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Posted: 9/24/2001 9:43:45 PM EDT
[url]http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-bolick091801.shtml[/url] By Clint Bolick, vice-president of the Washington-based Institute for Justice. Bolick heads its new office in Phoenix. September 18, 2001 8:45 a.m. Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev is said to have quipped that American capitalists would sell Communists the rope by which to hang them. I've thought about that quote repeatedly when hearing about the ease by which Middle Eastern terrorists navigated American freedom for their diabolical ends: enrolling in American flight schools, using Internet access at public libraries, traveling freely from place to place. One immediate and logical response is to curtail the freedom. At least temporarily, or for certain people. Such calls in times of crisis are inevitable. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott laid the groundwork by commenting, "When you are at war, civil liberties are treated differently." Indeed, our history is replete with examples of just that; and not always even in times of war. John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts designed to punish activity considered adverse to American interests. Andrew Jackson gave orders to intercept mail carrying inflammatory anti-slavery rhetoric. Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to nationalize American industries in World War II. Most shameful was the internment of Japanese citizens during that same period. And of course, the Cold War gave rise to unparalleled surveillance of American citizens. Sordid examples all. America never has effectively protected its interests by suspending individual liberties. Such efforts typically deprive us of our most potent weapon, which is freedom. That is what sets us apart, first and foremost, from our adversaries. We are always at our strongest when we fight not just with bombs and bullets, but with a real effort to win the hearts and minds of the world's people. And we do that by steadfastly adhering to our principles. A potent example: In our war against Hitler, America set aside its racist policies and began to vindicate our own ideals of equality. It not only established clear moral superiority but made us a stronger foe. If we are not mindful of our true objectives, we could go badly astray in our noble quest to rid the world of terrorism. Already there is talk that security officials are employing ethnicity in antiterrorist profiling, stopping people not because they are foreign nationals of governments known to harbor terrorists, but because their skin is dark or they wear beards. An efficient antiterrorism device? Perhaps. A violation of our core belief that the state must treat people as individuals, not as members of racial groups? Definitely. Once that absolute principle is compromised, it is only a matter of degree before we return to the nightmare of Japanese incarceration.
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 9:44:19 PM EDT
Likewise, we hear calls to allow government to step up electronic surveillance, and to require national ID cards so that government can monitor our travels. Even before last week's bombings, the Supreme Court struck down by a slender 5-4 vote the use of thermal imaging in law enforcement. The requirement of warrants is an essential protection of civil liberty — in times of peace as well as war. So too is the right to travel. Do these rights impair the fight against terrorism? In a certain sense, yes. It would be easier if government could monitor our conversations and activities, or could stop or segregate those whose skin color or religious beliefs resemble the terrorists'. It is tempting to trade freedom for security. But to do so sacrifices both. For the freedoms we have not only make America a moral exemplar but provide us with the wealth and means to effectively combat terrorism. To be sure, Americans will have to surrender convenience in this war. But not their freedoms. Whenever a politician or pundit argues for a suspension in civil liberties, we should ask: Isn't that what this battle is all about? If we surrender our freedom, haven't the terrorists won? So as we wage this war, we need to keep our priorities straight. If freedom is the objective, it ought not constitute the first casualty. Our most potent weapon is the system that rests upon the sanctity of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Senator Lott is correct. We have treated civil liberties differently in wartime. Let us remember those horrible mistakes so we do not repeat them again. And Khrushchev was right, too. Funny thing though: Communism in the Soviet Union is dead, but we're still selling rope. "In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all -- security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again." Edward Gibbon "It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own." Thomas Jefferson "The protection of our rights is tested, however, not when what we do or say is popular but when it is unpopular. Stated most starkly, a free society is tested by the way it protects the rights of its least popular members." Roger Pilon [%(]
Link Posted: 9/24/2001 10:09:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Matrix: "In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all -- security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again." Edward Gibbon
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That's a great quote!
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 9:18:16 AM EDT
Seemed appropriate...glad you liked it. [:)]
Link Posted: 9/25/2001 9:45:00 AM EDT
I have been having a running debate with a Frenchman concerning the United Nations. Not much of a debate but can be viewed at alt.military.retired. (which I am not retired or military, but I know where my interests and loves lie) post is under "UNSHOULD TAKE LEAD IN TERRORIST CAMPAIGN" Or close to that nonsense. Ben
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