L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 347, December 11, 2005
"So You Actually Have to be Able to Think"
The Real Enemy
Special to TLE
The real enemy of freedom is fanaticism.
Today, we are listening to all sorts of debates on terrorism and on freedom. One side would have us believe that only Christians are right, and that Moslems are inherently evil. Another side would have us believe that only strict Islamic ideals are the root of real freedom, and that Christianity and its efforts to spread to the entire world have brought about our current sorry state of affairs. Why is it so difficult to understand that both sides in this debate are equally wrong, and for the same reasons?
Most of us would agree that genuine idealism is a good thing. Unfortunately, unchecked idealism often strays into the realm of fanaticism, and the line between fanatic and psychotic is a very thin line indeed. Our forefathers knew this, which is why they tried to lock down our Constitution so that religion and government would always remain separate things.
Either our ancestors were a great deal smarter than we are today, or modern Americans have been brainwashed for so long that we are no longer capable of seeing the truth at all.
Islamism and neo-conservatism were both born at approximately the same time in history, and both were responses to a perceived flaw in American society. Sayeed Qutb came to the United States in the late 1940s to study the American educational system for the purpose of improving Egyptian schools. At exactly the same time, an obscure college professor in Chicago, Dr. Leo Strauss, was teaching the political philosophy that would later become known as neo-conservatism to a handful of students who are household names today because they are the movers and shakers behind our current governmentand they have been for several decades now.
Both saw individual freedom and the honest pursuit of wealth as the enemy of "right" and of "progress."
It no longer matters which side wins. Freedom, as we once knew it in America, will be the loser in either case.
Qutb returned to Egypt and set out to change the face of his country. He helped to assassinate Anwar Sadat and put Nasser in power, but when he felt betrayed by Nasser's determination to establish a modern secular country, his subsequent efforts to bring Nasser down led to his imprisonment and torture by CIA-trained jailersand the date of Qutb's execution in 1966 led to a student activist's awakening. The young Egyptian student's name was Ayman Zawahiri, friend and mentor to Osama bin Laden.
None of this is important to Americans. Although bin Laden helped to finance the attacks on the WTC and the USS Cole, among others, the simple truth is that "Al Qaeda" is largely a myth and can do no truly serious harm to America. I am not insensitive to the families and loved ones of the 3,000 that died on that horrific Tuesday morning, but the simple truth is that there are 280 million Americans spread out over 3.5 million square miles. Al Qaeda, even if it were the threat that the neo-conservatives would have you believe, cannot destroy my country.
On the other hand, the neo-conservatives themselves are doing a very good job of destroying it right now.
Americans hate a fraud, but it often takes a long time for a good con man to get caught. Fifty years, though, is pretty epic in the annals of fraud.
Neo-conservatism teaches some very ugly things. It teaches that individualism is dangerous. It teaches that a great unifying "myth" is needed to unite our countryand the neo-conservatives are using the Christian religion today to do just that. Oh, they don't believe it themselves, any more than the Soviets did, but they have to talk the talk well enough to deceive the masses. Neo-conservatism also requires a terrible enemy of comic book proportions. For many years, the Soviet Union fulfilled that role, until it collapsed and Americans learned what a "paper tiger" really was. Today, it is Al Qaeda, which was originally born as a concocted CIA "study" to convince Ronald Reagan (whose administration was full of neo-conservatives, although he was often uncooperative himself) that the Soviet Union had to be utterly destroyed (because they were backing this truly epic and horrid terrorism network). The myth of Al Qaeda was trotted out again in response to the bombing of the USS Cole, and was waiting for the WTC destruction to make it a household word in America.
The real truth behind Al Qaeda is just that Osama bin Laden has a lot of money, and he's really ticked off at America, as well as most of the Middle East. Occasionally, an idiot or two will bring him a plan to attack Americans or Israelis that bin Laden believes just might work, and when that happens, he puts up the money to finance the attempt. There is no organized terror network at all. Just a few nutty jihadists looking for martyrdom and one nutty guy with a lot of money.
Which, if you think about it, explains why we've never found them. There is no headquarters facility, because there is no organization as such, and there never was. Just a few dozen nutcases looking for something worthwhile to blow up.
Why would your government propogate and maintain such a myth? There is a simple, one-word answer. Power. Disgusting legislation has passed since 9/11 that makes a complete mockery of your Constitution, and it never could have passed without the blind terror of Congress and the American people.
I am reminded of Gimli's words concerning Saruman in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. "The words of this wizard stand on their heads!"
When our presidential shrub says freedom, he is really talking about tyranny. When he speaks of democracy (no bed of roses itself), he is really speaking of dictatorship. When he says safety, he is really talking about fear. Make those substitutions in any speech of his since 9/11, and you will see his real intentions toward you and toward the rest of the world. Actually, in fairness, it may not be the shrub himself at all. He is nowhere near bright enough for this, and he certainly doesn't write his own speeches. Just look to Cheney and Rove. Shrub is just their front man, after all.
I can hear Americans wailing now, "But what if he's right?"
So use your brains. What if he is right?
What has Shrub and your government done to protect you? Nothing more than a colossal hand job. Homeland Security recently proved they couldn't even respond effectively to a hurricane, let alone a nuclear attack on American soil. Shrub has invaded two countries, one of which didn't have connection one to bin Laden prior to our invasion, and overextended our military to the point that we could not defend our homes if we were invaded by the tiniest little pissant country in the world. Airport security feels up little old ladies with underwire bras and seizes Medals of Honor from heroic senators, but couldn't catch five Uzis at Chicago's O'Hare airport. He tracks your library books, but has yet to charge and convict one real terrorist.
So what if he is right? If he is, he is still the single most incompetent President in U.S. history, and it's past time we got rid of him. For the sake of our boys and girls at risk in Afghanistan and Iraq, I say bring them home now!
I don't know what has happened to American courage, but if we don't soon find it again, we are looking at an era that will make the Dark Ages look pleasant.
As the holiday approaches, I have been asked by several friends what I want for Christmas, or in my case, Yule. I have only one answer. Freedom!
Look to your priming.