CRIME OF PAYING CASH
unfortunates were pulled off the plane and detained for questioning.
An FBI "command post" was set up at the airport,
and a horde of bomb-sniffing dogs was unleashed. Flights were
canceled, delayed, and aborted, as passengers scattered hither
and yon. Everyone on board was questioned and asked, among
other things, what they did for a living. Five of the six
detainees, including a child, were released after questioning.
The other one, whose identity was withheld for days, was held
for nearly a week. What heinous crime did our Mystery Man
commit? According to FBI spokeswoman Celestine Armstead, the
feds were suspicious due to a "preponderance of circumstances."
He paid in cash a no-no in the federal "anti-terrorist"
guidelines authored by Al Gore, that automatically "profiles"
the paying customer as a potential "terrorist."
What else? Our unfortunate sojourner was traveling alone,
another suspicious no-no, and was initially described in various
news accounts as "a white male" and isn't
that, alone, enough to seal his fate in Al Gore's America?
the other five people dragged off the plane, in handcuffs,
by feds run amok? Their great crime appears to be that they
were seen talking and laughing with the Mystery Man before
boarding. The feds say this led them to believe that they
were acquainted with the suspect, which "led us to believe
there was some sort of
connection." In Al Gore's America, if you are even seen
talking to someone who paid cash for an airplane ticket,
you are in big trouble.
MYSTERY MAN'S TRAVAILS
federal authorities their syntactic grace equaled only
by their credibility claimed they launched the assault
on the Delta flight because of a "potential threat to
national security of a terrorism nature." Four hours
later, these same officials announced that they were satisfied
the man they led off in handcuffs was not a terrorist. "We
have not been able to associate this individual at this time
with any terrorist organization," said FBI special agent
Thomas Bush. Does this mean that the Mystery Man was released?
Of course not. The FBI said that he would be held "until
all law enforcement issues have been resolved." Huh?
He was not charged with any crime, aside from overstaying
his visa by less than a month. If that is a federal crime
meriting a SWAT-team assault on a plane filled with unsuspecting
and terrorized passengers, then what about the millions of
undocumented aliens pouring into this country every year?
Why don't they merit a military campaign of equal ferocity?
And why, if the Mystery Man was not a terrorist, was
he not released immediately and allowed to return to his own
yet, this question seems far too narrow to encompass the whole
of our concerns. In the face of the Valdosta airport incident,
one has to ask: do we even want to live in an America
where this is possible? If jackbooted thugs can haul me off
an airplane at their discretion, and hold me indefinitely
for the high crime of paying for an airline ticket in cash,
is life in these United States even worth living? My answer:
no, no, a thousand time no.
WACO AND RUBY RIDGE
to this story: The Mystery Man, finally revealed to be a Turk
named Hakan Caglar, was eventually released by the FBI
but detained again, this time by Turkish authorities, upon
his arrival in Istanbul. FBI spokeswoman, the ineffable Celestine
Armstead, was not in the least bit moved to apologize to the
other terrified passengers, or Mr. Caglar, who languishes
in a Turkish jail on unspecified charges. Steadfastly refusing
to say what crime Caglar committed or was thought to have
committed, she said: "We're not embarrassed at all. We
stand firmly behind what we did.'' Just like they did at Waco
and Ruby Ridge.
society where this can happen is not worth preserving or protecting,
not against terrorism or even against foreign invasion. The
Valdosta story was first reported last week: since then, there
has not even been any follow-up in the media, let alone a
national outcry by the people. In a healthy society
in America, at any rate- a government that tried to pull this
would be overthrown overnight. In better times, the feds would
at least think twice before they pulled such a stunt. That
there has been nary a ripple of protest is a sad indicator
of just how much the American people have degenerated along
with their old Republic. Dog-like in their naivete and their
notoriously short attention spans, Americans today are a servile
lot looking for a master. They fear the terrorist retribution
of their Empire's many enemies, but tolerate and even encourage
the terrorism of their own government even if it is
directed against themselves.
can be the fate of such a people except slavery? And
they deserve it. Am I being unduly harsh? Then
consider another news item, this time about the National Atomic
Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is marketing
tiny silver replicas of the atomic bombs that were dropped
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. You
can wear them as, I kid you not, earrings, or use them
on your desktop as nifty ornaments. In the earring department,
you have your choice of either the "Little Boy"
or the "Fat Man" model, depending on what kind of
a fashion statement in favor of mass murder you want to make
discreet, in the case of the "Little Boy,"
or big, bold, and brassy, in the case of the "Fat Man"?
we have to even ask which one the big, bold, and brassy
Madeleine Albright will favor? (Not to mention some of her
male colleagues in the State Department, some of whom we hear
are quite partial to piercings.)
