“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety.” -- Benjamin Franklin


America Stands 
 for Liberty

How You Can Protect and Expand Our Civil Liberties  


What you'll find here:

·        Essential, up-to-date information on the current threats to civil liberties

·        ACTION STEPS you can take to preserve and expand liberty in America

·        Reliable sources for remaining informed

NEW! Jarret Wollstein reports on several astonishing recent events which show how much of our liberty we have lost since 9/11 -- and how much more we are about to lose, in Every Evil Thing: The Legacy of the "War on Terrorism." Dramatic and shocking!


Make a difference! We will regularly offer Liberator Online readers and visitors to this page the chance to take a simple online action that can make a difference. With tens of thousands of readers and visitors, we can strike a powerful blow for liberty together.

Our current Liberty Action Step:

SEND A FREE FAX to halt “Total Information Awareness”

Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) has introduced legislation that would enact a moratorium on the tyrannical Defense Department program called “Total Information Awareness” (TIA). 

TIA would allow the government to collect personal information on every person in the USA. 

The system, which includes an advance form of “data-mining,” would effectively provide government officials with immediate access to our personal information including: our communications (phone calls, emails and web searches), financial records, purchases, prescriptions, school records, medical records and travel history. 

Under TIA all aspects of our personal and professional lives could be catalogued and available to government officials. 

The ACLU (we are not connected in any way with the ACLU) offers more information on this -- and an easy two-step process by which you can send a FREE FAX to your Senators urging them to support and co-sponsor the moratorium legislation.
            * * * * *

Previous Action Steps: 

Send free faxes or emails on current civil liberties issues to your Congressional representatives!

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers you a chance to quickly and easily send personalized faxes or email to your Congressmen on key civil liberties issues, including privacy, free speech, immigration, criminal justice issues, and more.

It only takes a moment to send these, and Congressmen pay close attention to what their constituents say.

Go here now and discover how you can use this powerful tool.

NOTE: We do NOT endorse the ACLU’s positions on all of the issues at this site, though we certainly agree with some. We are presenting information about this site for informational purposes. Make use of it in the way you think best for liberty. Thank you!


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Why the Advocates for Self-Government created this page

In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, many politicians are using the crisis as an excuse to push for severe restrictions on basic American civil liberties. Many of these are the same old proposals friends of liberty have been fighting for years, now dusted off and re-introduced as “anti-terrorism” bills. Others are new threats.

National IDs, increased government spying on citizens, severe restrictions on crucial Bill of Rights freedoms, a dangerous expansion of the power of the executive branch of government…. this is some of what we’re facing post-Sept. 11.

The result: many voices from across the political spectrum are saying we are facing the worst civil liberties crisis in decades. (See below for some examples.)

This page is our effort to help liberty-minded people learn about the grave new threats to our civil liberties -- and DO SOMETHING about it.

Defending liberty, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is the highest form of patriotism.

As libertarians, we proudly affirm the right of each individual to freely live in any peaceful way he or she chooses, as long as they respect the rights of others.

We welcome people of all political persuasions to join us in protecting America’s precious heritage of individual liberty.

If you care about liberty in America, please read on.

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Prominent voices from across the political spectrum say “Yes.” Here are some examples:

The ACLU says we’re facing: “…one of the most serious civil liberties crises our nation has ever seen.”

NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre says:: "We've witnessed a fire sale of American liberties at bargain basement prices, in return for the false promise of more security...The America being designed right now won't resemble the America we've been defending….The danger isn't that Big Brother may storm the castle gates. The danger is that Americans don't realize that he is already inside the castle walls."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation warns: “The civil liberties of ordinary Americans have taken a tremendous blow….”

U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) -- the only libertarian in Congress -- says: "Our forefathers would think it's time for a revolution. This is why they revolted in the first place...They revolted against much more mild oppression." And: “A danger also exists that the United States is becoming a police state.”

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Current threats to liberty -- and resources for more information and change

Please note: We believe the information below is vital to the understanding of the current civil liberties crisis. We have made no attempt to be comprehensive, but instead to gather the most useful information from a wide variety of sites and sources. Of course, some of the resources below may also include materials on positions we do not share.

Please note: This page will be updated frequently with new action steps, new information, resources and commentary, so please check back. To stay informed about additions to this page, please subscribe to our newsletter, The Liberator Online.


THE CRISIS: The push is on greater than ever before for a diabolical national ID “smart card” that will use “biometric identification methods” like fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans, face scans or even DNA samples to identify you. The card will be loaded with intimate information about your health, your personal life, your finances. The information will be stored in massive state and federal databases.

Make no mistake: a national ID card will be a major step towards the end of liberty.


