L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 150, December 3, 2001
NOBODY TRUSTS THE GOVERNMENT
A Foolish War - Part Three: A Backpage Literary American Fascist
by Keith Shugarts
Special to TLE
Steve Chapman, a columnist for Creators Syndicate, is the embodiment of an American Fascist, the sort I've written about in my continuing series called American Fascism (check back issues of TLE). Smiling out from the black and white pages of the Charleston Post and Courier, Steve Chapman in his latest article entitled Civil Liberties Must Not Override American Security argues, "protecting the rights and freedoms of the American people is amongst the highest functions of our government. But sometimes that duty has to take a back seat to protecting the lives and safety of the American people." Odd that Mr. Chapman would argue this since it is the actions of the American government and not the American people that has brought the events of September 11th to this shore. It is the continued acts of the American government and not the American people that has brought on these attacks, yet it is the American people, suggested by Mr. Chapman, that must suffer the loss of personal freedom and liberty while the American governments freedom to act goes unchallenged - and in Mr. Chapman's case, whole heartedly supported. Mr. Chapman blatantly disregards the Bill of Rights, giving more ammunition to Neil's claim in Save America - Enforce the Bill of Rights that actual enforcement of the Bill of Rights would guard against the tyranny that Mr. Chapman. [sic -- ed.] This article by Mr. Chapman not only frames but helps to define the rising American Fascist, it also points out relative ease at which these tyrants in patriots clothing will ignore and violate the Constitution and Bill of Rights that allows the American Fascist to threaten individual liberty while goose-stepping in line for the freedom of the government.
Mr. Chapman writes, "In trying to preserve civil liberties, we may allow terrorists to succeed in killing innocent people." The question posed to Mr. Chapman then is this, what and whom are the terrorists attacking? Despite massive propaganda attempting to paint this laughable and foolish war as a war for freedom, it is simply a war to allow the American government to continue operating in the way it wishes wherever it wishes. It is a war for the freedom of the American government, not for the American people. The reason the terrorists have chosen to attack the United States is because of the actions of the government and not the actions of the American people. Instead of allowing the American people to protect themselves by enforcing the 2nd Amendment, Mr. Chapman would disarm them of their rights and liberties and invest in the American government a far greater involvement in individual protection and liberty in this Big Brother knows best land. Mr. Chapman obviously believes that Section 8, Claus 18 "Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof," is more important than the Bill of Rights. Brutus, writing in Anti-Federalist #6 shows how the government would use the clause to increase its power and sway over freedom and liberty stating, "the government would always say, their measures were designed and calculated to promote the public good, and there being no judge between them and the people, the rulers themselves must, and would always judge for themselves."
Later in the article Mr. Chapman refers to the freedom given to the government by the Constitution to suspend parts of the Constitution in time of war (Mr. Chapman conveniently forgetting that there has not been a formal declaration of war, just the putrescent words flowing from the mouth of the King-General Shrub) - these freedoms given to the government, argues L. Neil Smith in his article Save America - Enforce the Bill of Rights do not exist within the Constitution. King Abraham Lincoln's imprisoning of rebel sympathizers without a trial is one example of this greater freedom given to the government during wartime cited by Mr. Chapman. These were rebel sympathizers, the crime they committed was to not go along with the government dictates. I am forced to wonder how much longer it will be until freedom and liberty sympathizers are thrown in jail for their inconvenient support of the Bill of Rights. Mr. Chapman also goes on to mention the freedom of the government to suspend the Third Amendment and to apply a different interpretation of the Fourth. In his citing of the Fourth Amendment Mr. Chapman writes, "The Fourth Amendment bans "unreasonable searches", but the term does not have an immutable meaning. What seemed unreasonable Sept. 10 may look reasonable now." Mr. Chapman uses that same logic that King Abraham Lincoln did before him, that the preservation of the government and the freedom of the government to act was paramount above the freedoms and liberties of its citizens - or in this case, its vassals.
Finally, Mr. Chapman concludes his argument writing his interpretation of the intent of the framers of the Constitution, "that in an emergency, the survival of the government and the safety of the citizenry may have to override ordinary liberties." Question then, what are ordinary liberties? There are no ordinary liberties Mr. Chapman, all liberties are extra-ordinary and they are bestowing upon individuals not by government by but a higher power - government is merely installed amongst men to protect those rights, not deny them. These are the natural rights of man and no attack on the government should give that same government the right to deny them. Mr. Chapman may wish to go take a look at the Declaration of Independence and read the words written there. That all men are created equal and they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights - not their government but their creator whomever that may be. The arguments that Mr. Chapman makes are valid in that they take advantage of the interpretability of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The laws contained within the Bill of Rights are laws that the government is required to live and abide by. But this government, and the governments that have come before it, do not, and does not. It flaunts, ignores, or arbitrarily applies these laws, these restrictions, when it serves the governments need. This arbitrary application of the laws contained within the Bill of Rights can be nothing short of tyranny. Trenchard and Gordon, in one of their Cato essays writes of arbitrary application of law by a tyrant thusly, " (the tyrant) though he may sometimes punish crimes, perhaps more out of rage than of justice, will be more likely to persecute and oppress innocence, and to destroy thousands cruelly, for one that he protects justly." This country's tyrants are many headed, their will is not the will one the one but the will of the collective. By totally disregarding the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as Mr. Chapman suggests, the tyrant merely gets to exercise his whim and will more easily.
This putrid interpretive dance that the government does allows these tyrants in patriots clothing, these American Fascists. In summation Mr. Chapman writes, "Given sufficient care, the heightened demands of security can be balanced with the need to prevent injustices against innocent people." To which I respond, "He who will give up liberty and freedom for security deserves the blessings of neither." And I further ad, "He who would give up individual liberty and freedom in exchange for the freedom of the government to act is an American Fascist." I leave you with a quote from Aristocrotis wrote in Anti-Federalist #51, "Happy thy servants! Happy thy vassals! And happy thy slaves, which fit under the shade of thy omnipotent authority and behold the majesty! For such a state who would not part with the idea blessings of liberty? Who would not cheerfully resign the nominal advantages of freedom?" By ignoring or suggesting that inconvenient parts of the Bill of Rights can be suspended, the vassals of America have parted with the blessings of liberty and advantages of freedom.