Civil Liberties & Privacy

Self-Inflicted Violence

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IN OUR RUSH justice for the perpetrators of the horrors of September 11, we seem to have forgotten another kind of violence that is ready to befall America: the self-inflicted violence of an open-ended, comprehensive, and essentially secret global war conducted by the U.S. government against an enemy so amorphous it apparently cannot be ... [click for more]

The Wolf, the Coyote, and the Sheep

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Americans who are rushing to embrace the federal government's efforts to protect them from terrorists might want to keep in mind the story of the wolf, the coyote, and the sheep. One day the wolf and the coyote got into a battle with each other. In the midst of the fight, the coyote attacked the ... [click for more]

Emergencies, Military Tribunals, and the Constitution

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President Bush has ordered that people he suspects of being "terrorists" will be tried before military tribunals rather than indicted and prosecuted in the customary judicial manner. Judges and juries (which will consist of the same people) will be appointed by the secretary of defense, trials will be held in secret, and convictions will ... [click for more]

The War on Drugs and Police Funding

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The following was published as a Capsule Commentary in the November 7, 2001 edition of the FFF Email Update. The October 14 issue of the Washington Post reported that Washington area police and sheriffs' departments garnered a bonanza of nearly $2.2 million last year from the war on drug's asset-forfeiture ... [click for more]

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

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AT THE CLOSE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what type of government the Constitution was bringing into existence. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Regardless of one’s judgment concerning the type of government that the Constitution brought into existence in 1787, no one can deny that it was truly the most unusual and ... [click for more]

Ruby Ridge: The Coverup Continues

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THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUBY RIDGE CASE during the past year further illustrate why this is a landmark case defining how much deadly, arbitrary power federal agents shall possess over private citizens. The Ruby Ridge case involved the entrapment of Randy Weaver on firearms charges by an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), false ATF reports ... [click for more]

A Time for Calm Reflection and Adherence to Law

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The Founders of our nation understood two principles: first, that the greatest threat to the freedom and well-being of the citizenry lies not with some foreign enemy but rather with one’s own government, and, second, that this threat is greatest during times of crisis. That is why our ancestors refused to institute a government of ... [click for more]

Preserving Property through Freedom

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THE WASHINGTON TIMES recently reported on a controversy in Winchester, Virginia, that holds important lessons on freedom, property, and the role of government in the lives of the citizenry. The issue involves the use of 70 acres of property on which occurred the single largest cavalry charge of the Civil War. The owner of the property, a Virginia corporation, has ... [click for more]

Senate Farce: Reining in the FBI

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THE FOUNDING FATHERS did not create a national police force. Since Prohibition, however, federal law enforcement agencies have multiplied like mushrooms. Unfortunately, there has been no parallel growth in either curiosity or competence by the legislative branch. Charles Carroll of Maryland, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, declared that it was the task of elected representatives “to ... [click for more]

Liberty and the Constitution

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ONE OF THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS in the United States is that people’s rights come from the Constitution. Without the Constitution, it is believed, people wouldn’t have such rights as freedom of expression and religion. People should be grateful to the Founding Fathers, it is said, for establishing the vehicle by which people could have such rights as life, ... [click for more]
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