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Post-September 11th Era: Interpretations of Security and Civil Liberties in the Political Margins of the Left and Right

NCJ Number
Journal of the Institute of Justice and International Studies Issue: 3 Dated: 2003 Pages: 40-52
Art Jipson
Date Published
13 pages
This article presents a content analysis of the state of post-terrorism civil liberties from the perspective of both the political left and the political right.
After articulating the importance of having clear definitions of terrorism, extremism, domestic terrorism, fundamentalism, and white supremacy, among other related terms, the article analyzes governmental anti-terrorism efforts in the United States. A comparative and content analysis was performed on Web sites, policy and position papers, newspaper and magazine transcripts, and field notes in order to analyze: (1) the left- and right-wing perspectives on the Bush administration’s policies since the terrorist attacks; (2) the related legislation passed since the terrorist attacks; and (3) specific and general discussions of civil liberties. Through the content analysis, a better understanding emerges of the private, public, and social movement activism that has occurred in the name of preventing terrorism. Following a review of the development of civil liberties, the article analyzes the state of civil liberties since the terrorist attacks of 2001. In particular, the article reviews the U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 and the recently proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act, which would effectively deepen and broaden the Patriot Act. Next, the interpretation of civil liberties from the perspective of the political left and right is presented. The article concludes that both the political right and left are concerned about individual and collective human liberties and that both sides express concern about the growth in unchecked governmental powers. Footnotes


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