BANALITY OF EVIL
it wasn't Madeleine's idea to market the offensive earrings
it was the Museum store manager, one Tony Sparks, an
ordinary kind of guy, not out to make an ideological point.
he is quoted as saying that "the shop advances the
argument that the bombings saved the lives of U.S. troops
as well as pointing out the immorality of war," his is
not a serious ethical or historical argument: Hirohito sued
for peace long before Truman unleashed nuclear hellfire on
Japanese civilians and what kind of moral calculus
balances millions of Japanese against thousands of American
UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF EVIL
aside from these rather obvious points, Sparks' rationale
sounds more like an afterthought: the earrings, it turns out,
were big sellers. The supply was sold-out almost as soon as
it was offered: rather than making any kind of statement,
Sparks was just out to make a quick buck. The sheer thoughtlessness
of what is undoubtedly one of the most vulgar, truly barbaric
acts ever committed by modern man, is astonishing. It is almost
as if human beings had reverted to wearing animal skins and
hopping around on all fours, adorning their bodies with the
bones of their enemies.
NATION OF SAVAGES?
of it: this was not an intentional offense to the Japanese
or any other people, but just a thoughtless reflex, a kind
of mindless barbarity that characterizes the savage mind.
And that, my friend, is the ugly truth: we are fast becoming
a nation of savages, who exterminate millions and then mock
the dead. Our children are shooting one another in the schoolyards,
while we stand astride the globe taking potshots seemingly
at random. It is as if an international serial killer were
loose in the world, deranged and capable of lashing out in
any direction Iraq, Kosovo, Russia, China, any of these
could be the next victim of the Global Slasher. Armed and
dangerous, this ruthless criminal has some especially memorable
distinguishing characteristics, and a distinctive modus operandi:
he likes to talk about "human rights" before he
kills his victim, like a killer speaks of love just as he
strangles his human prey with his "caresses." He
should be fairly easy to identify, as he always wears those
telltale earrings. (Yeah, you guessed right, none of those
"Little Boys" for him he's a "Fat
Man" all the way.) But, unfortunately, if and when you
get that close, it's already too late . . .
NATION OF GHOULS?
so the preceding is a bit on the pessimistic side: and I did
leave a few things out, such as the fact that the National
Atomic Museum abruptly withdrew the infamous earrings. The
decision, announced this past Friday, to pull the earrings
came on the 54th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
No apology for this singularly tacky incident was reported,
only a rather ambivalent and grudging observation on the part
of museum director Jim Walther: "The foundation [that
operates the museum] just decided since it's a sensitive day
and there's so much concern, it just wasn't worth the bad
feelings." As a gesture that might have saved the museum
and the nation from acute embarrassment, the
withdrawal was futile, in light of the news that the earrings
were sold out by Friday morning. America, a nation of ghouls,
that thrills to celebrity funerals and delights in the symbols
of mass death is this what the land of Founders
has come to?
is no question that the American people have been corrupted
whether by wealth, power, or some intoxicating and
debilitating combination of both, is properly the subject
of an entire column, or perhaps a book. For our purposes here,
however, it must suffice to say that we know the nature and
direction of the national trend, and to ask: is it reversible?
I say yes! A people grown decadent and even depraved
can experience a moral reawakening: a drunk can be sobered
up, and rehabilitated, even if he is drunk on power. A national
twelve-step program, when it comes to meddling in the affairs
of other nations, would be a start toward sanity. Instead
of bombing aspirin factories in the Sudan, starving Iraqi
children by the hundred-thousands, and then acting surprised
when "crazed" terrorists strike back with the only
weapon at their disposal, perhaps then we can leave the rest
of the world in peace, and, in this eminently sensible achievable
manner, begin a real fight against terrorism. But is it possible?
