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The Uniting and Strengthening America by Supplying Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. better known as the USA PATRIOT Act. or merely the PATRIOT Act was introduced on October 24. 2001. merely 45 yearss after the annihilating terrorists onslaughts of 9/11. It passed about nem con. with merely one individual sum in both the House or Representatives and the Senate vote against it. This jurisprudence has many facets. but possibly the most controversial is the mandate of surveillance processs. and the legitimacy of these commissariats in respects to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The followers is an scrutiny of the moral and homeland security deductions this Act has on the American people and the American Constitution. To better understand the Fourth Amendment. we must look at its historical beginnings. While still under British regulation. the settlers were subjected to general warrants and “writs of assist” which gave the authorities cover power to seek unspecified people and belongings st their ain discretion.

This allowed the authorities ( at the clip. the King of England ) to smother the imperativeness. squelch political alteration. and by and large harass those that had differing and unpopular sentiments politically and socially. This was the ground that the Fourth Amendment was put into the Constitution. because citizens should non be searched when unless there is chance and due cause. This is besides why the First Amendment is so of import. because if the freedom of address and look is non honored. holding a different sentiment could be deemed “probable cause” . As the jurisprudence stands. US citizens have a right to experience and speech otherwise from the “normal” population without fright of being prosecuted for their beliefs. ( German. ACLU 2011 ; The US Constitution online ) Some argue that civil autonomies can and should be restrained during a crisis. particularly in a clip of war. but if citizens are entitled to certain rights and privileges during peace. are they non merely every bit entitled to these rights in a clip of war. when they are being asked to give. battle. and even decease to protect these freedoms?

Robert La Follette. a Congressman from Wisconsin. thought so. saying that. “Rather in clip of war the citizen must be more watchful to the saving of his right to command his authorities. He must be alert of the invasion of the military upon the civil power. ” ( La Follette. 1917 ) While he agrees that some autonomies must be relinquished temporarily for the common good when times call for it. he warns the citizen to mind of these processs which excused on the supplication of necessity in war clip. go the fixed regulation when the necessity has passed and normal conditions have been restored. ” Though the PATRIOT Act has “sunset dates” when the Torahs are no longer in consequence. the branchings of these Torahs will doubtless hold a durable consequence on the American populace. both judicially and morally. ( Sensenbrenner. 2001 Library of Congress. US Dept of Justice. 2001 ) The United States Constitution was written to procure several things. among them common defence and the “Blessings of Liberty” ( usconstitution. cyberspace. 2011 ) . The interior decorators of the fundamental law were so concerned with freedom that the word “liberty” was capitalized.

The Fourth Amendment decidedly grants the right to privateness. though non in so many words. There is besides non a inquiry that since the 9/11 onslaughts at that place have been more hunts and ictuss. more invasion into our belongings. and enlargement of the government’s rights to make so. To find the morality of these developments. the first inquiry is whether this right to privateness is a natural jurisprudence that has been officially acknowledged by adult male or semisynthetic jurisprudence. Hugo Grotius. the male parent of international jurisprudence. explained that all Torahs fall into these two classs. Laws of nature are. as the name implies. unchangeable. even by God. These Torahs are the corner points of a moral society ; the Declaration of Independence acknowledged these rights. “among these are Life. Liberty and the chase of Happiness. ” ( World Wide Web. ushistory. org. 20011 ) These are rights of nature. and can non be changed. But what other rights does is adult male of course entitled to? Is the right to privacy a God-given right or merely a volitional jurisprudence. a combative pick or sentiment that can be set aside or altered as demands and sentiments alteration? ( Christopher. 2004 )

These will Torahs are non merely arbitrary regulations that can be tossed aside at a moment’s notice. Grotius points out that it is in man’s nature to populate in a civil. governed society. and therefor his nature to obey the regulations of that society. Therefor voluntary regulations are an extension of the regulations of nature. The regulations of nature are the guiding principals. and the other regulations fill out the regulations of society. Russel Hardin points out in the Journal of Ethics that is is hard to provide both freedom and security. since neither can be wholly ; one can non be wholly free and wholly safe. ( Hardin. 2004 ) Thus a balance must be struck. but in the instance of the PATRIOT Act. the dual consequence must be weighed. The violation on civil autonomies can be condoned ethically if the positive effects outweigh the negative. and if any wrong-doing was unwilled. ( Christopher. 2004 p 262. ) The PATRIOT Act does look to take specific action First Amendment rights are non taken off: Before new surveillance steps and ordinances are even discussed. there is statement in Section 102 that says civil autonomies and rights of all citizens. careless faith or race. must be protected. of Section 214 expressly prohibitions surveillance techniques when grounds is“solely on the footing of activities protected by the first amendment to the U. S. Constitution” .

