THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 521, May 31, 2009
"There is good news and bad news."
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
We are still reacting to 9/11.
Apologists for the last reign, er, administration, justify W's behavior as a reaction to 9/11. The current bosses are basing their much of their foreign policy on fence mending international relations damaged by the Bush administration's reaction to 9/11. Please note that the only real policy in the war on terror change has been the renunciation of torture as part of US intel gathering doctrine.
This reaction is instructive on how tyrants subvert somewhat less tyrannical governments. Please note that I am assuming people in the subverted government are in on the gag.
A. Failure of government officials to do their job resulting in a crisis. Failure by the CIA and FBI to share information and coordinate efforts resulted in the success of three out of four of the planes hitting their targets. This leads to increasing the power of State agents over the people and a reduction in civil rights.
Most state agents I've dealt with have been pretty decent, but reports get back to me of stupidity and pettiness that amounts to hundreds of minor acts of tyranny and terror instead of the one big act.
B. Because of A a crisis occurs. This leads to a Do Something Now reaction that the tyrants take as a mandate to do what comes natural and non tyrants feel requires them to behave tyrannically. A period of time was created in which collecting payback for the 9/11 Attack and preventing its reprise was all that mattered to most Americans, including ost of those reading this article. Only later do we consider the wisdom of this reaction, by which time atrocities have been committed and people have lost freedoms they will never regain, what once would be seen as an abuse of power becomes accepted as SOP.
C. The Legislature passes the buck. The President, Prime Minister, Chairman, whatever, asks for power to deal with the emergency. Often he doesn't ask, he just starts reacting and acting, leaving the legislature with the choice of being seen as soft on terror or backing his play. The legislators, often as hungry for vengeance and security as the general population back the emerging tyrant. Later as they calm down they realize they can claim part of the ruler's glory if he succeeds, yet lay the entire blame on him if things go badly. Nancy Pelosi's I knew/ I didn't know reaction to whether or not she was aware if Al Qaeda suspects were being tortured and how much did she know comes to mind.
Failure to prepare for and prevent an emergency, using the resulting crisis to grab unwonted power by the executive and irresponsible and feckless behavior by the legislature in allowing the executive to grab and exercise power are three steps in the growth of tyranny. This gives us three places where a power grab by tyrants can be blocked.
What you do with this information is up to you.