Nov 30, 2007

The Bill of Rights

by Howard Zinn, 1991
from the Zinn Reader, Seven Stories Press

A few years back, a man high up in the CIA named Ray Cline was asked if the CIA, by its surveillance of protest organizations in the United States, was violating the free speech provision of the First Amendment.

He smiled and said: "It's only an Amendment."

And when it was disclosed that the FBI was violating citizens' rights repeatedly, a high official of the FBI was asked if anybody in the FBI questioned the legality of what they were doing.

He replied: "No, we never gave it a thought."

We clearly cannot expect the Bill of Rights to be defended by government officials. So it will have to be defended by the people.

If you do a bit of research into the origins of the Bill of Rights- and I had to do some because it is a job requirement of the historical profession-you will find that when the new government of the United States adopted the Bill of Rights in 1791, it did not do so with enthusiasm. The Bill of Rights was a political tool to quiet down critics of the Constitution. A Bill of Rights on paper comforts people. You don't have to take it seriously.

Like that CIA man, you can smile, and say, they're only Amendments.

Full article:

The Problem is Civil Obedience:

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