Blogs > Liberty and Power > Back Off Man - I'm a Government Lawyer

Jul 28, 2004 11:14 am

Back Off Man - I'm a Government Lawyer

Fans of the movie Ghostbusters may remember an early scene in which Bill Murray is in the New York Public Library hunting down a ghost. He interviews one of the librarians and asks her some, well inappropriate questions, which prompts the supervisor of the library to say"what has that got to do with it?" Murray's character, a hack academic replies"Back off man, I'm a scientist."

It is with similar logic that many lifetime hangers-on at the Justice Department argue in favor of the Patriot Act. Take this article by Paul Rosenweig defending the Patriot Act as a vital life saving part of our war on terror. Rosenweig sets aside the potential for gross violations of our civil liberties in the act by arguing that all we really need to do is trust the government officials to use the act responsibly. Back off man, we're government lawyers. When is the last time a government lawyer has done something questionable with substantial power over my civil liberties? He just forgets to mention that this argument disregards about 10,000 years of human history that shows what trusting the government with tremendous powers to violate civil liberties will get you - tremendous violations of civil liberties.

Of course the author himself has been in government virutally his entire adult life, served with Ken Starr, and generally has a vested interest in defending the integrity of people for whom he may one day be working again when a Democrat gets back in the White House and it's time to launch more independent investigations. The lifetime government leeches can tell us to trust them, but some of us are crazy enough to challenge their logic, motivations, and right to hold unlimited power over us. It's just too bad that they aren't as funny as Bill Murray.

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