Another Onion story in the mainstream press

No, of course DHS agents didn’t actually visit a student at home to ask him why he’d checked a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book out of the college library.

Of course, anyone who thinks that the Bushite version of “homeland security” in general, and the Patriot Act library-snooping provision in particular, represents a threat to civil liberty is crazy. This, for example, could never happen in real life.

I mean, why would HSA bother to track down a student who ordered a copy of the Quotations from Chairman Mao (the “Little Red Book”) from his university library for a paper in a course on totalitarianism? The explanation is obvious: Once again, the editors of The Onion have managed to plant a story in the supposedly serious press.

I regret to say that Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon was taken in, and provided the usual display of what the right-bloggers call “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” She’s not really pro-civil-libeties; she’s on the other side.

(Amanda credits Mediagirl; I found the Pandagon item through Salon’s Daou report.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: