faux outrage

Outrage after outrage! Impeach the President! Oh my how the President, that Chimpy McBushHitler greedy powergrabber is stomping on the rights of the world’s citizens and wantonly killing everyone and spying on the rest!

The power-mad Bushies have done this in a diabolical attempt to get early warning of terrorists preparing to use a nuclear or dirty bomb against an American city. According to the story, this program is fraught with all sorts of subtle privacy issues.

Mac Johnson talks about how Bush Violates Terrorists’ Nuclear Privacy (Human Events 05dc26). This is another story about how the US is pulling information from the ether to find terrorists and prevent attacks that is being taken as an assault on civil rights and liberties.

The reason many searches are regulated by constitutional law is they can impose a significant burden upon the searched, and the search can reveal much more than its target. For example, having a policeman search your body cavities or rifle through your personal possessions is potentially unpleasant and demeaning and could lead to the revelation of personal information unrelated to any legal investigation. But what can measuring roadside radiation levels reveal — other than your possession of materials causing unusual roadside radiation levels?

The 4th ammendment says “unreasonable searches and seizures.” There is a legitimate need for an honest debate about what is reasonable. This honest debate must be based on a real world reference of the needs of society as a whole balanced against the conveniences of the individual. The baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater.

The degree to which the mainstream media’s hatred of President Bush has pushed it into a state of logical incoherence is simply amazing. But even more amazing is that this incoherence is not lessened even by the basic human desire to protect innocent people’s lives. “Exposing” the government’s radiation monitoring program in such detail will not help the public fend off any real assault on our liberties. Neither does it contribute to any significant political debate. It won’t even harm Bush politically. All it does is inform our terrorist enemies what measures we have taken to catch them before they can harm us, and allow them to attempt more effective countermeasures.

The picture of Elian Gonzales was famous because it touched on an image of the invasion of the home by jack booted thugs. That episode didn’t get much MSM outrage. The case of the heat sensors looking for hidden marijuana gardens is another where looking inside the home was considered innapropriate. Then there was the taping of the Gingrich cell phone conversation where the outrage wasn’t on violtation of law but on the content of the conversation.

Now we have usage of information or evidence placed outside the home – intercepted communications or radiation – being used as instigations for outrage. Issues of war versus criminality and succeeding utilization of information gathered is being ignored. The degree of perturbation of the individuals or their defined property during a search is being ignored. Prior debate in court is ignored.

Any wonder why an impression of faux outrage is a reasonable perception?

UPDATE: also see Dr. Sanity’s Hostile Beyond Reason for a view about what this might mean.

Comments are closed.