Patriot Act represents largest loss of liberty

I find that I am extremely confused by a current political movement. Perhaps you, your staff or your readers could help me to understand.
I see and hear a great deal about a Tea Party. At their rally there was a sign which said, “Liberty once lost is lost forever.” This must be an indictment of the Patriot Act, which is the largest infringement on individual rights since the alien and sedition acts. If this is indeed their stand, I applaud them. If not …
The name, Tea Party, seems to suggest a relationship to our founding fathers’ dislike of “taxation without representation” in the King’s tax on tea. The comparison is, of course, totally inaccurate. Congress votes on all taxes which must then be agreed to by the president (or governor in the case of state taxes). We put all those people there by vote. The king was supposedly put there by God.
What they want confuses me. As the “without representation” part cannot be the problem, the specific uses of tax revenues must be. There could be a general reduction in government, which would be at least as helpful to the general public as reductions in banking regulations were to the economy.
But this is not specific enough. We should consider some government functions for reduction.
I have heard that they don’t like Social Security or Medicare. But since neither is supported by taxes (I paid in to both for more than 50 years and still do — plus $95 or so per month for Medicare premiums) their opposition to this would be absurd. So we should look elsewhere for undesirable uses of money.
We could do away with the Education Department. The Republicans have wanted to for years. And it has never been adequately funded anyway.
The Defense Department could go. Nobody wants to take over our country militarily when they can just buy it. (Check out Chinese, Saudi and other investments here if you doubt this.) Think of the tax dollars we could have saved if we hadn’t attacked Iraq. Ending the Defense Department, however, would drastically increase unemployment.
The State Department costs a lot, too, with all the traveling. But without the military we wouldn’t need that department either because no one in other countries would care about our policies. Actually not many do now.
If we want to move around with some degree of safety, I suppose highways and bridges should be maintained, as well as police and fire departments. In fact, the only ways I can see to reduce government — and therefore taxes — are totally idiotic.
You can easily see my confusion in trying to understand a less-tax policy. Of course their name “Taxed Enough Already” might simply mean that the current level of taxation is already just enough and should be maintained. I don’t know. Do you?
David Kuhn