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Argument Against the Man

OpinionJournal, the Wall Street Journal's blog, weighed in on Operation TIPS (which I noted here) in yesterday's edition:

Sounds more like Neighborhood Watch than the Stasi -- and indeed, Neighborhood Watch is another program of the Citizens Corps. So who is this Ritt Goldstein? From his bio in the Herald: "Ritt Goldstein is an investigative journalist and a former leader in the movement for US law enforcement accountability. He has lived in Sweden since 1997, seeking political asylum there, saying he was the victim of life-threatening assaults in retaliation for his accountability efforts." Sounds like a really reliable source of information.
Is Operation TIPS the equivalent of the Stasi? No, for the simple reason that its members are publicly known. At the same time, though, the Journal's response is mostly just an ad hominem attack on the author of the article. Is that the best they can do?

If the Journal wants to argue that TIPS is the equivalent of Neighborhood Watch, fine. That's their business. I don't see it that way. I think people keeping an eye out for potential criminals in their own neighborhood is fundamentally different from having four percent of the US population looking for terrorism everywhere they go and reporting anything they find suspicious. Persons of reason can disagree about this. But ad hominem attacks have no place in this or any other debate.

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