This web site has been prepared to provide information about a range of issues related to "Homeland Security," "The Patriot Act," and "Civil Liberties." My intent is not to "scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty." The goal is to provide information that can empower site visitors who are interested in reviewing, and critically thinking, about the issues. I hope visitors leave this site with an informed opinion about the issues presented on these pages. Each page includes "reflection questions" that can be used for individual learning or incorporated into a course assignment.
Since the events of 9/11, the federal government has been significantly restructured. In many cases, this restructuring has resulted in increases in the government's ability to collect information about citizens and others. Some suggest that this is necessary. Others argue that this is a necessary evil that citizens should accept, at least during a time of crisis. Others argue that such severe threats to our civil liberties cannot be justified in any situation. Some even suggest that the administration is shamelessly using 9/11 as an excuse to do what they were inclined to do anyway.
The truth lies somewhere between these extremes - and everyone is likely to come to a different "truth." This site includes topically arranged discussion and links. The links are intended to provide a range of perspectives. As with any learning experience, it is helpful to keep an open mind as you search for your truth. The reflection questions do not lead to clear answers. Think through the issues, examine your feelings, and question whether you are "filtering" information as a result of personal bias.
As we know, much of what can be found on the internet would not be considered "scholarly." In contrast to scholarly journals, internet content is not always subjected to peer review. The links included in this presentation were selected, in part, because of the quality of the content found at the sites. Although each site may not be fit your definition of "quality," I hope you find that the links provide valuable information and perspectives. Remember that sites may contain valid information even if that information runs counter to your beliefs.
Finally, many of the links included in this presentation could be defined as critical. In part, this is due to the nature of the internet. People and organizations who are happy with the status quo do not typically start a web site to tell everyone how well things are going. Critical information is also included as a counterbalance to information found in media and government sources.
This site includes this introduction and four additional pages. Links to each page are found below and at the top of each of these pages. The "Civil Liberties" section includes general information about U.S. Constitutional law, civil rights, and civil liberties. The "Homeland Security" section presents information about The Patriot Act and the state of civil liberties in 2003. The third section, titled "Why Now?," moves to a discussion of the combination of events that have allowed such rapid, and wide reaching, alterations of civil liberties. This section also includes a discussion of limits placed on civil liberties during times of war or crisis. The "Challenges" section includes links related to various efforts to protect civil liberties. A list of addition readings is also included.
I hope you find this site interesting and educational. You are encouraged to provide feedback to Kenneth Mentor.
This work is shared under a Creative Commons License.