Freedomís Value

Freedomís Value
Posted by FoM on September 18, 2001 at 10:17:04 PT
By Clint Bolick
Source: National Review
Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev is said to have quipped that American capitalists would sell Communists the rope by which to hang them. I've thought about that quote repeatedly when hearing about the ease by which Middle Eastern terrorists navigated American freedom for their diabolical ends: enrolling in American flight schools, using Internet access at public libraries, traveling freely from place to place. One immediate and logical response is to curtail the freedom. At least temporarily, or for certain people. 
Such calls in times of crisis are inevitable. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott laid the groundwork by commenting, "When you are at war, civil liberties are treated differently."Indeed, our history is replete with examples of just that; and not always even in times of war. John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts designed to punish activity considered adverse to American interests. Andrew Jackson gave orders to intercept mail carrying inflammatory anti-slavery rhetoric. Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to nationalize American industries in World War II. Most shameful was the internment of Japanese citizens during that same period. And of course, the Cold War gave rise to unparalleled surveillance of American citizens. Sordid examples all.America never has effectively protected its interests by suspending individual liberties. Such efforts typically deprive us of our most potent weapon, which is freedom. That is what sets us apart, first and foremost, from our adversaries. We are always at our strongest when we fight not just with bombs and bullets, but with a real effort to win the hearts and minds of the world's people. And we do that by steadfastly adhering to our principles. A potent example: In our war against Hitler, America set aside its racist policies and began to vindicate our own ideals of equality. It not only established clear moral superiority but made us a stronger foe.If we are not mindful of our true objectives, we could go badly astray in our noble quest to rid the world of terrorism. Already there is talk that security officials are employing ethnicity in antiterrorist profiling, stopping people not because they are foreign nationals of governments known to harbor terrorists, but because their skin is dark or they wear beards. An efficient antiterrorism device? Perhaps. A violation of our core belief that the state must treat people as individuals, not as members of racial groups? Definitely. Once that absolute principle is compromised, it is only a matter of degree before we return to the nightmare of Japanese incarceration.Likewise, we hear calls to allow government to step up electronic surveillance, and to require national ID cards so that government can monitor our travels. Even before last week's bombings, the Supreme Court struck down by a slender 5-4 vote the use of thermal imaging in law enforcement. The requirement of warrants is an essential protection of civil liberty ó in times of peace as well as war. So too is the right to travel.Do these rights impair the fight against terrorism? In a certain sense, yes. It would be easier if government could monitor our conversations and activities, or could stop or segregate those whose skin color or religious beliefs resemble the terrorists'. It is tempting to trade freedom for security. But to do so sacrifices both. For the freedoms we have not only make America a moral exemplar but provide us with the wealth and means to effectively combat terrorism.To be sure, Americans will have to surrender convenience in this war. But not their freedoms. Whenever a politician or pundit argues for a suspension in civil liberties, we should ask: Isn't that what this battle is all about? If we surrender our freedom, haven't the terrorists won?So as we wage this war, we need to keep our priorities straight. If freedom is the objective, it ought not constitute the first casualty. Our most potent weapon is the system that rests upon the sanctity of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.Senator Lott is correct. We have treated civil liberties differently in wartime. Let us remember those horrible mistakes so we do not repeat them again.And Khrushchev was right, too. Funny thing though: Communism in the Soviet Union is dead, but we're still selling rope.Paramount in the war against terrorism.By Clint Bolick, vice-president of the Washington-based Institute for Justice -- heads its new office in Phoenix.Source: National Review (US) Author: Clint BolickPublished: September 18, 2001Copyright: 2001 National Review Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Site:Holy Warriors Escalate an Old War on Drugs a Closer Fit Security Tools Get a 2nd Look Powers Sought for Surveillance U.S. Lines Up Support for Strike
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Comment #8 posted by dddd on September 19, 2001 at 18:36:56 PT
actual quotes!
  Senator Richard Shelby: "Congress, I believe, is in the mood to do whatever it takes to win this war against terrorism." 
 Representative Mary Bono: "I think people are going to have to recognize that some of their conveniences are going to be gone. Whether we are talking about national ID cards I don't know, or fingerprinting of everybody, I don't know where we are going to go with security." Senator Trent Lott: "When you are at war, civil liberties are treated differently." Walter Dellinger, acting solicitor general under Clinton administration: "We're going to have to choose between security and privacy." House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt: "We are going to have to change the balance between freedom and security."  New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno: "From my point of view, now is the time if we're going to overreact, we overreact in terms of protecting potential victims, the innocent people, and not worry in the least about coddling potential criminals." .....and here is a super classic,,,My favorite....this is not a joke,,,this is the prezidunt,,,earlier today;"This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while [but] we will rid the world of the evil-doers." - George W. Bushdddd
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Comment #7 posted by Doug on September 19, 2001 at 09:53:03 PT
Terrorism -- Such a Mutable Word
Oh Yes, everybody is against terrorism. We want a "holy" war against terrorism. But as Edward Herman points out, there is retail terrorism, and wholesale terrorism. When some suicide bombers blows up some people, this is an example of retail terrorism, and people start condemning it. But when a country destroys the water supply system of another country, and thus thousands of people, especially children die, it is considered "worth it" (in the esteemed words of our former Secretary of State) and simply part of doing business. It is not considered, especially by the perpetrators, as an act of wholesale terrorism, and thus worth of our condemnation also.