* “National ID Cards: 5 Reasons Why They Should Be Rejected.” Short, persuasive talking points from the ACLU. Also on this page: links to other ACLU features on national ID

* “National ID Cards Won’t Work: New Technologies, Same Bad Idea.” Short, fact-filled Cato Institute demolition of the case for national IDs. “If federal policymakers begin requiring that all Americans carry a national ID card, it could constitute one of the most significant increases in government power in our nation's history.”

* “Why Not Implant a Microchip?” …instead of a national ID. The author of this Cato Institute short commentary is joking…but the feds aren’t. It’s a natural progression: from mandatory Social Security numbers to mandatory IDs to mandatory implanted microchips. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

* "National ID card won't stop terrorists, but will infringe on Americans' liberty," says the Libertarian Party in a media release.


THE CRISIS: The “USA PATRIOT Act” threatens the most fundamental liberties of all Americans.

If “truth in labeling” laws applied to political bills, the awful post-Sept. 11 USA PATRIOT Act -- which is now law -- would be called “The ANTI-Patriot Act.” It is nothing less than an all-out-assault on our most basic liberties -- and will do little or nothing to protect Americans from terrorist attacks.

The USA PATRIOT ACT is the centerpiece of the threat to American liberties. It was passed with lies about its contents, and most Congressmen who voted for it didn’t even have a chance to read it. (Find this hard to believe? See the Resources below.)

It has made dangerous institutional changes to our very form of government -- changes that must be fought and repealed.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) -- the only libertarian in Congress, and a fearless champion of freedom -- says this bill is “undermining the Constitution.” In fact, when asked by Insight, a leading conservative magazine, what the Founding Fathers would think of this law, Congressman Paul replied:

"Our forefathers would think it's time for a revolution. This is why they revolted in the first place...They revolted against much more mild oppression."

Here are some of the things the Act allows, according to the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT -- see just below for more on them).

According to CDT, the Act:

· Allows government agents to collect undefined new information about Web browsing and e-mail without meaningful judicial review;

· Allows Internet Service Providers, universities, network administrators to authorize surveillance of "computer trespassers" without a judicial order;

· Overrides existing state and federal privacy laws, allowing FBI to compel disclosure of any kind of records, including sensitive medical, educational and library borrowing records, upon the mere claim that they are connected with an intelligence investigation;

· Allows law enforcement agencies to search homes and offices without notifying the owner for days or weeks after, not only in terrorism cases, but in all cases - the so-called "sneak and peek" authority;

· Allows FBI to share with the CIA information collected in the name of a grand jury, thereby giving the CIA the domestic subpoena powers it was never supposed to have;

· Allows FBI to conduct wiretaps and secret searches in criminal cases using the lower standards previously used only for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence.

(Source of the above bulleted points: CDT.)

Most of the new powers granted the government can be used against American citizens in routine criminal investigations completely unrelated to terrorism.

…..and that’s just a sample.

These new assaults on liberty will have to be challenged, fought, and repealed if America is to remain free.


* "Police State." This astonishing and shocking article from the respected conservative magazine Insight tells how the bill was conceived, passed, and how it threatens American liberty. Good starting place for info. 

* “The USA PATRIOT Act: We Deserve Better” by Robert A. Levy, Cato Institute. “If you think the Bill of Rights is just so much scrap paper, and the separation of powers doctrine has outlived its usefulness, then the USA PATRIOT Act is the right recipe to deal with terrorists. On the other hand, if you are concerned about Fifth Amendment protection of due process, and Fourth Amendment safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures, then you should be deeply troubled by the looming sacrifice of civil liberties at the altar of national security.” Details on some of the worst aspects of this wretched law.

* ACLU Statement: “[T]he so-called USA Patriot Act contains a large number of provisions that essentially destroy the check placed by the courts on summary executive action.”

* ACLU chart showing how the USA PATRIOT Act changes American surveillance laws for the worse

* How the USA PATRIOT Act affects online activities. In-depth analysis (with a useful short summary included) by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 

*"The USA Patriot Act: What's So Patriotic about Trampling on the Bill of Rights?" Strong and lengthy -- but very readable -- analysis of the Act by the Center for Constitutional Rights. "The Administration's blatant power grab, coupled with the wide array of anti-terrorism tools that the USA Patriot Act puts at its disposal, portends a wholesale suspension of civil liberties that will reach far beyond those who are involved in terrorist activities."

* In-depth and hard-hitting review of the USA PATRIOT Act prepared by the Center for Democracy and Technology. The text of the entire bill is reviewed, using underlining to show exactly how existing US law has been modified by the Act. Other material at this page comments on those changes and other startling pending and passed threats to civil liberties. Very valuable resource.


