The controversy over the TSA’s new tactics in screening airline passengers has put the same progressives who were against the violation of civil liberties during the Bush administration into somewhat of a dilemma: Criticize the administration for its invasive pat down and scanning procedures or support it as necessary and look like hypocrites. The latter seems to be the tact most taken.
This has led more ‘progressive’ figures like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Ed Shultz to support the clear violation of the Fourth Amendment in the name of security. Matthews suggested that the Obama administration had no choice but to implement these measures, because if there were to be another terrorist attack, they would be blamed for not keeping Americans sufficiently safe. Shultz expressed on air the confusing position that resorting to profiling was “trading liberty for security,” but the invasive pat downs are justified because only around two percent of Americans are having to endure it. He even stated it was OK because counter-terrorism experts say it is necessary.
The ‘progressive’ among us have now hypocritically voiced support for a violation of civil liberties all in the name of security — something they would have decried the government for under the previous administration. One can’t help but wonder how conservatives would have behaved had these pat downs taken place under the previous administration. Sadly, they would have more than likely supported them.
Hypocrisy is partial to no party or ideology. Those in power become so drunk with that power that they are willing to throw away their basic principles and violate the Constitution in order to justify their power.
But the amount of hypocrisy and awkward justifications for this in the name of keeping us safe does not mask the clear words of the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Power corrupts even those who previously may have supported ideals of limited government in an area. An early example of this in our country’s history was the passage of the Sedition Act — punishing speech critical of government officials — by some of the same men who had earlier supported adoption of the First Amendment.
In either situation, then and now, it is the job of the people to hold those in power accountable. The government can’t be trusted to police itself.