By Doug Newman
December 3, 2006
Posted at Liberty
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In a recent column on World Net Daily, Robert Ringer states that “In order to preserve freedom, some freedoms must be restricted.” Although I have heard similar things God knows how many times since 9/11, this particular column got my dander up. I guess it is because it so neatly summarizes the panic mentality that has come over so many Americans in the last five years.
Ringer says he wishes things were otherwise, but in a world gone mad he believes that surrendering freedom in order to preserve freedom is a “reality.” Orwellian Doublethink doesn't get much more straightforward than this.
Ringer wrote this in response to the recent removal of six Muslim imams from a US Airways flight before it departed Minneapolis for Phoenix. According to the AP report, “Witnesses said the men prayed in the terminal and made critical comments about the Iraq war, according to the police report, and a US Airways manager said three of the men had only one-way tickets and no checked baggage.”
US Airways, as a private entity, has every right to exclude anyone from flying and to “profile” whomever it pleases without asking permission. What is disturbing is that so many people to want the FEDGOV to do this profiling and to institutionalize it throughout society. They thereby sacrifice their liberty for the illusion of security. Ben Franklin was right: those who do this deserve neither liberty nor security.
Let us examine Ringer’s column in terms of the events of 9/11, and of freedom attacked and freedom lost. (1)
First of all, freedom was not attacked on 9/11. America was attacked. In spite of the massive death and devastation, those 19 Islamopsychopaths did not infringe what was left of our freedom. This idea that Osama bin Laden is going to take over America and have us all speaking Arabic and praying to Mecca five times a day is absurd. Bin Laden holds no office, commands no armies and has perhaps a few thousand followers. He has not even taken over Afghanistan, so he is no threat to take over America or the world.
Second of all, 9/11 would not have happened had we not already relinquished one of our most fundamental freedoms, i.e. the God-given, constitutionally guaranteed “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” (Italics mine.) This right had already been infringed aboard airplanes for decades.
Ringer writes: “In all fairness, I must say that I believe most free-speech and civil-rights advocates are well meaning – well-meaning, but naive. Sorry, but when someone points a gun at you and says he's going to kill you, you don't have time to engage in an intellectual dialog about free speech and civil rights. The first order of business is to kill the guy with the gun in his hand.”
On that horrible morning of 9/11, the passengers and crew of those four jets were unable to defend themselves when the Islamopsychopaths whipped out their box cutters and went to work. (Oh sure, some brave souls on Flight 93 fought back, but not until after the terrorists had commandeered the plane.) If the first order of business is to kill the guy who wants to kill you, the 9/11 passengers were denied that ability.
I have heard it said by those who would take away our civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism “your civil liberties don’t matter when you’re dead” and that “3000 people lost their civil liberties on 9/11”. To this I say: 9/11 would not have happened had air passengers and crew members not been forced to sacrifice the civil liberty to bust a cap on the guy who has a gun or a box cutter or whatever pointed at you and has announced that he wants to kill you.
Since 9/11, there has been endless dialog about confronting terrorism. Almost all of it points to taking away even more freedom. We now have the Patriot Act, warrantless spying, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the hideously intrusive TSA grope-and-grab airport searches. (Can anyone think of just one actual terrorist that TSA has apprehended?)
And if you implicitly trust our current president with such sweeping power as he now has, let me ask you something. Would you have so trusted the last president? And would you trust a future president from the last president's party, especially if she were married to the previous president?
Who would ever have thought that, in "the land of the free", we would have “security crackdowns” and that federal flunkies would be splitting hairs over the size of toothpaste tubes that people can carry on with their luggage?
We would not be having any of these conversations – and September 11, 2001 would have been just another day – had we not succumbed to the absurd notion that we must surrender or God-given rights when we board airplanes. We turned airplanes into gun-free zones and we got 9/11. (We turned schools into gun-free zones and we got Columbine and numerous other tragedies.)
The moral of the story is never give up your rights! Whenever you surrender your rights, bad things happen. And when bad things happen, there is always someone smiling from ear to ear asking you to give up even more of your rights.
Those who will take your freedom always purport to have the best of intentions. However, it is your duty as a citizen to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Especially if they are with the FEDGOV.
What will you do when your government assumes unlimited power? (Isn’t this the kind of government we are supposedly fighting against in this War on Terror?) What rights will you have then?
The prospect of an out-of-control, all-powerful FEDGOV is far more frightening than terrorists. The enemy within can do far more damage than the enemy without. And this is why you must never give up your rights!
(1) Author's note: I am one of those 9/11 "truthers". I do not buy the official story on 9/11. For purposes of this column, however, I am going to take the government at its word about the events. In so doing I hope to expose what an endless deluge of lies surrounds this episode.
Thank you for sharing your most timely essay, "Never Give Up Your Rights!". I am glad someone is addressing this issue. Indeed, anytime, anywhere, one encounters a person in a position of power and influence uttering anything like, "We must now lay down some of our Constitutional rights, because of the great threat that _____ poses.", then, baby, look out! Because anything that one can possibly fill that blank with won't be good enough. -- MS
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Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman