Invading Privacy And Liberal Profs
Wednesday - January 04, 2006
This is the way every country that invokes invasive peeks at its citizens starts out.
A little surveillance, a few visits from the FBI, signs some-body’s opening your mail, a small and light-less airplane circling at night. Some arrests. Some nasty interrogations.
It’s all meant to protect the rest of us, of course. And I know that some of you who fly in circles on just a right-side wing will point out that al Qaida hasn’t hit us in 52 months.
I guess you have to make a choice if you want to live with privacy guaranteed or if you’re willing to accept whatever it takes to make sure the police can nab the bad guys.
The feds wiretap Americans without a court order. Federal spooks have been doing secret radiation monitoring of mosques, homes and office buildings in Washington and suburban Maryland and Virginia. The sniffers tiptoe around the law by only using driveways, sidewalks and parking lots generally accessible to the public. Muslim Americans are the targets.
An NYPD helicopter videotaping protesters with a night-vision camera logged four minutes of an ordinary couple making out on a Second Avenue rooftop.
Undercover New York cops have been joining protest groups, carrying signs, yelling, wearing agitator buttons - all while they are building a file of names and photos.
Yes, I like being protected - but by the Constitution and not by checking on what books I’ve borrowed at the Kaimuki library.
It always starts this way and ends with a knock on the door. “FBI, can we talk to you a minute?”
I know because I once had that knock and heard that line. I’d asked questions of a Navy guy at a party about new A-37 fighter planes going to Vietnam. The FBI wanted to know why and the Honolulu agents were not smiling as they interrogated me for their file on Robert O. Jones.
Another big political blowup in Pennsylvania, where state law-makers are inquiring if professors promote liberal positions at state universities.
Most surveys show that college professors do come with heavy liberal baggage and overwhelmingly vote Democrat.
The Keystone State legislators want to know if some are forcing their biases on students. I’m sure some are. But that’s best handled by department chairs, deans and other administrators, not by lawmakers.
The goal of a good university should be to pass on knowledge, encourage open and fearless discussion, and promote the ability to make intelligent decisions by sifting through fact and fiction.
Researchers may be right that professorial Democrats prevail over Republicans 3-1 in classes such as economics and 30-1 in the social sciences.
But any professor who can’t teach in a university-approved manner should be fired by his immediate employer, not investigated by grandstanding legislators.
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