THE CRISIS: Government is demanding broad new powers to spy on citizens and otherwise invade their privacy. (See elsewhere on this page for a section devoted to the threat of national ID.)


* “Facial Recognition Software.” Short ACLU article on the dangers of this technology in the government’s hands. Links to related material also at this site.

* "Watching You: Systematic Federal Surveillance of Ordinary Americans." This Cato Institute briefing paper points out that, even before Sept. 11, the lives of ordinary Americans already were heavily monitored by the federal government. Linked through your Social Security number, labor, medical, education and financial databases empower the federal government to obtain a detailed portrait of any person: the checks he writes, the types of causes he supports, and what he says "privately" to his doctor.

* Cato Institute resources on civil liberties issues.


THE CRISIS: Government is demanding -- and receiving -- alarming new powers to monitor online activity of private citizens.


* "Eight Reasons the US Should Reject the International Cybercrime Treaty.” ACLU talking points on this US-sponsored invasion of cyberspace freedom. Good information in general on cyber-privacy.


THE CRISIS: Airlines must be secure, but not in a way that threatens our liberties.


* “Airport Security: Increased Safety Need Not Come at the Expense of Civil Liberties.” Short ACLU backgrounder on airport security issues and concerns.


THE CRISIS: Some post-Sept. 11 legislation, and the mood of many in government, threaten or intimidate people’s right to free speech.


* “Chilling Effects of Anti-Terrorism: The National Security Toll on Freedom of Expression.” The right to free speech faces the strongest challenges during times of crisis. This site by the Electronic Frontier Foundation attempts to list sites that have been shut down by the U.S. government, other governments, ISPs, or because of intimidation because of controversial views. It lists other post-Sept.11 online “chilling effects” as well.


THE CRISIS: Feeling a draft? Discussion of a draft is back on the national agenda -- for the first time since Vietnam. The military enslavement of young Americans is looming.


* “Fighting the War against Terrorism: Elite Forces, Yes; Conscripts, No” by Doug Bandow. This outstanding post-Sept. 11 Cato Institute policy analysis shows why a draft is unnecessary, destructive and immoral. “Most important…conscription would undermine the very individual liberty that makes our nation worth defending.”

*“Statement Opposing Military Conscription” delivered in the U.S. House of Representatives March 20, 2002 by Congressman Ron Paul. Wonderful! 


THE CRISIS: The executive branch of the government is threatening to usurp Congress’s Constitutional role as the only branch of government that can declare war. This is unconstitutional and threatens the system of checks and balances the Framers intended to protect our freedoms.


* “War with Iraq: Who Decides?” Cato Institute short commentary. “But where is it written that one man, the president, gets to decide whether the United States goes to war with Iraq? Not in the Constitution, certainly. The Constitution gives the war power to Congress…. The suggestion that the president should have unilateral power to make war was decisively rejected at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.”

* “Declaring and Waging War: The U.S. Constitution” from Future of Freedom Foundation. “When a U.S. president wages what might otherwise be considered a just war, if he has failed to secure a congressional declaration of war, he is waging an illegal war - illegal from the standpoint of our own legal and governmental system.”


THE CRISIS: The War on Drugs -- which, since its beginnings in the early 20th century, has ALWAYS been fought with lies -- is getting new impetus from a new multi-million dollar White House / Drug Czar ad campaign linking casual drug use to support for terrorism. In truth, of course, the only reason terrorists sell drugs is because the Drug War creates a massive black market that rewards them for doing so. It’s the Drug War itself that’s to blame. But millions of Americans don’t know that -- and are falling for this diabolical new tactic to fan the flames of the Drug War that has already severely damaged our Bill of Rights.


* “The Bush Administration’s 'Drugs = Terrorism' Fraud.” Future of Freedom Foundation article debunks the Drug Warrior’s preposterous new propaganda. “U.S. drug laws have done far more to empower terrorists than Bush & Co. would like to admit. Drug laws are far more effective at putting profit into narcotics than law enforcement is at taking the profit out.”

* "Terrorism and the Drug War." Future of Freedom Foundation. "Let's be blunt: every U.S. drug czar has been an unwitting financier for terrorists."


THE CRISIS: The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have spawned new anti-immigration sentiment in some corners. Increasing calls are being heard for restrictions on the freedom of immigrants and restrictions on immigration. Many of these proposals would affect not only immigrants but non-immigrants as well.


* “Don't Blame Immigrants for Terrorism.” Excellent short Cato Institute commentary. “Immigrants come here to realize the American dream; terrorists come to destroy it. We should not allow America's tradition of welcoming immigrants to become yet another casualty of September 11.”

* “The Immigration Scam.” 2000 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Harry Browne explains in this short article how proposed immigration controls will be used against American citizens, why they won’t protect us, and why they aren’t needed anyway.

