the government who is supposed to protect those rights.
In September 2001, the United States fell prey to terrorist attacks that resulted in loss of property, loss of lives, and loss or reduction of what many belief to be basic rights and liberties. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as a result of the terrorist attacks on 9-11, the Bush administration began a serious attack on civil liberties. The ACLU argues that the government has abused its power through “Warrant-less wiretapping, torture, kidnapping, and detention, the growing surveillance society, abuse of the Patriot Act, government secrecy, real ID, no fly and selectee lists, political spying, abuse of material witness statute, and attacks on academic freedom” in an article entitled “Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11” (ACLU, 2006). Some citizens, including the late Senator Ted Kennedy as well as some children, have been placed on the no fly list and it’s almost impossible to be removed from this list. Spying on other countries is something that most, if not all countries do. But spying on U.S citizens in another matter and is considered unconstitutional. Glen Greenwald states in his online article, New Target of Rights Erosion, basically the people or citizens provide the check on government and “Vesting political leaders with oppressive domestic authority uniquely empowers them to avoid accountability and deter dissent” (Greenwald). Abuse of power is nothing new in any country.
Since its formative years, the United States has seen even the greatest of men seemingly abuse power. Even Abraham Lincoln, who stated in his Gettysburg Address “of the people, for the people, by the people” in reference to the government, removed the right of habeas corpus during the civil war. Habeas corpus is legal action that...

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