Case in point: Charles Krauthammer
Pretty sure he's one of these guys.
Charles Krauthammer: Ebola vs. civil libertiesHere's a summary: Aieee!! We're all going to die unless we shred the Bill of Rights!
First, he spends several paragraphs complaining about the Federal Government's response to the virus. Then he gets to the point:
In the face of a uniquely dangerous threat, we Americans have trouble recalibrating our traditional (and laudable) devotion to individual rights and civil liberties. That is the fundamental reason we’ve been so slow in getting serious about Ebola.
Seriously. This country has survived outbreaks of polio, the Spanish Flu, AIDS and cholera, but this disease which has killed exactly one US citizen, this is so uniquely dangerous that we must re-examine our entire approach to governing.
Pham’s identity was initially withheld. In normal circumstances, privacy deserves absolute respect. But these are not normal circumstances. We’re talking about a possible epidemic by an unseen pathogen that kills 70 percent of its victims. Contact tracing is the key to stopping it, we’ve been told. What faster way to alert anyone who might have had contact with Pham than releasing her name? Why lose 24 hours during which people have to guess if they’d had contact with someone carrying the virus?
Interesting. You say privacy normally deserves absolute respect. I don't remember you having any objection to Robert Bork who claimed that there is no right to privacy. I fact, I googled "Krauthammer + Bork" and found nothing but laudatory things you've written about him over the years. But I guess it doesn't matter since the first time you wet your bed over a scarrrry virus you're ready to chuck privacy overboard any way.
When Duncan was first hospitalized, the CDC said it would locate his contacts and check regularly for symptoms. For the secondary and tertiary contacts, this made sense. But not for those in the inner “concentric circle.” They had had close contact with Duncan and were living in an apartment requiring massive decontamination. They should have been quarantined immediately.
It’s understandable. Quarantine is the ultimate violation of civil liberties. Having committed no crime, having done no wrong, you are sentenced to house arrest or banishment. It’s unfair. It’s, well, un-American. But when an epidemic threatens, we do it because we must.
I would disagree. I don't think that quarantine is "un-American." If someone has a highly contagious, incurable disease, quarantine seems perfectly reasonable. Ebola is not that type of disease, so no quarantine would be necessary, but if it were, it certainly seems allowable.
It's been done to death.
But you say it is not only a violation of civil liberties, but the ultimate violation. You say it is un-American. Yet you say "do it!" You're that ready to discard (other people's) rights as Americans?
President Obama, in his messianic period, declared that choosing between security and liberty was a false choice. On the contrary. It is the eternal dilemma of every free society. Politics is the very process of finding some equilibrium between these two competing values.
And yet, every right-wing moron loves to trot out the Ben Franklin quote:
As long as the "liberty" being given up is the freedom to die of an easily preventable condition because you can't afford a doctor, then "liberty uber alles!" Until something scary happens, then they demand a government crackdown on all this damn liberty!
Regarding terrorism, we’ve developed a fairly reasonable balance.
Seriously? Everyone's phone is tapped, they can read every e-mail, your library records and internet search history are available for scrutiny and you think we've achieved a "reasonable balance?"
Regarding terrorism, we’ve developed a fairly reasonable balance. But it took time. With Ebola, we don’t have time. Viruses don’t wait. The sooner we reset the balance — the sooner we get serious — the safer we will be.
Okay, fine. But I better never hear you complaining about how the big bad government is impinging on your personal freedoms ever agian.