You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid. -- Rahm Emanuel
It looks like the lunatic Jared Lee Loughner will be used by the government as an excuse to silence political dissent.
Sweet ... land of liberty, uh?
The decline of an Empire ...
It was only a matter of time before the Gabrielle Giffords tragedy was turned into a rationale for the government to take more of our freedoms. This is how our government always responds to tragedy--it's almost formulaic:
- Step 1 - wait for tragedy to occur, or actually create the tragedy.
- Step 2 - spread propaganda through the media, so everyone believes your story about the tragedy
- Step 3 - pass laws, or institute policies, that take away people's freedoms.
- Step 4 - justify the increased Tyranny by citing the propaganda in step 2.
This same process, has led to the creation of most traffic laws, to the Patriot Act, to "enhanced pat-downs," and countless other usurpations of freedom.
And, so it begins. There is already an article on The Hill titled "Dem Planning a Bill That Would Outlaw Threatening Law Makers." The article begins like this:
Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress.
Look at that language. The language (or symbols) doesn't have to be threatening or actually incite violence. It doesn't even have to be perceived that way. If it could be perceived that way--through the widest, loosest, and irrational interpretations imaginable--that is sufficient to charge someone with a federal crime. This kind of broad, widely subjective legislation would make it potentially illegal to disagree with the government about anything.
That's right, virtually any political discussion or comment, especially if you express frustration or opposition, could be perceived as a call for violence. Laws like this are nothing more than an assault of free speech. Of course, they will forge ahead with this legislation--whether it's constitutional or not. They will probably name it after Gabrielle Giffords, and call it the "Giffords Act against Political Hate Speech" (or something like that). Then, if you oppose the legislation, they will question your compassion and say you must agree with Jared Loughner.
Government sows the seeds of fear because it feeds off fear. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength ...
[W]hen I first wrote about WikiLeaks and the war the Pentagon was waging on it (as evidenced by its classified 2008 report branding the website an enemy and planning how to destroy it). At the time, few had heard of the group -- it was before it had released the video of the Apache helicopter attack -- but I nonetheless believed it could perform vitally important functions and thus encouraged readers to donate to it and otherwise support it. In response, there were numerous people -- via email, comments, and other means -- who expressed a serious fear of doing so: they were worried that donating money to a group so disliked by the government would cause them to be placed on various lists or, worse, incur criminal liability for materially supporting a Terrorist organization.
At the time, I dismissed those concerns as both ill-founded and even slightly paranoid. From a strictly legal standpoint, those concerns were and are ill-founded: WikiLeaks has never even been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime, nor does it do anything different than what major newspapers around the world routinely do, nor has it been formally designated a Terrorist organization, nor -- I believed at the time -- could it ever be so designated. There is not -- and cannot remotely be -- anything illegal about donating to it. Any efforts to retroactively criminalize such donations would be a classic case of an "ex post facto" law unquestionably barred by the Constitution. But from a political perspective, the crux of the fear was probably more prescient than paranoid: within a matter of months, leading right-wing figures were equating WikiLeaks to Al Qaeda, while the Vice President of the U.S. went on Meet the Press and disgustingly called Julian Assange a "terrorist."
But more significant than the legal soundness of this fear was what the fear itself signified. Most of those expressing these concerns were perfectly rational, smart, well-informed American citizens. And yet they were petrified that merely donating money to a non-violent political and journalistic group whose goals they supported would subject them to invasive government scrutiny or, worse, turn them into criminals. A government can guarantee all the political liberties in the world on paper (free speech, free assembly, freedom of association), but if it succeeds in frightening the citizenry out of exercising those rights, they become meaningless.
So much of what the U.S. Government has done over the last decade has been devoted to creating and strengthening this climate of fear ...
Have you read Robert Higgs' Crisis and Leviathan yet?
The Power of Nightmares
Part One: "Baby it's Cold Outside"
Part Two: The Phantom Victory
Part Three: The Shadows in the Cave
The government never lets a crisis go to waste. It just grows and grows ... always accumulating ever more power.