I have often quoted the great prophet of the Old Right, Garet
Garrett, who wrote that "we have passed the boundary
that lies between Republic and Empire." Once nearly erased,
can that boundary be redrawn and restored to its original
CASE FOR OPTIMISM
I am optimistic because very
few people actually benefit from militarism. In economic terms,
the only direct beneficiaries are the armaments industry.
While the profits of war and militarism are "privatized,"
the costs are always socialized, not only in terms of tax
dollars but also in new limits on individual freedom, including
economic freedom. In the brave new world of the New World
Order, cash transactions are suspect, and airline regulations
mandate "profiling" methods that give a green light
to government terrorism. War is not the product of
free capitalism, but its deadliest enemy: it is, as Randolph
Bourne put it, "the health of the State"
and a plague on the cause of liberty.
TWISTED KIND OF SENSE
price of war is high, but in certain very specific and strictly
limited cases, it is one worth paying. If the Founders of
this nation had been pacifists, we would still be subjects
of the British Crown. For libertarians, however, the only
just war is defensive: for example, a war would be
just if it were fought against an invading army. Such an invasion
is not at all farfetched; Indeed, it is already happening
under the color of law: American immigration law, that
is, which has opened the floodgates to an invasion from the
Third World that is fast changing the demographic and
political character of the nation. If that isn't an
invasion, then what is? US tanks are patrolling the streets
of Kosovo, when they should be guarding our porous border
with Mexico. Such a bizarre policy, seen from the perspective
of a ruling elite that despises the idea of national sovereignty,
begins to make a twisted kind of sense.
IS HOPE IN THE REMNANT
am an optimist because such policies are so obviously evil
that they are bound to provoke opposition, sustained and furious.
No matter how decadent and complacent Americans may be, there
will always be a significant minority that refuses to knuckle
under, a saving Remnant that remembers and works to restore
our old Republic even as we enter the age of Empire. Imperial
America is not necessarily doomed, at least not until the
fading memories of the last republican and I definitely
mean that in a lower-case sense! are erased from the
public record and the collective consciousness of the voting
people can be redeemed the same way they were corrupted: through
patient propagandizing and a long-range plan to win the battle
for public opinion. What is needed is a movement: not a single
website, or a single demonstration, or a single campaign to
do this or that, but an explicitly ideological movement actively
organizing to bring about a free society. The War Party is
opposed, quite naturally, by the Party of Peace: but this
party is, of necessity, a mere synonym for what is really
the Party of Liberty.
MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN
Antiwar.com serves the entire antiwar movement as a resource,
we have always come to this task from an unabashedly libertarian
perspective, an orientation we rarely miss the opportunity
to underscore. That is why I am so thrilled by
the merger of Antiwar.com into the Center for Libertarian
Studies (CLS). It is a marriage that had to be, an ideal
partnership that will greatly benefit both parties. Twenty-five
years after its founding, almost to the day, an institution
that started out at the cutting edge of libertarianism is
continuing that tradition right up to the present day. And
not only that, but CLS is taking its activism to new levels,
stepping into the Information Age with the same boldness that
characterizes every phase of its long and distinguished history.
LEGACY OF MURRAY ROTHBARD
by the radical libertarian thought of the late Murray N. Rothbard,
the scholars and activists who gathered 'round the banner
of CLS in
the early days produced what amounted to the founding theoretical
documents of the then-nascent libertarian movements. These
are archived in the files of the oldest and longest-running
academic libertarian publication, the venerable Journal
of Libertarian Studies. We aim to put this treasure trove
online, right on up to the present issue. Not only that, but
we intend to make the works of Murray N. Rothbard, especially
the out-of-print and hard to find items, available on the
recently created CLS website. This site, as they say, is under
construction: it may take us a while to get every scintillating
word of the prolific Rothbard's political journalism posted,
and the sheer monumentalism of the task would offput any normal
person or group of persons. But once you read even what relatively
small fraction of his total output we manage to post on the
site in the next few months, you will understand why we have
to do it. The value of such a resource to the future of our
movement is incalculable, as I am sure you will agree after
a small sampling of what Rothbard has to offer. Keep checking
the CLS site: you are in for the intellectual adventure of
LIBERTY, WHAT CRIMES HAVE BEEN COMMITTED IN YOUR NAME!
