Drinking the Kool Aid
Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006
Does anyone else find the blind faith that so many people seem to place in our government (whether national, state or even local) the least bit disturbing?
I know I do. I believe government is inherently evil and if left to its own devices it will trample the rights of citizens and spend money like a drunken sailor. We should never give government the benefit of the doubt.
Standing up for civil liberties and keeping the power of government in check is the definition of patriotism.
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My two favorite quotes in this regard are by Ben Franklin and the writer P.J. O’Rourke.
Franklin, of course, said “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
O’Rourke wrote, “Anybody who would advocate increasing the power of government over the individual is a traitor to mankind,
That’s not to say government can’t be good. It can, but it takes a committed, vocal citizenry to make sure it doesn’t veer too far in any one direction.
We don’t seem to have that anymore. Even here in Suffolk there are actually people who expect the citizenry to just shut up and go along with whatever comes out of city council chambers. They are, of course, deranged and dangers to our way of life.
It matters not to me how much good any person has done in the past. It wouldn’t make any difference if Suffolk’s streets were paved with gold and the real estate tax eliminated. People still have a right and duty to question everything. And none of this is a slam on any person involved with city government. It is just the nature of the beast. The danger is not those who govern us, but the citizens who fail to do their duty by exercising and protecting their civil liberties.
The founders left us this incredible, wonderful gift of a republic and a bill of rights, the foundation for the greatest country the world has every known. If we fail to protect those rights, we’re not worthy of them or the sacrifices so many have made in their name. All we have to do is speak, they paid the price in blood.
Paul Craig Roberts, a conservative economist, former Reagan administration treasury official and my favorite columnist, wrote about this recently. It appears below. Pay particular attention to the passages about the founders and our Constitution, the key point being: “These Americans need to ask themselves why, if only evil doers have anything to fear from government, the Founding Fathers bothered to write the Constitution?”
The Real Assault on America
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The neoconservative Bush regime has adroitly used 9/11 to create fear of terrorism among Americans that blinds Americans to the Bush regime’s assault on our constitutional system. Americans have meekly acquiesced to the Bush regime’s brutal assaults on civil liberties, human rights, the separation of powers, and statutory law, because Americans have been brainwashed to believe that the &uot;war on terror&uot; takes precedence and cannot be waged under the rules established by the Founding Fathers.
By elevating its &uot;war on terror&uot; above the US Constitution, the neoconservative Bush regime has made itself a far greater threat to Americans than are foreign terrorists. Two constitutional scholars, Timothy Lynch and Gene Healy, document the Bush regime’s forceful assault on the US Constitution in &uot;Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush&uot; released May 3 by the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.
Lynch and Healy show that Bush has failed in his most important responsibility &uot;to preserve, protect and defend&uot; the Constitution and, thus, is in violation of his sworn oath of office. The two scholars document the Bush regime’s &uot;ceaseless push for power, unchecked by either the Courts or Congress&uot; on issues ranging from war powers, habeas corpus, and federalism to free speech and unwarranted surveillance. Bush’s assault on the Constitution &uot;should disturb people from across the political spectrum.&uot;
Alas, it doesn’t. Many Americans believe that Bush’s dictatorial powers will only be applied to terrorists. This belief is extremely foolish, because it means that &uot;the liberty of every American rests on nothing more than the grace of the White House.&uot;
It has become commonplace to hear Americans dismiss the Bush regime’s illegal and unconstitutional exercise of power on the grounds that only those implicated in terrorism have anything to fear. These Americans need to ask themselves why, if only evil doers have anything to fear from government, the Founding Fathers bothered to write the Constitution?
If we can trust the government the way Americans seem prepared to trust the Bush regime, we don’t need the Constitution. Indeed, why is a president inaugurated with his oath to defend the Constitution if we don’t need the Constitution to protect us from our government? If we can trust government, why go to all the trouble to have elections? Why not just get a dictator or a king or contract with a company to provide government?
The question presents itself: Are Americans guilty of treason when they turn their backs on the Constitution? Treason is betrayal of country. And what defines country? In the United States the Constitution defines country. The Bush regime’s assault on the Constitution is an assault on America.
Moreover, it is a far more dangerous and deadly assault than a terrorist assault on buildings.
Ask yourself, gentle reader, what are we without the Constitution? Without the Constitution, how do we differ from the hapless subjects sent to Soviet and Nazi death camps? The Constitution protects our rights, and without our rights we are nothing.
It has been widely reported, apparently without causing Americans any unease, that the Bush regime has awarded Halliburton $385 million to build concentration camps in the United States. Who are to be the inmates? Certainly not terrorists. The Bush regime has proven inept at catching terrorists, and those few who are captured are kept offshore out of the reach of the courts where they can be tortured and abused. The camps are certainly not for illegal aliens who both political parties want to give amnesty and citizenship.
Concentration camps epitomize the horrors and inhumanity of the Stalin and Nazi era. Why is the Bush regime building concentration camps in America?
The Bush regime’s war on terror is the equivalent to the Nazi regime’s Reichstag fire. It serves to blind people to the real assault.
According to Bush, America is under terrorist attack because &uot;they hate our freedoms.&uot; But, as Lynch and Healy show, it is the Bush regime that is attacking our freedoms, removing their institutional protections, and making our liberties subject to the grace of the executive.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org