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S. 754 / H.R. 2029

Privacy and Control: CISA

CISA was reintroduced and passed -- secretly buried in a 2000 page budget bill.

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Bill of Rights, pt 2

Amendments 6-10

by Alex Ellis

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In creating a nation where all men are free and equal, the framers and forefathers of our country were faced with the task of creating laws which would govern the land and protect each person’s property and liberty. The creation of laws is a fact for any society, whether they be socially implied or physically listed out as ours are. Although those who write the laws are sure of what they mean, a certain amount of meaning and emotion is lost through the medium of language. Because of this, it is necessary that a certain number of people spend their time studying, interpreting, and changing the wording and phrasing of laws.

Not only do these specialists, otherwise known as lawyers, serve as a protection themselves by analyzing each law to prevent an unrightful one to be enforced through technical jargon, but the 6th amendment gives these people an extra opportunity to protect the people by allowing lawyers to serve as their advisors and consuls when a citizen is accused of a crime. This allows lawyers to prevent government and society from imprisoning people under the guise of laws which they did not commit, but otherwise would not be able to understand.


Following the theme of checks and balances which is vital to any democratic government, the 7th amendment allows some of the judicial power to be returned to the hands of the people. Because it would be too easy for a corrupt official to join forces with a corrupt judge and lock away anyone they deemed “undesirable," the 7th amendment prevents this sort of corruption by allowing each accused individual to be tried by a jury of his peers. In addition, it also allows everyday citizens, the people, to make judicial decisions rather than concentrating the power of the law in the hands of a small group of elites.


Because each individual has a right to protect his or her liberty and property from others, and because society is composed of individuals, society therefore has the right to do what is necessary to protect their collective freedoms and property. At times, this may include restricting the liberty and property of an individual with malicious intent. However, societies right to do so ends at the point of doing what is necessary.

By doing more, or in other words, through the use of cruel and unusual punishment, society not only abuses the human rights of the punished but also perverts the ideas of truth, liberty, and justice which they originally sought to uphold. If justice is to be fair and righteous, an individual should not be punished with more than what is right and necessary according to their crime, and by no means should an individual’s human rights be abused or neglected.


The framers understood that although the purpose of the previous eight amendments was to provide each individual the opportunity to protect his or her personal liberties, whether it be from another individuals or a group of individuals, there would be situations in the future which they had not considered or thought of in which an individual or group of individuals would attempt to take away from or otherwise infringe upon the personal liberties of another individual or group of individuals. The ninth amendment lays down a basic concept of liberty, which is that each individual may do as he or she pleases with their person and their property so long as it does not infringe upon the personal liberties of others.

This is what allows us to amend the constitution as is deemed necessary. Although the extent of one's liberties and the definition of “property” have been debated for hundreds of years, this universal idea has been accepted by all who have sought to fight for liberty, from the likes of classic Republicans and Libertarians such as Locke and Rousseau, to Anarchists and Socialists such as Proudhon. The idea that although a right or protection may not be explicitly stated in the constitution does not necessarily mean it is not there, though it has been the center of controversy since its inception, has led to many great changes and advancements in our laws and how we practice them, as was the intention of the framers. This is what makes the ninth amendment, although short and sometimes overlooked, one of the most important in the Bill of Rights.


Finally, although the framers believed in having a strong national union, they also understood that the basis of society lies in one’s immediate community. If the federal government had absolute power, this would allow an otherwise foreign entity the power to control many different and diverse communities with their own identities and customers an outsider might not understand or care for. Although each state is still part of the union and must obey the constitution and the founder’s ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the 10th amendment gives each state some amount of sovereignty over itself. This is in correspondence with the repeated idea of checks and balances on our government; not only does giving each state sovereignty over self return some of the power of the federal government to the people, but the states then also serve to check and balance the power of the federal government itself. It is much easier to corrupt one government than it is to corrupt fifty.

IN CONCLUSION, although the constitution served to create a federal government of the different states, its first and main purpose was to protect the rights and properties of the individuals within the nation both from other individuals and from the governing entity itself. Although the ideas of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness may sound like vague and abstract ideas to some, the founders were concrete in their belief and understanding in and of them. However to truly understand these ideas, one would have to further understand the philosophies of dialecticism and materialism which dominated Western political thought during the forefathers time. Because these ideas and philosophies are much too long and complex to explain in any one essay, I encourage anyone wishing to further understand them and thus the rights they are guaranteed to study the works of Locke, Bacon, Resseau, and their contemporaries.


It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.

- Thomas Paine

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