American Civil Liberties:
Do Americans have enough protections for Civil Liberties, or not?
In a world where terrorism, war, and economic instability are ever looming threats it’s not a wonder why the limits on the freedom of the individual can come into question. This is especially true when the country where these limits are brought into question is one of the world’s leading powers in: democracy, economics, social welfare, military force, and foreign politics in general. This country, of course, is the United States. Unfortunately, even with the country’s democratically centered government, there is still a debate on whether Americans have enough protections for civil liberties or not. A few key areas of argument on civil liberties and hopefully provide enough information to the reader so that he/she may deduce an educated opinion as to whether Americans have enough protection for civil liberties or not.
In order to fully understand what constitutes as a civil liberty the definition of a civil liberty must first be established. A civil liberty is defined as “Those rights, such as freedom of speech and religion, that are so fundamental that they are outside the authority of government to regulate” ( Schiller, Geer, & Segal, 2013). Essentially meaning that a civil liberty is a basic human right that not even government should be able to interfere with it. Quick examples of these rights are freedom of speech, press, religion,etc.
Typically the most basic civil liberties are found in a country’s bill of rights and then that country passes amendments as needed in order to grow the peoples’ civil liberties, or shrink them if need be. Now, in the case of the United States the people are not “granted“ civil liberties by the Government. Instead the Bill of Rights uses very specific words( “shall not be infringed”,”shall make no law...abridging”) (Schiller et al.,2013) in order to state that the United States Government can not restrict or interfere with these rights.
However there is an exception to this. If a State has a compelling interest and can narrowly tailor a law then that state can pass a law that would restrict a civil liberty. An example of this is that Americans can’t say “bomb” on a plane. The interest is to protect the safety of people by preventing a panic and it is narrowly tailored so that only on airplanes someone can’t say bomb. Therefore, any state that has this law in place (which restricts the civil liberty free speech) has rightful reason to have it in place, and is not violating any law.
Albeit the Land of the Free, Americans have a historically bad habit of violating individuals civil liberties. This is especially true when a major tragedy strikes. For example after Pearl Harbor the Japanese were placed in internment camps, during the Cold War anyone who expressed socialist ideals was imprisoned, and more recently after 9-11 Arabic people were racially profiled. Seeing as the last instance is still a problem...