I previously discussed the slew of recent conservatives who has “had a change of heart” on equal rights of gays and lesbians after a family member who out as homosexual. Like some conservative women who reject most privacy principles except abortion rights, it is hard to celebrate belated endorsements of civil liberties which happen to benefit these politicians or their families. I had the same reaction to some journalists who gave only passing attention to President Obama’s various attacks on civil liberties over the last four years. However, now that his Administration has turned on journalists, we are seeing editorials like today’s New York Times column stating “the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.”
This sense of outrage is justified. The investigation of AP and Fox reporters is one of the greatest attacks on a free press in modern history. However, for civil libertarians, it would have been more fulfilling to see this type of outrage over torture, warrantless surveillance, kill lists and the rest. It should not take a fire on your roof, to become concerned about arson.
The same can be said of Democratic members of Congress who have been mumbling expressions of concern after years to staring at their feet amid criticism of Obama by civil libertarians. One can only imagine their response if George Bush had taken these abusive steps.
Of course, civil libertarians are used to having transient friends. If only everyone’s interests could threatened at the same time . . . then we might actually have the votes to protect all of our constitutional rights.
Source: NY Times