Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Patriot Act Is Evil, But All Those Other Laws Are Just Gosh Darn Perfect

Orin Kerr on Sex, Drugs, and the Patriot Act. Apparently, a couple on a airplane got a little too frisky and was charged with violating the Patriot Act for threatening a stewardess who asked them to cool it down. Professor Kerr's point is to defend the Patriot Act, by pointing out that this couple could have been charged with this crime years before the Patriot Act was ever passed.

Generally, I'm sympathetic to the Patriot Act. (If one can be sympathetic to an inanimate act of Congress.) The Patriot Act gets a lot of flack- maybe some of it is well deserved, but most of it isn't. There are thousands of bad laws on the books, and there are hundreds of laws that restrict our rights in ways far worse than the Patriot Act ever can, yet all we here from the media is criticism of the Patriot Act.

But the real interesting thing about Professor Kerr's post are the problems it shows with our law making process. I guarantee you that the neither Patriot Act or the original statute mentioned was geared toward the sort of behavior described above. Yet this is how the law works- We get far broader provisions than what was ever originally intended. And this is why I am a libertarian and this is why I urge caution to all those who get excited about new laws being passed.

To all those who like to point out the various problems with the Patriot Act and the fact that Congress never bothered to read the thing before it was passed, get a clue. It's not just the Patriot Act- this is how all laws work.


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