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Regular readers of Strike the Root need no reminder that 2007 was another terrible year for the cause of individual freedom; and that's just as well, for I might be arrested if I gave one. But liberty is more often eroded gradually than demolished all at once, and the events of this year had origins in 2006 and 2005--of which a quick reminder may be useful.
The worst day came, of course, on 11/11/2006 .
Thirty thousand US soldiers had been withdrawn from Iraq to permit the President's party to retain its hold on Congress, and that political necessity has led both to the outright civil war in Iraq and to the extraordinarily inventive and terrible events of 11/11.
For any asleep or spaced-out at the time: among the returning 30,000 was an agent of Al Q'eda, impersonating the US Marine who was kidnapped and murdered in late October. Mohammed Al Zakawak, the agent, was fluent in English and had looked forward since early childhood in Iran to becoming a suicide bomber for the glory of Allah; but his well-practiced panache enabled him to take a US C-141 flight back to base in Fort Bragg , NC , on November 2nd, complete with his kit bag containing a concealed "dirty" bomb.
He set it off just upwind of the military base there and as well as the 2,000 immediate deaths, a further 50,000 were irradiated--men, women and children--so that their painful deaths will occur during the coming 20 years. Of Al Zakawak there is little trace, except some DNA on the stump of a street lamp post near ground zero. It was Al Q'eda's boldest, most brutal action yet.
Once those basic facts had been established, January of this year saw the FedGov's response. Having learned nothing at all from 9/11 five years earlier, the President did not, alas, announce that US foreign policy had been radically revised--that all troops would be withdrawn from all foreign countries by the end of 2007, that all foreign aid and interference (both) would cease immediately including aid to Israel--or any such obvious and desperately needed reform that libertarians have been advocating for four decades.
On the contrary, he proved his qualities as a Strong Leader by announcing that:
- All criticism of the FedGov's war in the Middle East was thenceforth illegal
- War would be waged on Iran , both because it hosted the Al Q'eda nest where Al Zakawak had been nurtured and because it possessed nuclear weapons
- A military draft would be implemented at once, to build up the strength needed for both re-augmentation of the Iraqi army and simultaneously to strike at Teheran
- A National 50 mph speed limit and a 65 degree maximum domestic thermostat setting were imposed, following loss of oil supplies from both Iraq (its pipelines being inoperable) and Iran (which understandably closed the faucet.)
Now in December, as 2007 draws to a close, all these measures have taken effect. The economy followed the stock market in free fall as goods could no longer be transported on time, and Americans are shivering again in the Northern States, where prisons are crowding with violators of the thermostat law who were uncovered by unannounced visits by the Conservation Police. Sixty thousand new troops have been sent to prop up the Iraqi puppet government in the hope of crushing the Sunni rebellion--many of them fresh draftees, who for want of adequate training are being killed at the rate of 100 a week. The FedGov's DepEd has been busy meanwhile erasing the word " Vietnam " from all school textbooks and atlases.
The more seasoned troops, already in Iraq though weary after four years of avoiding IEDs, were re-deployed this year to the assault on Iran , which went quite well despite the use of tactical nuclear weapons by the enemy. Only 5,000 of them were killed in that attack, and the US nuclear counterstrike in July on Teheran and all known nuclear plants is believed to have wiped out the whole Iranian government, among the 500,000 residents vaporized or otherwise killed. The city is of course still radioactive, so has not been entered in order to verify that estimate. The rest of the country is more or less secure--or as secure, at least, as Iraq was when President Bush announced "Mission Accomplished" in 2002.
Under the first of the Bush Emergency Measures listed above the first included a heavy fine for referring to the Commander-in-Chief as "Dubya", so I'll not do that. What's more interesting is the way they are being used generally to control what is published.
