At what price comes security?: The gradual and silent freedom killers
The news these days is awash with stories of the ever-more comprehensive measures the Federal nanny state is taking to ensure that we are being protected from all manner of real and imagined threats to our livelihoods and security. And yet these “protections” are coming with a prohibitively high price.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, requiring that the American people, as lawful citizens, are to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” and that this restriction “shall not be violated”, is now but a paper tiger, the merest shadow of what the Founders intended for it to be. The Drug War has perhaps become the single greatest threat to our personal freedoms and traditional American/Western way of life that we as a people have ever faced. Notice I said the Drug War, and not the problem of drugs. Under the auspices of “fighting drugs”, we as a complacent, vacuous nation of pabulum sucking passive-aggressives have given our government authorities carte blanche to trample our freedoms and liberties underfoot with impunity. “The War on Drugs” gets trotted out anytime anyone want to justify another invasion of our personal privacy, or the restriction of a long-held right. Opponents of John Aschcroft’s proposed requirement to purge data from gun-purchase background checks after 24 hours wailed that this would hinder their ability to fight drug-related crime. Exactly how is anyone’s guess.
We read about police and ATF helicopters patrolling above neighborhoods with Infrared sensors to see if any homes are emitting a suspicious level of heat, thus raising the possibility of a home-grow operation for marijuana. And yet we do nothing. We read of city after city installing 3-D radar face-mapping video cameras in traffic intersections, on street corners, and at the entrance to sporting stadiums, and all we can muster is some nebulous, undirected cry of, “Hey, that doesn’t seem right…somehow.” We discover that the FBI can enter your home, copy your computer hard drive, or install software that will map your every key stroke — all in the name of fighting terrorism — and the only response from Congress is some vague, confused ramble that they will consider investigating the questionable legality of such practices.
The Internet, once heralded as the last bastion of free thought and the open exchange of ideas, has become increasingly threatened by the FBI’s Carnivore, and the international Echelon systems which filter all emails, chat rooms, ICQ and instant messages for “dangerous” keywords such as “civil disobedience.” The European Union and International Criminal Court have slowly been assuming greater influence and authority in American affairs — thanks to treaties quietly ratified behind closed doors — presuming to dictate what types of web pages and commercial sites we may host on our soil, merely because they are viewed in EU countries.
State child “protective” services operate as vigilante organizations, accountable to no one but themselves. I wish I could suggest that they were operating outside the law, but in nearly every state in the country, “mandated reporting” makes even the most loving and conscientious parent guilty until proven innocent. Children are taken from their parents without warrant and probable cause, under the auspices of “protecting them” from a “dangerous” home environment. Except that in an ever-increasing number of cases, “dangerous” home environments are twisted and interpreted to mean any home where non-politcally correct religious and social views are taught, or where traditionalist parents have the unmitigated gall to actually spank their child when he or she sets the cat on fire.
We see at every turn that the display in courthouses or on public land of the deeply significant document filled with “thou shalt nots” which served as the foundational document of our once-proud republic is being reviled and censored as “state-sponsorship of religion.” It becomes increasingly clear, then, how another such document filled with “thou shall nots”, namely the Bill of Rights, is rapidly facing the same censure. How can we expect a society, and its associated civil service structure, to abide by the frameworks established by the Founding Fathers, if we are so willing and driven to trivialize, reinterpret, and denigrate that framework of human life established by our Divine Father, the Ten Commandments? We have gone from “Thou Shalt Not” to “It Is Somewhat Suggested…”.
