- BitsBlog - http://bitsblog.theconservativereader.com -

Rights Won, Lost, War On Terror, And the Democrats

A few clips of Fran, yesterday, [1] along with my comments;

Your Curmudgeon is an ardent hawk. He believes passionately that Islam must be whipped back into its Arabian kennel and quarantined there, no matter what that undertaking might do to the price of oil. The evidence of the past thirty years is unambiguous on this point: Islam is intrinsically hostile to freedom, animates its devotees to work against freedom, and cannot be permitted to take root in a free society. (Please, no objections about the “nice Muslims” who live next door to you. There were plenty of nice Communists who merely thought that Stalin “went too far.”) But the necessity of this undertaking does not diminish the hazards it poses to American society.

Very true. I think a lot of Americans of lost sight of that point.

Over the five years of the War on Terror, Americans have endured virtually no additional infringements of their “civil liberties.” That may sound strange to some, but it is true nonetheless. No right of Americans protected by the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, or Eighth Amendments has been abridged.

Well, as worded, not strictly true, but it’s a minor quibble; Perhaps we should say, rather, that no additional rights abridgments have occurred in this war on that would not have occurred otherwise .  Particularly as regards the Patriot act:

The sole impact of the PATRIOT Act was to empower the federal government to collect and make use of information from sources that were already deemed public by long-established precedent and law. While some of these activities might in time be adjudged imprudent, none violate either the letter or the spirit of the Constitution of these United States. Paradoxically, Americans have been quite vigilant about their privacy and procedural rights — and the equivalent rights of others — during this time of trial. Perhaps we’ve been sensitized adequately by the events of the century past.

Again, very true.  And Look;

I would be a liar, if I did not stipulate that the concerns expressed by some Americans over those issues involved in the Patriot act are completely justified… But I think under the circumstances, that they should also be satisfied with the answers provided, at least insofar as the patriot act and our government’s actions surrounding the War on Terror are concerned.  But here’s where we’ve gotten into problems; the growth of government outside those parameters,and in those areas where most Americans have not been paying as close an attention as Fran rightly puts it :

The infamous Kelo decision was only the most conspicuous aspect of these excisions. Note how much higher state and local taxes have become, most especially property taxes, virtually everywhere in America. Note the tightening of restrictions on the development of real property, particularly on environmental and “open space” pretexts. Note how, despite the obvious, immediate urgency of expanding our domestic energy sources, the mazes to be negotiated even to increase the capacity of an existing refinery are more complex and forbidding than ever. And note as always how businesses “offshore” ever more activities that American law, regulation, and tort practice have made impossible or prohibitively expensive. [2]

None of this sounds directly attributable to the War on Terror — and it isn’t. But Americans have been so narrowly focused on the War, and on the related activities of the federal government, that the above incursions on their property rights and freedom of enterprise have passed almost entirely under their radar. In other words, our attention to our martial activities in defense of “our way of life” has distracted us from matters of ultimately equal importance to that way: advances against our rights by entities of predatory nature, which are massed much closer to our doorsteps than the forces of the Islamic menace.

I would point out that it was not Republicans, nor conservatives, that were behind Kelo, but leftist Democrats.
As such I’m not sure I’d use the words that Fran does here to describe the issue.. rather, that while we have been so worried about intrusions on our rights of these of the the prosecution of the WOT, which I consider to be a just prosecution, we’ve lost sight of the intrusions in our daily lives from government that were not related to the WOT. Which, by my measurement is just as the Democrats would HAVE you thinking.

There is something of a dichotomy there that needs to be examined, though I expect they’d rather you didn’t..

The people on the Democratic side of the aisle, who, let’s face it… have traditionally not been all that worried about the rights of the individual before the Patriot Act was on the table, and who certainly to this day are not overly concerned about, for example, the gross taxation and other intrusions being placed on the American people, were the very same ones screaming the loudest and longest at the slightest intrusion.  It’s enough to make one wonder whether they are really focusing on individual rights, or, simply about stopping us from defending ourselves, or perhaps just scoring political points, or both. This thought would seem to mesh with the idea that now they’re won the most recent election they’d not a clue as to how to deal with the terrorism problem. Maureen Dowd as much as admitted this the other day. [3]
I note with some pleasure, though that Fran does.

Let there be no mistake: We are at war because we must be. America is under attack by external enemies who must be defeated utterly. Their aim is our subjugation or destruction. They will not slacken in their efforts until we have so humbled them that the very thought of displeasing us causes them to lose their sphincter control.

Aside from being closed by a classic line, the absolute truth is in that paragraph.  Go back and read it again.

But the necessity of this war must not be used as a pretext for the unjustified and permanent expansion of state power over us. Indeed, Americans desirous of reclaiming individual liberty and Constitutional governance would be better advised to regard the war as an opportunity for counterattack.

Quite so.  Yet at the same time, it should be pointed out that it has not been used as such. For example the infamous Kelo decision as Fran mentions, was most certainly not made under the pretext of the war on terror. Nor, I suspect, will it be .

Certainly, we should be vigilant.  We should not let down our guard.  Yet, let’s not be so all consumed on rights as regards our actions the the war on terror, and lose sight of the rest of it. Because I think that’s where the real attack on rights is coming from.

There are those currently in government, and more who will take their oaths of office after the first of next year, who would prefer you have so tight a focus on the rights issues surrounding the war on terror, and there alone… so tightly would they have you focus on those, that you lose sight of their kind of intrusions, which are of a far more odious, and a less defensible nature. Consider the rights losses that occurred during their last long run in power… losses that are now set in the stone of law, and practice.

At the end of the day, governments , and the members thereof, can be replaced.  In some measure, the rights that they remove from us, under any given pretext , can be returned to us, though often it is not.  Sometimes, the method of that reclaiming be violent.  But there it is.

I submit, however that the kind of rights losses we would be suffering if we were not fighting this war on terror, would be irreparable.  I submit , then, that we should be making our judgments about rights won, lost, and protected in the light of THAT measurement.

OTOH, we could always take up the issue of individual rights with the Imams who would surely be the authority if we were to, as the Democrats would have us..  stop fighting this war on terror.

Ummmmm… Good luck to you, on THAT one.