Freedom has a price. It is a price that we have been willing to pay for hundreds of years in most Western societies. The cost is a certain degree of necessary anxiety as a result of the unpredictable nature of disparate human impulses.
When the citizens and leaders of a society become jittery and fearful enough, they tend to sell their freedom for safety from the unknown and unpredictable. In societies that have cowed to fear, you may be stoned to death for committing adultery, you may be sanctioned for ‘extremist’ views, or you may be put to death for a crime you have not committed. That is a problem with a secure society. It is, after all, a myth. The upside is that all the trains tend to run on time.
To live in a free society we must tolerate known criminals living in our midst. We must tolerate all sorts of political and philosophical opinions that are an affront to our sensibilities. We have to accept the fact that anything can happen. Many unpleasant possibilities are plausible, even the possibility of being killed. But that’s life. Security is a myth and if we take a look around, if we take a look at what happens when societies give in to fear, we can see what happens. Those societies become tyrannical nightmares.
There is a border, a clear and distinct line that we cannot cross. We must prosecute a crime AFTER the individual has acted. And no nation can act against another preemptively.
That means that we cannot prosecute pedophiles that are likely to harm children before they act. Instead, we have to be awake and aware and take steps to protect them ourselves. The state cannot do it. We cannot prosecute those that will likely murder their spouse before they act. We have to act to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The state cannot do it. In free societies we have always endured this precarious situation. But we have done it.
But now all that is changing and what it may mean for us is a future of having to endure the iron shackles of an arbitrary and brutal state apparatus. We have to ask ourselves if we are that cowardly. Are we timid and fearful to the point that we allow the terrorists that slaughtered the people in the twin towers to take away our freedom?
They seem to be winning the war that Bush had boldly declared against terrorism. Not so much in the sense that they are managing to create enough carnage and fear in Iraq to be party to the complete terrorizing of that society as much as the effect they are having on American society. This also spills over into British, Canadian, Australian and many other societies.
Coincidentally, and fortunately for the terrorists of both stripes (the Arab terrorists and the American terrorists) there were two bombings in London just prior to a vote in the US House of Representatives on renewal of the misnamed and potentially fascistic Patriot Act. Following hours of intense debate they voted 257-171 to permanently extend 14 of 16 provisions that had a four year sunset. The remaining two provisions were given a ten year lease on life. This would not have happened without the London bombings. You'd almost think the Mid-Eastren and Western neo cons were working together. One provision is to permit "roving wiretaps" and the other will allow the state to search individuals library and medical records.
If it is the long term plan of the terrorists to destroy individual freedom in the West, they are doing a bang up job. Unfortunately, they are on the same page in this regard as the neo cons that are pushing this cancerous virus against the spirit of freedom through the media, through legislation and through the minds of the timid and fearful fools that buy into this fearful bullshit.
On this political front, we may have to make uncomfortable bedfellows. There are some conservatives that are vehemently passionate about individual liberty, some liberals and socialists as well. On this matter, we should be prepared to drop the guns we tend to hold at one another's heads and work together against the conservatives, liberals and socialists, that don't give a flying fuck about individual liberty and especially the terrorists and neo cons that are working to destroy it.