A ruling class of entrenched nepotism and a den of unaccountable debauchers such as our Congress has become cannot be expected to govern with the best interests of the people at heart when those interests directly contradict their own. When election to national office is seen more as an opportunity for privilege and financial gain than as the heavy burden of responsibility that it should be, we can be assured (as the “represented” populace) that our working class voices will quickly be drowned out by the drumming bass of corporate perks and special-interest contributions to campaign coffers. More dangerous still, those with the most to lose will be the most ready to compromise whatever principle or rule of law that stands in the way of their continued tenancy and the maintenance of their comfortable opulence with its accompanying prestige of nearly limitless power. Thus any suggestion of meaningful campaign finance reform, term limits, or practical voter referendums will be met with a quiet virulence, a practiced smile on the surface that belies an assassin’s mind swirling beneath. Voices which cry too loudly, too clearly, and too convincingly in condemnation of the corruption of our leaders become threats to the Dark Chambers of power, threats which must be dealt with. The strident “useful idiots” of the WTO protests, the ardent environmentalists chaining themselves to redwoods, or the well-meaning but misguided peaceniks who camp out on military training ranges pose little actual threat to The Machine. It is the quiet sincerity of the true patriot that is the most disturbing to the modern American despot. It is the educated, informed debate by clear minds uncluttered by relativistic emotional whimsy that raises the ire of the corrupt politician or federal official most readily. For the true patriot deals in fact, in historical precedent, not in the emotional distraction to which the Abercrombie & Fitch casual anarchists are the most prone. The true patriot has actually read the Federalist Papers, has actually read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and understands most unequivocally what sort of nation these documents were meant to found and maintain. The true patriot is untroubled by the whims of whatever the politically correct dogma of the month mandates. The true patriot finds his or her calling defined by immutable truths, founded outside of mankind’s humanist traditions. The true patriot believes that “thou shall not” means “thou shall not.” This makes him the sworn enemy of those who would seek to destroy our nation from within, those who have through deceit, corruption, and malfeasance tricked their way into positions of authority where they can shoot a survivalist’s wife with impunity, kill religious independents without reproof, and kidnap and “repatriate” immigrant children at gunpoint without consequence.
The moment our government begins to fear and oppose conservative activism in the populace it is sworn to serve and defend, it becomes nothing more than another entry in the world’s endless cavalcade of dictatorships and oppressive regimes, the very likes of which our founding fathers sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to oppose. I would propose that this moment has come and gone. When our government already has a plan on the books for imposing martial law, we can only expect that those most accustomed to the unfettered power and unfettered access to the government coffers will have the most to gain by bringing about just such a crisis as to make the invocation of such a plan necessary. If two locations had been bombed in Oklahoma City instead of just one, there could easily have been “justification” for imposing some sort of martial law. Now imagine if there were attacks, especially biological attacks, in multiple locations throughout the country. Individual rights could readily be suspended in order to preserve the “greater good.” The question then becomes…when do we get those rights and liberties back? When the crisis is over? With a biological agent, that might be quite some time. And by then, many people will have grown accustomed to, even complacent about the new police state.
They say that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. While we are carefully distracted by the Search for Chandra Levy, by the plight of the poor, downtrodden Palestinian suicide bomber, or the power “crisis” in California, dark forms move in the shadows quietly pouring kerosene on the timbers that support this country. While the nationalized Media circus spins engaging tales of murder, presidential adultery, and the plight of the spotted owl or endangered sucker fish, legislation quietly slips through Congress granting more and more power to foreign bodies, silently siphoning away our nation’s sovereignty. Traitors dressed in the American flag try to convince us that the “global village” is the inevitable wave of the future. And so our servicemen are court-martialed for refusing to wear the uniform of a foreign power; an act that 20 years ago would have considered treason.
A poster-child for natural selection kills himself trying to ride a snowmobile across a pond in the middle of July, and immediately there are cries that “the government” should regulate snowmobile use. To protect us from ourselves. I’m sorry, but these kinds of activites are self-regulating: survival of the fittest (or the brightest).
The next time you want your government to protect you from yourself, keep in mind that no one in this situation is more secure than someone wearing a straight-jacket lying in a padded cell; and that the price of true freedom is continued vigilance against those who would take it from you.
“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” –Samuel Adams
“I believe there are more instances of the freedoms of the people being abridged through gradual and silent encroachments by those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.” –James Madison, during the Virginia Convention on Ratification of the U.S. Constitution, June 16, 1788
“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Dr. Benjamin Franklin