The Chicato Tribune ran an article today in defense of the Patriot act. Unintentionally, they provided quite sufficient justification for revoking the act:
[I]t's a voluminous measure with dozens of provisions, many of which are exceedingly complex and technical. But its impenetrability has made it vulnerable to caricature by critics of the administration who portray it as the monster that ate our privacy and liberty.Easy to fix, that. Repeal the damn thing, and bring up the laws on a point-by-point basis that isn't impenetrable. Then we can evaluate every point and decide which parts of this 'voluminous monster' we actually want.
A free citizenry ought to be able to understand the laws that apply to it. If it can't, the laws are too complicated. We've been there in America for quite a while, and it's a serious problem.
It's a problem because, if you can't understand the law, you can't do a citizen's duty. You can't perform your duty to obey the law, because you don't understand exactly what the law is; you can't perform your duty to hold the government to the law, because you don't know what the limits are; nor can you perform your duty to serve as a juror, which requires that you judge both the question of whether the law was violated as well as the question of whether the law ought to apply. Every duty you have as a citizen passes beyond your means.
A citizen who does not and can not perform his duties is not a citizen, except in name. Those duties, and the powers that go with them, must still be executed. That power therefore passes to a class other than the class of citizen: to the class of lawyers, perhaps, or political operatives, or jurists. The power to interpret the law is as great as the power to write the law, and in such a society, that power passes away from the citizen jury, and comes to rest in the hands of the mandarins.
The health of the Republic requires us to guard jealously not only our rights, but also our duties. I oppose the Patriot Act, and all similar acts, "merely" because it is too complicated. The consequences of that fact are as great a threat to the Bill of Rights, and to the nature of the Republic, as exists.