L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 333, August 21, 2005
"...far greater threat than Al Qaeda..."
Exclusive to TLE
In my letter to the editor (TLE 261; 29 Feb 2004) I compared what I considered similarities between President Bush and Nehemiah Scudder, head of the New Crusade in Robert Heinlein's "If This Goes On..." I did state in my letter that the Bush administration was not to the point of Scudder's, but also stated that the New Crusade had to start somewhere.
Mr. Wood, in his article makes some points in an attempt to refute my assessment.
First, he states, "I'll take the "Born Again Christians," though I am not one, because the vast majority of them are good people. Duhhh-bya has not yet invoked his religion as a blanket to hide chicanery, but instead only in attempts to inspire others." It may be that Mr. Bush is a "good person" in his own mind. There is evidence, however, that he believes he is on a mission from God. Mr. Bush also has introduced "Faith Based Initiatives". This policy of involving religious organizations in the administration of government funded social services has government funding certain religious organizations, as well as dictating to these organizations policies on how the services are to be administrated. Some people may consider this a good thing, but government shouldn't be involved with religion, nor charity for that matter. Do you want your money going to a religion you don't agree with, regardless of the reason?
On the second point, that of informants, (TIPS and similar programs) I believe Mr. Wood defeats his own statement. In any crime you need to name the victim and name the harm. As Mr. Wood states, "While the original "We TIP" programs were anti-drug ("We Turn In Pushers"), thus of questionable value, the fact is that there are a lot of times that a tip to the police is a benefit to the victims of crimes. " I don't think anyone would withold information concerning a rape, murder, kidnapping or other violent crime. Neither would I. The problem lies within getting the population accustomed to snitching on anything "of a suspicious nature," as you so often hear on the "crimstopper" ads. The Soviets made an art form of this.
TIA and similar programs. Regardless of how long government has been monitoring citizens, that doesn't make it right. We have a (shredded) fourth amendment that is supposed to protect us from such scrutiny. What business is it of the government's how much fertilizer I buy for my lawn, or how much money I send to my brother or sister, or if I pay cash for a "large ticket item," so what? I've saved change out of my pockets for years. If the Nazi's hadn't had such good monitoring of their population, they wouldn't have sent the Jews to the camps. If the US hadn't had such monitoring of their population, the Japanese wouldn't have been sent to the camps during WWII, either.
Patriot I and II. Again violations of the 4th amendment; as well as potentially the 5th, and the 8th. I understand we are "at war" and I understand we must defend ourselves when attacked. But, when we shred the constitution in an attempt to provide security (which the government has proven it can't or won't do) we advance a tyranny no better (or worse) than that we are opposing.
Censorship. Given that the 1st amendment prohibits, "...freedom of speech or the press..." whether Ms. Jackson's breast was intentional or not is immaterial. Rules prohibiting TV nudity, motion picture nudity, etc. ad nauseum, have no place in a truly free society. All TV's, and radios and all other electronic devices come equipped with a family controlled censorship device called the "power switch." Computers may have parental controls. Even Cable has parental controls. TV and radio have channel selectors. Granted Ms. Jackson may have gone overboard, but that should not be a government offense demanding fines of the network. The network disciplining Ms. Jackson due to contract violation is a different story. Government involvement is not and should not be required. Licensing of the airways "in the public interest" basically means if the government doesn't like what you're broadcasting may mean the loss of your license. This means a "free press?"
Pariahs. If marriage belongs solely in the religious sphere, why do people getting married have to get a civil license? The problem limiting marriage to "one man and one woman" as was recently done here in Michigan, discriminates against non-traditional families. Regardless of what your or my personal beliefs may be, by limiting "marriage" (civilly) to the definition of one man and one woman, many are denied the benefits of reduced taxes, inheritance, insurance benefits, and other factors taken for granted by traditionally married couples. How, by calling a gay union a marriage, is the marriage of any traditional heterosexual couple threatened? Regardless of how religions feel concerning homosexuality, we live in a world where not everyone is religious. As long as the civil contract is adhered to, and any children adopted or otherwise legally obtained are appropriately cared for, why is the adult portion of this family unit not called a marriage? By making the gay union something other than a marriage, they are being made second class citizens who in another time might have to go to the back of the bus, or use separate drinking fountains. But then again doesn't every tyranny need a scapegoat?
No, the Bush regime doesn't hold a candle to Scudder's, yet.