This seemingly includes telecasting. since overseas telegram subscriptions and film choices are besides excluded from the things that are allowed to be watched and seized for probe intents. Further protection of the inexperienced person in Sections 223. which warrants compensation for losingss to anyone enduring indirect harm due to probe or apprehensivenesss. for illustration the landlord’s door that was kicked in. or damage harm to wireless providers’ equipment. Section 223 besides expressed the right of any citizen to convey a civil suit against the authorities should any maltreatments of these new ordinances take topographic point. ( Sensenbrenner. 2001 Library of Congress. US Dept of Justice. 2001 ) The basic right to show oneself freely. a jurisprudence of nature. does non look to be violated. The right to privateness may or may non be a God-given right. but as in all affairs of morality. the demands of the many outweigh the demands of the few. The deduction of the PATRIOT Act on Homeland Security seems to be all positive. because no affair what else is does. the measure makes it easier to happen. run down. and gaining control terrorists.

From a security point of view. harassing or even wrongfully incarcerating a few guiltless people is better than allowing one guilty individual faux pas through the ruddy tape and commit a violent act. From this point of view. any individuals wrongly accused are non fring their lives. as they really good might were the same processs non in topographic point and a terrorists act was to go on. particularly that in recent old ages one terrorists counts for an norm of 100 deceases. ( Hardin. 2004 ) However. the Department of Homeland Security has non merely to place and get the better of the enemies of America. but “other dangers that threaten our State and our manner of life” ( Dept Homeland Security. 2008 ) Depending on what one’s reading on “our manner of life” the PATRIOT Act can be viewed as both observance and interrupting this promise the Department made to the American citizens. American’s value their freedom of address and look above about anything else. which is likely why we as a state are divided on about every national issue ( war. health care. the penal system. abortion. etc ) .

This is dry when one considers that in pattern. the mean observant citizen doesn’t ballot and is therefor is non actively involved in the authorities ; low elector turn-out has been a concern for some clip now. particularly in a non presidential-election twelvemonth. The American people have seemed to take a “laissez-faire” attack to their authorities. and similarly anticipate the authorities to make the same ; that is. merely to trouble oneself them when perfectly necessary. ( While this is a term largely used in economic sciences. the phrase translates to “let it be” or “leave it alone” . which is appropriate for this statement ) This could be considered to be an apathy on the American people’s portion. but the statement that our manner of life consists of being left entirely is a strong statement. As pointed at earlier. the Fourth Amendment was ratified to allow us be left entirely. If this is a cardinal portion of our society. so this is something the Department of Homeland Security has sworn to continue an protect. This makes their occupation and the occupations of jurisprudence enforcement harder. because happening a balance is hard. and when civil rights and terrorist act are both in the equation. the bets are much higher.

When analysing the impact of the PATRIOT Act. the moral deductions and the deductions to homeland security and national defence are both every bit complicated. Aside from the legitimacy statements for and against the PATRIOT Act. the fact that many of these ordinances and amendments are non lasting rises concern. If these “updates” were needed to happen and halt the terrorists. how will the Department of Homeland Security. the FBI and jurisprudence enforcement continue their mission of defence once the tools are no longer at their disposal? If these alterations and suspension of privateness were necessary in the aftermath of 9/11 merely to guarantee more freedom. so they should merely be impermanent. and stopped one time the province of normality is returned. In respects to morality. the PATRIOT Act is a merely. While the jurisprudence was non an act of war. it was a agencies used to contend a war. so Just War theory can be applied. Using the renters of the the Just War Theory. the PATRIOT Act has the right purpose. which is to halt violent. illegal terrorist activities before they happen.

