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05/15/2003 Archived Entry: ""
Mark Fiore's latest cartoon entitled
Photo Op" lampoons both Bush's impressive posturing and the Democrats seeming inability to do the same.
Thanks to Lee K. for this item..."Chief security officers (CSOs) and senior security executives are worried that the United States could be on its way to becoming a police state, according to a poll released Monday by CSO magazine." I am worried as well. Particularly troubling is the tendency of the
United States to deny "rights" to anyone who isn't a citizen, whether or not the non-American has done any wrong. For example, the Senate just passed a bill by which law officers investigating suspected spies or terrorists could wiretap lone foreigners even if they can't be linked to terrorism. The bill removes the current requirement that law enforcement officers must establish a reasonable belief the target is an "agent of a foreign power " or group before a warrant authorizing a wiretap is granted by a secret court. Moreover, the bill has no real oversight provisions so it is wide open to abuse. It becomes clearer each day that nonAmericans are viewed as having no rights whatsoever even tho' the basis of rights within the US -- the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights -- makes no distinction between a citizen or foreign resident.
"All men are created equal..." So begins that eloquent statement of natural rights, the Declaration of Independence. Human beings by their very nature have inalienable and equal rights. Not by sufferance of government or edict of the king but by their *nature* all persons have the same rights. The United States government is destroying the basis of all rights in the US by assuming the authority to define who has such rights as privacy, freedom of speech, etc. By "granting" rights to Americans and taking them away from foreigners, the US government is saying that rights derive from *it* and are defined by it alone. This yanks the foundation of rights out from under Americans who no longer do they possess freedoms upon which the government cannot impinge as spelled out in the Bill of Rights; the government controls the very definition of what is a freedom or a right and to whom it applies in which circumstances. the situation is akin to the absolute monarchies of the past. Citizens of an absolute king "enjoyed" freedom at his indulgence and, when he no longer felt indulgent, the denial of freedom was deemed proper because he was annointed by God and, so, the persecution was accepted as the will of God. The United States government has been wrapped in a similar garb of absolute moral authority. "The President" -- especially in times of war -- is "the elected" (like "the annointed") and his denial of rights is deemed proper because he *is* elected and leads in a time of crisis and, so, the persecution is accepted as "the price of patriotism." Natural rights arose as a check on the absolute power of rulers, especially on their power to define what is or is not a right. Natural rights served as a benchmark, a hard reference point, by which to judge whether and when a ruler had overstepped his authority and become a tyrant. Now the definition of a right and when to apply it has been returned to the ruler, to the government, and that objective benchmark -- the Bill of Rights -- against which to check the acts of government is fast becoming obsolete. Atrocities are always committed in the name of noble goals. The Bill of Rights is being killed in the name of freedom itself. Consider...Bush declared last May 1st to be Loyalty Day in a press release that spoke of *inalienable rights* while, at the same moment, he snatchs freedom away from nonAmericans, leaving it clear that *inalienable rights* are subject to governmental approval.
On a lighter note... Nominations for the 2002 MissLiberty.com Film Awards have closed. The film nominations for "Best Libertarian Film" are: Barbershop; Das Experiment; Equilibrium; Minority Report; and, Rabbit-Proof Fence. Nominations for "Best Libertarian Documentary" are: Bringing Down a Dictator; Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy; The War on Drugs: A War on Ourselves. Go and vote for your favorite.
Best to all,