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Comment #6 posted by tdm on September 19, 2001 at 06:29:28 PT
cannabis news lovefest
dddd....,,,,You said, "I've often imagined people thinking that I am some kind of strange outcast,,,a babbling turkey/loser/nurd,,who sits in front of his computer,obsessively typing out verbose,and gossipy comments,and initiating petty critiques on the views of other may be partially true?"On the contrary, my good fellow. Far from a strange outcast, you are one of the many I had in mind when I said, "I consider many of you here more as family than many of my blood relatives."Keep being you.Incidentally, I think it would be fantastic to have a CannabisNews gathering somewhere, someday, so we can all meet face-to-face. If they can do it at (best amateur nude photo site for those in the dark about such unspeakable things), why not here? Though the activities might be slightly different. :-)Peace,tdm
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on September 19, 2001 at 06:16:31 PT
tdm.....Ahoy mate
Checked out your website,and your well spoken comments,,My opinions are pretty much the same....I also really appreciatewhat you said in your post;"Re-reading this post makes me sound like some kind of lonely, loser freak. Ah, well. Now is not the time to begin caring about appearances. Today, I'm a freak, and I'm damn proud of it."I've often imagined people thinking that I am some kind of strange outcast,,,a babbling turkey/loser/nurd,,who sits in front of his computer,obsessivelytyping out verbose,and gossipy comments,and initiating petty critiques on theviews of other may be partially true?I will join you in being a proud freak!Keep on keepin' on what you're doing.You are cool.Sincerely....dddd 
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Comment #4 posted by tdm on September 19, 2001 at 05:37:48 PT:
crying out - lost at sea
I have never been so at odds with myself over questions of morals and ethics. I'm not surprised by this in light of recent events, but I am no less distraught. I often look to the many regular participants in this forum as a beacon of reason when the rest of the world around me seems to hold opposing views founded on anything *but* reason.My thoughts about the meaning of family have changed tremendously in the last few years, and in an unexpected and unusual way, I consider many of you here more as family than many of my blood relatives. Unusual because I've rarely even exchanged e-mail with anyone here, much less met them in person (which I'd like to do some day). Today, I look to you once again for shelter from the storm of words being tossed about. So, here, I make a request.I have posted my thoughts on the events of September 11 on my website at In particular, I've written two pieces that best reflect the inner turmoil I am experiencing. read these, and if you empathize or sympathize, I'd cherish any kind of response.Re-reading this post makes me sound like some kind of lonely, loser freak. Ah, well. Now is not the time to begin caring about appearances. Today, I'm a freak, and I'm damn proud of it.Peace.
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Comment #3 posted by dddd on September 19, 2001 at 02:17:22 PT
Well said
Master FreedomFighter.....You are specially coolJAH Shine on Youdddd
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Comment #2 posted by freedom fighter on September 19, 2001 at 02:10:20 PT
freedom's value
What does freedom means to this old freedom fighter?I hold dearly to my heart but am saddend as days go by.It's disappearing like a magician who would show a 11 cents into a penny.yeah, I love magic.. I love how to show one or two that I got 11 cents in my palm and suddenly its only a penny. Only to have a dime that somehow have gone through my left hand into my right hand.Magic in the air, and I want my freedom back. We do not need anymore war or death. There is enough death. Freedom's value is all you need love and forgiveness.ff
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on September 18, 2001 at 12:11:17 PT:
Repeating Previous Comments
The uniform wall of jingoism is falling. This chap has the right idea. I shudder to contemplate the hate mail he will receive as a result.If Amerika listens to the war mongers, we will all regret the decision. A military over-reaction will lead to a galvanizing of the downtrodden in a way that even the governments of the countries that support us will be unable to quell. The way to manage this situation militarily is quietly, and surgically with full cooperation of host governments. Pool intelligence. Be patient. Get in and get out.Simultaneously, knowledge and its dissemination is our best defense. What if we offered computer terminals and Internet hook-ups to kids across the world? A fair percentage would prefer that to throwing rocks and sticks at a distant tormentor.I also propose another worldwide concert event: "Musicians for World Peace." This would need to be staged in multiple venues, probably over the course of a 3 day weekend of respective Sabbaths (Muslims Friday, Jews Saturday, Christians Sunday). Artists from every nation, including like-minded Arabs, other Muslims, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, Russians, Africans, Europeans, North and South Americans should be invited to perform, and MTV can broadcast it over the planet with simultaneous video feeds on the World Wide Web. Ticket and merchandizing proceeds can be utilized to advance world peace, and fund scholarships to poor Third World students who wish to study in the West. The image of Israeli and Palestinian, Indian and Pakistani, Chinese and American, Bosnian and Serb holding hands in solidarity against violence can produce a strong impression on the young people of the world. 
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