This besides meets the “proportionality” demand. and the dual consequence. Proportionately. if the commissariats of this jurisprudence prevent even one onslaught from go oning. it is justified. particularly if a large-scale onslaught was stopped. because it did more good than injury. The Just War Theory besides states that war should be regarded as a tragic necessity ; I believe the same is true for any ordinances. limitations. or ensuing adversities placed on citizens ( non-combatants ) during the clip of war. In the wake of the 9/11 onslaughts. extremist alteration was seen as necessary. and the PATRIOT Act was pushed through less than two months after the onslaught occurred. While this strong grounds that this jurisprudence was passed about nem con by a authorities that was non believing with sound head. but still retrieving and full of emotion as a consequence of the onslaught. at the clip. this was deemed as necessary. ( Christopher. 2004. Ferraro. 2011 ) The legal facet of this jurisprudence is non as clear. Homeland security has benefited from the usage of the these new. less-constricting regulations and ordinances. but are they new Torahs sabotaging the really freedoms they are supposed to be protecting?

The American Civil Liberties Union felt that the Sections 213 and 215 violated the Fourth Amendments. and sued ; the instance is ongoing. ( German. ACLU 2011 ) Section 213 allows for a hold of presentment of warrants. In layman’s footings. the FBI can come in and seek the place or concern of a suspect without holding to declare their right to make so. This type of hold has been utile when groking drug traders. because presentment can give the wrongdoer a opportunity to destruct the grounds. It is difficult to conceive of anyone being able to destruct an luxuriant secret plan to perpetrate an act or terrorist act against the United States authorities or its citizens in the clip it takes to denote one’s authorization to come in and hunt. Section 215 allows the FBI to obtain a tribunal order that demands concern records perchance related to the instance ; a person’s bank history and other personal information is besides subjected to being searched and monitored. even if the individual in inquiry is non suspected of a offense.

Using the Just War Theory once more. the result of these guidelines must be examined. Again. the proportionality guideline comes to mind. Since the Department of Homeland Security is sworn to protect citizen’s right and life. a balance must be struck. where both can co-exist. The USA PATRIOT Act once more. was done with the right purpose during a clip of crisis and uncertainness. ( German. ACLU. 2011 Christopher. 2004 US Dept of Justice 2001. Library of Congress. US Dept of Justice ) As mentioned before. Grotius pointed out that we of course live in regulating societies. Therefore. he concluded. “neither individuals nor provinces have an absolute right to self- defence. . Thus the right of self-defence is limited at least to the extent that one can non enforce unreasonable dangers on other guiltless individuals to salvage oneself. ” ( Christopher. 2004 ) This principal is important to finding both the legal and moral legitimacy of the PATRIOT ACT. While abuses have been reported. the spirit of this jurisprudence is to protect the greater good. and the guiltless people in society.

The intent of this jurisprudence was to reconstruct peace and order to a society that was in upheaval. and to give better. more efficient tools to the proper governments responsible for their safety. viz. Department of Homeland Security. ( Christopher. 2004 US Dept of Justice 2001. Library of Congress. US Dept of Justice ) In decision. the USA PATRIOT Act is justified both lawfully and morally under the Just War Principals. The impermanent invasion into citizen’s lives was deemed necessary by proper authorization in order to reconstruct peace. order. and to protect citizens’ rights to liberty and life. The figure of lives saved by the PATRIOT Act is unknown and is impossible to cipher. since there is small manner to calculate how many people might hold been killed if a terrorists secret plan had gone unnoticed and been executed. However. it is sensible to presume that at least some lives were saved. and since there were no loss of life casualties. the good that came from this act outweigh the bad. Any incommodiousness or agony is justified because it is for the common good.

Morally. it is justified because each person and province must set the demand of society before their ain. Legally it is justified because in a democracy. the regulation of our land. the demands of the many will ever outweigh the demands of the few. When faced with authorities intervention into our private life. it is easy to go the victim. or to bury that one is non the most of import individual. The “downside” to all the rights and freedoms that Americans enjoy is that we frequently take them for granted or become selfish. unwilling to profess even a small and temporarily to protect our neighbours and therefor ourselves. because we find it inconvenient. The PATRIOT Act was designed to protect us from people desiring to make us harm motiveless. The universe has changed since 9/11 and we must accept this and travel frontward to happen the ideal balance of safety and freedom that is so elusive.


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