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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

PATRIOT ACT: When it comes to civil liberties, my instincts tend to be broadly libertarian. I vote for freedom. Freedom and security, however, are best understood as dance partners: one leads while the other goes with the flow. Most of the time I want freedom to be the alpha dancer. Our need to be smart and effective toward Islamist fascism is no ordinary dance. For that reason I favor the extention of the Patriot Act with this proviso: the legislation should include a sunset provision. Though I believe defeating the merchants of terror and the ideology they represent is likely to be a long-term mission, I'm just not comfortable with the idea of making the Patriot Act permanent. How often do governments hand back freedoms? Not often. It's true that when Islamist terror no longer exists — when that day comes — Congress can always revoke the Patriot Act entirely. But I prefer an approach that actively reconsiders the Act's provisions each time the sunset provisions approach. Still and all, I'm with Ed Koch when he says: Patriot Act Imperfect, But Desperately Needed In Time of War.