* "Congressman Uses Sept. 11 Terrorism to Advance Anti-Immigration Agenda." Another excellent short Cato Institute commentary. “To honor all victims of Sept. 11, the U.S. government must do more to apprehend terrorists while keeping our door open to peaceful, hard-working immigrants who come here to build a better life.”

* Immigration Rights and the USA Patriot Act (scroll down to Section C). Midway through the Center for Constitutional Rights’ multi-part, hard-hitting analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act is a discussion of how the Act will affect the rights of US immigrants. (It’s on their page 4.) “The USA PATRIOT Act deprives immigrants of their due process and First Amendment rights…”

* “Keep the Borders Open” by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation. Fine short defense of why immigration is essential to America. Good introduction to this concept. “The moral question is: Why shouldn’t a person be free to cross a border in search of work to sustain his life, to open a business, to tour, or simply because he wants to? Or to put it another way, under what moral authority does any government interfere with the exercise of these rights?”


THE CRISIS: New laws and new proposals threaten our Bill of Rights guarantees of fair trials.


* ACLU Troubled by Reports that Potentially Secret Military Tribunals Could Place Life or Death of Defendant Solely in Hands of President. “The American Civil Liberties Union today said (April 2002) it was deeply troubled by media reports that the military tribunals ordered last year by the President would allow the executive branch sole authority over the imposition of the death penalty and could easily be held in secret….”

* Military tribunals and civilian justice. Lengthy ACLU analysis (in the form of a letter) with much information on indefinite detention, use of secret evidence, and other important issues

* “Tribunals, Trials and Tribulations” by Robert A. Levy, Cato Institute. First published in the Wall Street Journal. “I also have great sympathy for the Constitution, which safeguards the personal liberties that sustain a free society, like the right to due process. The Bill of Rights, after all, is more than scrap paper. And it applies to "persons," not just U.S. citizens.”

* Anti-Terrorism Law Once Again Undermines Role of Judiciary. ACLU statement: “[T]he so-called USA Patriot Act contains a large number of provisions that essentially destroy the check placed by the courts on summary executive action.” 

* “Secret Trials Endanger Security” by Harry Browne, 2000 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. Excellent short article. “Why are the Bill of Rights, open trials, the rule of law and the traditional American rules of evidence important?”

* “Justice for Terrorists.” Loads of good information at this Cato Institute round-up site. 



Please don't keep the information on this page to yourself! Share it with others. Some suggestions:

*Put the URL for this page, along with a short sentence about it, as your signature in your email. Sample: "The civil liberties crisis in America: you can do something about it."

* Link to this page from your Web site.

* Speak up about these issues at your job, with your family and friends --  wherever else you interact with people.

* Write letters to the editor making one or more of the points on this page.

*Call radio talk shows and make one or more of the points on this page.

* Take part in chat rooms, newsgroups, mailing list discussions, and other forums where you can make a significant impact.

* Write letters to your local, state, and national representatives. They do listen!


HOW TO CONTACT LOCAL STATE AND NATIONAL POLITICIANS AND MEDIA: Learn about Congressional delegations, state and local officials, and media resources in your area with the help of the OMB Watch web site. Their database contains state-by-state contact information, email and offline. To access this information, click the “Take Action” tab at the upper right of their home page.

FULL TEXTS OF BILLS: “Thomas” is the U.S. government's online legislative resources. It was named after Thomas Jefferson, who would be horrified by almost everything the federal government is doing. Full texts of pending, passed and expired bills available here.* * *


There are many good sources of information on this. Here are some of our favorites:

THE LIBERATOR ONLINE: To keep up-to-date with changes to this page and to learn more about how to communicate the ideas of liberty in the most effective ways possible, please subscribe to our free email newsletter, The Liberator Online. It’s the world’s largest libertarian email newsletter, with many features of interest to anyone concerned with liberty. Subscribe now. 

FREEDOM NEWS DAILY: This free daily email newsletter brings links to news stories of interest to anyone concerned about liberty. This is an excellent resource and their links to coverage of the terrorist attack and its aftermath are very useful. It is published by Free-Market.Net, of which the Advocates is a partner. We recommend it and rely upon it as one important source for information for this page. 

ANTI-WAR.COM: Anti-war.com is an indispensable source of information on non-interventionist foreign policy issues and related matters. Be warned: some of their material is controversial and very opinionated. They offer a wealth of material from many perspectives. They have a free daily email newsletter.

CATO DAILY DISPATCH: This free daily email newsletter brings you the latest doings and writings from this leading libertarian think tank, including commentary on the civil liberties crisis.

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The material on this page was compiled, written and edited by James W. Harris.

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