"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society." ~ John Adams
Although liberty means different things to different people, most would agree that it is not something that is bestowed by government; rather, in a 'free society' such as America , it is assumed that government exists to protect the inherent freedoms of its populace. The State often exploits this assumption by curtailing individual liberties in the name of 'protecting everyone's freedom.'
Misunderstandings with the State as to what one's rights actually are can (and often do) lead to unpleasantries such as incarceration, loss of property, personal injury, and death. For these reasons, it would be prudent for us to ascertain what exactly liberty means to our government. Given that the Supreme Court has upheld the concepts of judicial secrecy set forth by the USA PATRIOT Act, this is not the simple task one might imagine.
Fortunately, actions do indeed speak louder than words (or the lack thereof), and Operation Iraqi Liberation is now in its 'reconstruction' phase. Thanks to OIL, we can take a firsthand look at how United States government defines liberty, and thus by extension what liberties we can expect to have here at home. According to the American regime:
Liberty means the right to be protected from the 'poison pens' of foreign and independent media outlets. No outside information corrupting the thoughts of any people this country liberates! Because what's good for the goose is good for the gander, Colin Powell's son is helping to ensure that the evils of competitive media are stamped out here at home, too.
Liberty means the right to corrective behavior modification should you succumb to the seditious notion of venturing outside your home after sundown. This is the State's way of helping to keep the hapless citizenry out of trouble.
Liberty means freedom from the responsibilities of owning a weapon for self-defense. Although some radical conspiracy wackos like to claim that 'when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns,' the State assures us that Barney and Metallica will convince even the harshest of thugs (that aren't on the payroll) in Iraq to hand over their weapons.
Liberty means the right to an incarceration free from outside disturbances. I know if I were gagged, beaten, and had a hood thrown over my head, I'd get pretty annoyed at some bleeding-heart foreigner showing up and asking me how I was being treated. Here at home, the PATRIOT Act guarantees our right to be jailed incognito.
Although the United States government's liberation of the Iraqi people seems to demonstrate a different vision of liberty than most would expect, all is not lost. A devout anarchist, I have long held the belief that democracy is a 'tyranny of the masses.' Donald Rumsfeld's assertions that 'we will not allow' the majority Shia Muslims in Iraq to form an Islamic government proves that the U.S. government agrees that democracy is a bad idea. And here you thought neocons couldn't be progressive.