Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Annals of Authoritarianism

Seen at DPHow I Convicted A Man For Helping Terrorists Who Now Aren't Terrorists | Popehat.
The key bit is quoted by Bill at Daily Pundit, linked above:
But this episode says something about far more than Bob. It says something very fundamental about the War on Terror. It says this: if we let it, the government will define the War on Terror however it wants.
The United States government, under two opposed but increasingly indistinguishable political parties, asserts the right to kill anyone on the face of the earth in the name of the War on Terror. It asserts the right to detain anyone on the face of the earth in the name of the War on Terror, and to do so based on undisclosed facts applied to undisclosed standards in undisclosed locations under undisclosed conditions for however long it wants, all without judicial review. It asserts the right to be free of lawsuits or other judicial proceedings that might reveal its secrets in the War on Terror. It asserts that the people it kills in drone strikes are either probably enemy combatants in the War on Terror or acceptable collateral damage. It asserts that increasing surveillance of Americans, increasing interception of Americans’ communications, and increasingly intrusive security measures are all required by the War on Terror.
But the War on Terror, unlike other wars, will last as long as the government says it will.
The final 'graph is key:
I believe that America is at risk from terrorists, in the sense that the lives and property of Americans are in grave peril all over the world, including here at home. But America is more than people — America is the rule of law, freedom of expression, freedom of worship, and a constitutional government accountable to its people and limited in its ability to abuse them. Terrorists can't destroy those things. But terrorists can terrify us into destroying them ourselves.
I hate terrorists. Always have. Terrorists are playground bullies writ large.  Terrorists are as bad as pirates, which were once considered to be the enemies of all civilization.

And the greatest danger of terrorism id that it might cause us to throw away what we are fighting for. 

It's become trite to say so, and often is only said by what might be called the (more-oer-less) Loyal Opposition, but that doesn't make it any less so.

I would suggest, however, that the USA first stepped on the Slippery Slope when the War On (Some) Drugs began.

Others demur, suggesting that, variously, COINTELPRO, the internment of Japanese-Americans, the Palmer Raids, the assorted "security" measures implemented by the loathsome President Wilson, or Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, among other measures, were when It All Began to Go Wrong.

Some would go so far as to say that President Washington's suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion was the first step, and I have heard some suggest that the Constitutional Convention was, in fact, the first crack in the Liberty Bell, so to speak. 

(Perhaps I spend more time than I realized with How-Many-Randians-Can-Dance-On-The-Head-Of-A-Pin? libertarians...)

I think we spend too much time trying to figure out how much water has passed under the bridge, when we should be ascertaining how to repair the damned dam.  

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