Skip to comments.Unfree Republic: Thread II
Posted on 09/24/2001 4:24:58 PM PDT by Rebeckie
by Jeff Elkins
Let the stench of Middle East flesh reach Paradise reassuring them that these filth have gone to hell permanently."
The quote above is representative of many posted on the FreeRepublic.com site in the wake of the WTC attack, and unfortunately its like is not uncommon elsewhere. Americans are angry, predictably and rightly so, but just as predictable are the side effects. As always, that righteous anger will be accepted as a beloved gift by the state and molded into tools of oppression.
Its funny how that works. Every single state-sponsored war the US has become embroiled in has resulted in an inexorable increase in the power of the state.
Its also funny that its always assumed that human behavior in the past has no relation to how we behave today. Why those people were old-fashioned, were modern, educated, etc.
The beginning of this repeating pattern has already become public with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. It has an ominous sound, that name, almost Germanic. (I cant wait to see the uniforms.)
On April 13, 1917, days after our entry into World War One, President Wilson created the Committee on Public Information to promote the war domestically while publicizing American war aims abroad. Bush has replicated that step, with this new cabinet-level department.
Under the leadership of journalistic muckraker George Creel, the CPI was a propaganda apparatus unparalleled at that point in world history. The CPI functioned as a de facto public censor, vetting nearly all published material about the war and helping to draft legislation such as the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. In the months prior to our entry into the war and especially after our entry when they were nearly criminal, antiwar viewpoints were rarely heard.
The same pattern emerges now: Penn. Gov. Tom Ridge will be President Bushs George Creel, and just as in those dim days of yesteryear, hell have plenty of willing civilian accomplices. And after all, theres so much more to censor -- Ridge will need all the help he can get. In seeking warriors for the front line of Internet censorship, Ridge needs look no farther than FreeRepublic.com. The atmosphere there is now poisonous.
Again, look back to Wilson's CPI. It encouraged businesses to spy on their employees, parents to spy on their children, children to spy on their parents, neighbors to spy on neighbors, and above all to report "disloyal," pro-German sentiments. State authorities banned the teaching of German in schools and changed German street names. As the madness mounted, those regarded as pro-German were hounded from their jobs, pressured to change their German names, beaten, and in a few cases lynched. Almost all cases of violence, while incited by the state, were carried out by "civilians" in the grip of war hysteria.
Along with this anti-German hysteria, Congress passed several measures designed to rigidly suppress criticism of the war. In particular, the Espionage Act, passed in June 1917, specified a fine of $10,000 or twenty years in prison for "whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag."
The Espionage Act was very popular in its day. It was cheered on by mindless lemmings under the influence of state propaganda. Their great grandchildren now inhabit FreeRepublic.com, viciously attacking anyone who questions the wisdom of the state.
Our Congress is considering similar measures under the rubric of "anti-terrorism," and as it was at the beginning of the 20th Century, the FreeRepublic lemmings of the 21st are cheering the morally corrupt politicians along.
Its not just message posters on the site. The management of FreeRepublic has instituted a "loose lips sink ships" campaign, with new moderators patrolling the forum to delete posts that in their opinion are detrimental to the "war effort."
The FreeRepublic mission statement claims "We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America."
Sanctimonious hogwash. Everything old is new again the keyboard warriors of FreeRepublic would be right at home in 1917 shilling for Wilson.
September 24, 2001
No uniforms. Just armbands.
Headzup! Quote of the day nomination here.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 01-261
Section 6. This Executive Order shall remain in full force and effect until the earlier of its revocation or June 30, 2003.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 01-262
Section 4. I hereby order the Adjutant General to activate the Florida National Guard for the duration of this emergency, and I hereby place the National Guard under the direction of the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency.
Now, we also need to admit that there is and has been a great deal of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, jingoistic rhetoric floating around in various posts in the forum these days.
A lot of that is understandable. We all need to vent anger on occassion.
But, while I don't accept and strongly disagree with the characterizations of FReepers made in this article, I think he is pointing out something that is significant. I am also a bit uneasy about how fast some of us have switched from sullen suspicion to lock-step approval of the Federal government here. It wasn't that long ago when FEMA was a bigger boogie-man on the forum than Saddam Hussien.
Yes this is a war. Yes, we need to support our Government and most definitely our Servicemembers as they fight it. But we also need to calm down and remember that we are not slaves or subjects to a crown, and that we have an obligation to keep a close eye on what our government is doing to ensure that it is acting in the best interests of the American republic. This is an obligation of citizenship that cannot be shirked at any time if the nation is to remain free.
That's what bothers me most out of everything that has been said and done, that some are willing to give up a few more rights to feel safe. They may give up those rights to feel safe from an overseas or terrorist threat, but they become less safe and less protected from the government.
Lew needs to understand that unlike his site, we are a forum. I wonder what would have happened if he opened his site to comments from readers. In fact, I know that, because I posted from him at least once and participated in many threads that followed his articles. Lew is good in staking out some least popular position, usually with a libertarian bend, and making a case for it. On this war, the unpopular does not translate to the right.
Headzup! Quote of the day nomination here.