"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." ~ John Stuart Mill
Make That Two
Exclusive to STR
October 20, 2006
Today I read Bill Losapio's 'I Hereby Declare Myself an Enemy Combatant.' Well done, Bill! Your column makes my heart cry and sing all at the same time. It sings for the courage it took to write these words and it cries out in desperation for the circumstances that force more people to fall under the heel of the omnipotent state. With the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the bastards have finally shown their true colors. It's the beginning of the end of this experiment in liberty.
They say the act only applies to foreigners, an effective but typical 'marginalize to neutralize' technique. It begs the question, 'Who's to be marginalized next?'
Social Security numbers will never be used for identification purposes, either. Hah! Try applying for college, a job or a bank account without one. This calls for another tried and true government technique. It's the old 'camel's nose under the tent' trick. Once the nose is under, the rest isn't far behind. Once the machine is in place, only the slightest, quietest of adjustments under the guise of national security is required to enable mass production/destruction.
My husband and I are stunned at the flagrant passage of this military bill that nails the lid on the coffin of civil liberties. Anyone who reads Strike The Root is already convinced that there's something terribly wrong with life in America (except for those FBI moles that are just snooping). But there is a strange, hushed silence about the signing of this small step for Congress and giant leap into an abyss for America.
What we're stunned about is that the safeguards of civil liberties are gone and there is no rioting in the streets. In the days of Martin Luther King Jr., people made a lot of noise to obtain freedom under the law. No one I know is at all surprised, much less stunned by the Military Commissions Act. America is taking this lying down. It looks like we're all slaves now. It's ok, so long as we're all slaves equally?
Seeds of Tyranny
It's not that we thought something like this couldn't happen here. Au contraire, mon ami! It was inevitable. The march toward tyranny has grown steadily from the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, tyranny is forged into the spirit of it:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,'That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
If you look carefully, you can follow its logic. It is nicely written, the way gentlemen would conduct a revolution. The flaw lies in the basic, unarticulated premise; that government is a given, that it is some integral part of human existence. The Declaration states that when government becomes too big and intrusive, it's our responsibility to make a new one. We're responsible all right, but not to make a new government.
That's the Way We've Always Done It
It is certainly a given that governments exists among men, that a degree of government is the norm. Today an advanced degree of government is the norm. However, there are a lot of bad things in life that are common. It doesn't mean we must accommodate them, much less build a society upon them.
Take the common cold, for instance. Would anyone refuse a cure for that? Would anyone say, 'well, now our pharmaceutical culture is founded upon cold remedies, it would hurt the economy to allow citizens a cure for the common cold, so let's nix that'?
Aside from the pharmaceutical industry, which happens to benefit from people being sick, and governments who are the beneficiaries of the pharmaceutical lobby, no one would object. We can't know that a cure for the common cold hasn't already been nixed in this very manner. Human suffering is irrelevant when profit is to be made, and it's the strong arm of government that sees to it that that happens. This is how government grows itself ' its primary objective.
Pollution is common. Pestilence is common. Traffic jams, heart disease, difficulties and misunderstandings of every kind are all common. Who wouldn't rid themselves of any one of them were it possible? Government is common. It is also evil, and not a necessary evil. America has conducted the finest experiment in history to try to tame the untamable and it has failed utterly. A leopard cannot change his spots. Government must go.
Ours is no 'light and transient cause.' Ours is 'a long train of abuses and usurpations.' Our government has clearly evinced a design to reduce us 'under absolute Despotism' and it is our right, our duty, 'to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards' for our future security. I am the only suitable new guard of my future security. You are the only suitable new guard of yours, and here's why.
Qui Bono? Who Benefits?
Let me tell you a story about my son's job in a machine shop. He started working at 14, but when he was 16 he began work in the machine shop. As his mother, I felt it was my responsibility to keep all his body parts intact at least until the age of 18. (I'm not sure where I got this number.) Anyway, every day when he left for work, he seemed very young to me, and I worried about him returning home with all ten of his fingers intact. One day I mentioned this worry to him. He told me that no one was more interested in keeping his fingers attached than he was. It caused me a paradigm shift.
No one, no matter how well meaning (for people who need to assume such things) is more interested in or capable of protecting your rights and freedom as you are. There is, however, tremendous interest in exerting power over you and your resources for financial gain. Never forget that the master is always better fed than the servant, no matter how benevolent the master may appear. Masters can afford to be benevolent when they go unchallenged.
Does taking responsibility for ourselves mean we are alone in our fight to be free? No, there are lots of people out there, a growing number of them, interested in the same thing as you and I, dear reader. They are understandably hesitant to advertise themselves. It's a jungle out there, a dangerous, predator-filled jungle full of bureaucrats hiding behind government agencies.
Anyone who writes for STR is probably already on the growing list of enemy combatants. So, for the record, make that a reservation for two of us, Bill. I'll look for you at KBR camp.
I've started telling my friends that when they come for me, don't believe the stories they'll tell about me in an attempt to quiet any objections. I'm not into child porn, I don't use or sell drugs, I don't initiate violence and I don't have any money to give to any bad guys (government.) Fear for yourself if you must, but don't pity me when I'm dragged off in one of 'Creevey's black bags.'* Ironically, when I'm ensconced in a prisoner camp, I'll finally be among my fellows, people who believe in liberty and personal responsibility. I doubt I'll be there for very long, but I'll keep you in my heart for as long as I am, dear reader. They have the state-sanctioned power to torture me, rape and kill me, but they can never own my soul.
*'Creevey's black bags' is from the film 'V for Vendetta.' It is a reference to legalized police state abduction and torture. 'V for Vendetta' is highly recommended and a relevant parallel to life here in Amerika today.