Naturally, someone like me can’t get too irate that Andrew McCarthy sounds dismissive and demeaning about someone he disagrees with. But I will point out that, for all the National Review’s posturing as the Pope of intellectual conservatism, when they deal with their enemies, they are just another blog.
McCarthy obviously hates the fact that Rand Paul has influence in the Republican Party. He should, because it means the National Review’s pro-war, pro-big-government days are numbered:
In what looks more like a publicity stunt than a serious legal challenge, Senator Rand Paul has filed a class-action lawsuit against President Obama and other top executive-branch officials, claiming that the National Security Agency’s metadata-collection program violates the Fourth Amendment.
McCarthy casually admits that the collection “may” be illegal. But the Fourth Amendment has nothing to do with anything, he claims.
I keep asking a simple question. No answer from Senator Paul so far, but I’ll keep trying. By its straightforward terms, the Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable searches of “their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” The metadata records collected by the NSA are not even Senator Paul’s own property; they belong to various phone companies (to whom the court’s Section 215 production orders are directed). So if we’re going to be constitutional conservatives — you know, faithful to the original meaning of the Framers’ handiwork — exactly what part of Senator Paul’s person, house, papers, or effects are business records that belong to a third party, not to him?
So if I send a message by private courier are the police free to detain the courier and read the message without a warrant? After all, the message is the property of a third party.
Next question: If I want to confidentially send money or a message by private courier, do the police have a right to learn about all my messaging without a warrant?
In one sense, McCarthy is right. No one should have an “expectation of privacy” anymore because the NSA has unilaterally removed any such thing from ever existing in the United States (or the planet!) ever again. But that begs the question. The “third party” argument is a dodge. When people use their phones they are not shouting from the housetops that they are in communication with another person. They use phones for private communications, including privacy about who and when they called.
Such energy on the part of McCarthy. Such vehemence. All in favor of a Big Brother panopticon 24/7 surveillance state. What morons we all must be to think that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects us from the Federal Government doing this to us.
This is the National Review’s version of “conservatism.” These people reached their emotional climax during the Bush years and they are going to get angrier as the prospect of another such utopia drifts away from them. They will comfort themselves by defending Democrat presidents when they kill enough people overseas in a masculine unilateral way and by attacking real conservatives. They will rally for the next McCain or Romney every four years and then chide us when they lose.