has been around almost since the beginning, and its longevity
is proof that, as a movement, it is here to stay. Libertarianism
is our intellectual heritage, and that of many of the great
peace activists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Which is not
to say that crimes for the most most part, intellectual
crimes have not been committed in its name. Everyone
from ex-Governor William Weld to newly-elected Governor Jesse
Ventura have claimed, or been awarded by a clueless media,
the libertarian mantle. But libertarianism, like Americanism,
has a long and glorious heritage that cannot be indefinitely
hidden. Thanks to CLS, that heritage is being rediscovered:
the movement may have taken a few wrong turns, in the past,
but it is not unredeemable.
the American political culture of which it is a part, which
reduces everything to some mindless formula, libertarianism
has been reduced, in recent years, to a series of cultural
bromides and catchphrases. "Fiscally conservative and
socially tolerant," this "new" libertarianism,
or "neo"-libertarianism (God help us), conveniently
leaves out of its facile formulations the key principle of
opposition to war and imperialism. Hidden behind a smokescreen
of vacuous phrasemongering, and increasingly abandoned, the
core principles of libertarian doctrine have been revised
and denatured in order to make them more "positive."
"Why do you libertarians have to be against everything?"
How often do we hear that odious remark, uttered by our supposed
"friends," "allies," and other alleged
sympathizers? In a world in which "everything" is
the government, this is a question that has to be answered
emphatically, unequivocally, and often: because in a world
of murderous thieving States, "everything" is
wrong, inverted both morally and in every other way.
we-are-the-world-we-are-the-children sentimentality that today
passes for libertarianism is a cultural concoction so syrupy
and sickly sweet that, as Ayn Rand once said in a different
context, "a fly would not die for it or in it"!
The astringent brand of libertarianism traditionally upheld
by Rothbard and his heirs should prove bracing for the libertarian
movement, and interested observers, and precisely what the
NEW LEVEL OF ACTIVISM
from expanding into the online world, the CLS-Antiwar.com
merger will make possible a whole series of new projects,
including some exciting new publishing projects, more conferences
repeating the success of our last antiwar Left-&-Right
conference and the discovery and nurturing of libertarian
scholars, with special attention to the development of a libertarian
youth movement. Our movement has no future separate and distinct
from the future of the libertarian youth, a field of operations
that has been woefully neglected in recent times. Naturally,
Antiwar.com has been especially concerned with and
relatively successful at this particular project, but
we have just begun to make inroads into this vitally important
problem. We need to train the leaders, scholars, journalists,
and activists of tomorrow today!
SUPPORT IS VITAL
we can't do any of it without you. Yes, you
our hardcore supporters, who have stuck with us, thus far,
through thick and thin. You know who you are. You've been
coming to this site, perhaps logging on to this very column,
quite regularly for some time now. You like what you read,
in large part, and you even find it enjoyable. If you want
it to not only continue, but expand, then now is the time
to act. Contributions to Antiwar.com, as a division of
the Center for Libertarian Studies, are now fully tax-deductible.
We've already had a lot of bad news lately, but this is a
bit of good news that can really make a difference
if you make it so.
OF THE SAME ONLY BETTER!
movements to restore American liberties and build a more peaceful
world are really two indissoluble aspects of the same phenomenon:
that is the real significance of the organizational changes
at Antiwar.com. We will carry on just the same, covering the
world of international events and discussing and analyzing
the question of war and peace only better!
BUT NOT "MAINSTREAMED"
changes you see on this site, starting today, are visual and
stylistic: this is the work of the fabulous Garris brothers,
our Webmaster Eric Garris and his brother Malcolm, a talented
web artist. Antiwar.com has been streamlined and slicked up,
but it will never be watered down in terms of content.
We are getting better and bolder by the day.
Stick with us or come back and find out just
how good we can get. We promise you won't be sorry. You may
not always agree, but rest assured that you will always be
challenged and interested. And what more can you ask
from a website?