The technique had its US origins in the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts by which Amendment One was suspended, but it was polished to perfection in 2005 when in a landmark tax case--US v. Schiff--the defendant (accused of publishing the discovery that no law taxes incomes) was prohibited from trying in Court to prove the truth of his assertion. This was quickly followed by another, also in the field of taxes; a researcher and author called Bill Benson was sued by the DoJ for publishing his findings that Amendment 16 was never actually ratified by more than six of the necessary 38 states. He was ready and easily able to prove exhaustively (from every state archive) that he was right, but again he was prohibited in court from presenting that evidence; truth, that is, was excluded as a possible defense.
Those two cases, each of them fully employing judges whose salary and career prospects were 100% under Federal control, perfected the technique. If John Q should say X, where X is critical of some FedGov action, he can be caged for life for doing so by the simple procedure of denying him the right to argue in court that X is true truth. True or false, X must not be said. By 2007, the trick was ready for use against any critic. Marcus Freeman was the first to fall victim.
We can no longer find Marcus' name among the "Root Strikers" list here because our Editor was handed the choice of deleting it, or deleting Strike The Root, or being charged with sedition and himself enduring another kangaroo trial; very reasonably, he chose the first. But we can remember Marcus' exquisite exposures of the root falsehoods underlying all government; contrary to every one of its supposed raisons d'etre, government cannot . . .
- defend human Rights, for government in its essential nature violates everyone's Rights
- coerce men to be good, for government coerces everyone to do evil
- fight moral corruption, for government itself is a corruption of morals
- cause economic progress, for government always causes economic stagnation
- stop theft with its laws, for government taxation is theft, whether legalized or not
- control inflation, for government money is the cause of inflation
- stop pollution, for government "property" is the primary cause of pollution
- preserve "law and order," for government law is the primary cause of disorder
- administer justice, for government itself administers injustice
- control thieves and murderers, for government itself is a murderous thief
- protect men from rackets, for government itself is a protection racket
- fight organized crime, for government itself is an organized crime
- control criminal gangs, for government itself is a gang of criminals
- preserve human liberty, for government itself is the cause of tyranny
- achieve peace, for government itself is the cause of war
The unanswerable logic of those articles began to bite in mid-2006, so much so that even a few in the mainstream press were beginning to take notice. Even the Wall Street Post gave Freeman a full Op-Ed page to himself and its editor commented that if the Administration found fault, it would be welcome to submit a rebuttal. Marcus' fellow Princeton alumnus Donald Rumsfeld tried, but the storm of ridicule (over 10,000 emails to the editor in the first 24 hours alone) that shredded his attempt prompted Freeman to propose a one-on-one debate on prime time CNN. Rumsfeld declined, thereby admitting his lack of effective response.
Freeman's logic spread then to all corners of the media; usually without editorial endorsement but also without stimulating a coherent rebuttal. Little wonder; as we know, none exists. By year's end, this had become a challenge government could not ignore; the alleged intellectual basis for its very existence was being openly hacked to pieces.
And so came the midnight knock on the door of Marcus Freeman, the swift "trial," and the 20-year sentence, which took him well away from public attention and clearly conveyed the message that government can silence anybody it wants to silence--the Bill of Rights, including the one to trial by jury, notwithstanding. Following swiftly came the "E" Notice to all newspaper editors and TV producers, that further publication of such dangerous nonsense would lead to closure and maybe worse. To make things unmistakably clear, that sentence and that Notice were delivered on April 15th, 2007 .
For all its elaborate e-spying, the Feds have so far not been able to prevent the spread of Marcus' ideas on the Internet, although whenever some misguided writer says it's now time to start shooting the bastards, he is, every time so far, identified and arrested or killed "while resisting arrest." So as this momentous year draws to its close, we are holding our breath; must we continue to spread the word quietly one by one (though with much faster effect than there envisaged), or is the population already poised to withdraw its support, leaving government to implode at once like a punctured balloon?
With that, dear reader, I must leave you, so that 2008 can take its course. Hey, who among us can predict the future?