Many conservatives, liberals, and libertarians
are protesting the numerous invasions of your liberty that Congress
and the Bush administration have imposed during the past two months.
But without realizing it, many of the protestors brought
these invasions on themselves.
I do share their concerns, however.
First, Congress rammed
through an "anti-terrorism" bill that violates the
civil liberties of all Americans, not just terrorists.
The new law allows federal officials to search your
home when you're not present and not even tell you your home has
been searched. You could come home one day and find your computer,
file cabinets, and legal papers have disappeared. You'd naturally
think it was a burglary, but the burglars would be government employees
(shades of Watergate).
Warrants can be issued in secret, and you may not be
allowed to see a warrant – or contest it – covering a search of
Government officials can go into any company anywhere
and search records of your purchases and credit history, discover
the websites you've visited, or monitor your email – without evidence
of a crime and without telling you, and they can order the companies
not to tell you about the search.
Then the Bush administration, apparently invoking the
divine right of kings, decided that people can be tried
and executed by secret courts (using secret evidence not available
for you to refute), that government agents can eavesdrop on attorney-client
conversations, and that federal agents can conduct searches without
This is America?
And understand that the so-called "War on Terrorism"
is only two months old. This is just the beginning. What's still
wars, citizens were imprisoned for speaking out against the
government, newspapers were closed for protesting the war, private
publications were censored, and people of foreign ancestry were
put in concentration camps. We have a lot to look forward to.
The press implies that the new civil-liberties invasions
will apply only to terrorists.
They apply to you, because anyone can be suspected of
being a terrorist – including you. In fact, the new definition
of "suspected terrorist" includes people speaking out
against government policies.
And if law-enforcement officials are to decide whose
civil liberties will be denied, one of them may become convinced
you're connected to the terrorists in some way, try you in a secret
court, sentence you, imprison you, and even execute you – with
no opportunity for you to appeal the verdict or your sentence.
This is America?
An administration official told
The Washington Post, "The U.S. Constitution doesn't
protect . . . anyone hiding and planning acts of violence."
But what he meant was, "The U.S. Constitution doesn't protect
anyone we suspect of hiding and planning acts of violence."
They don't know who's actually guilty until after a civil, public
trial – conducted with all the traditional rules of evidence. What
they have arrogated to themselves is the power to decide whether
or not you will be protected by the Constitution.
This is America?
If you're not frightened by this, you're simply not paying
BE LIMITED TO A FEW PEOPLE
Have you been told that some of these invasions apply
only to aliens – or some other small group of people?
Don't be reassured. When has any invasion of liberty
not been expanded to cover all people eventually?
The clearly unconstitutional RICO laws were supposed
to apply only to organized crime – but hardly a single Mafia kingpin
has been prosecuted using RICO, while abortion protestors and stockbrokers
have been jailed by these laws. The clearly unconstitutional asset-forfeiture
laws were only to nab big-time drug dealers, but all across America
the property of innocent people has been seized.
It's only a matter of time until every new oppression
applies to all Americans.
I said that many of those protesting these invasions
brought this on themselves. How?
It's very simple.
Attorney General John Ashcroft justified the unconstitutional
police-state tactics by
saying, "I think it's important to understand that we are
at war now."
And there you have it. As Randolph Bourne said, "War
is the health of the state." Once you grant the government
war-making powers, you grant the politicians the power to do anything
they want. After all, you can't put your own personal liberty ahead
of the good of the Fatherland, can you?
Congress didn't declare war. There were none of the
usual pre-war negotiations to try to avoid going to war. We're not
even at war with any specific nation. But just utter the magic word
"war" and all your rights can be stolen from you.
So if you hollered for war, you hollered to have your
rights taken away from you.
Who gave your rights away? You did – if you
supported the idea that the politicians should be free to do anything
they want to satisfy a national lust for revenge.
Isn't it time to start taking back your liberty?