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An Astounding Remark
Future of Freedom Foundation ^ | Sheldon Richman

Posted on 02/06/2002 5:05:45 AM PST by francisandbeans

When Attorney General John Ashcroft told the nation, "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists," he wasn't blazing any new trails. He was merely doing what despots and would-be despots always do: attempting to intimidate into silence those who dare to question him.

Ashcroft's statement is one of the most astounding things to be said by a U.S. official in many years. To read it carefully — letting its full message sink in — is to be overtaken by a sense of horror that is otherwise hard to imagine. Every American should be offended to hear the government's chief law enforcement officer equate public expressions of concern about the threats to liberty from drastic "anti-terrorism" measures with joining al-Qaeda. Does Ashcroft have such a low estimate of the American people's intelligence?

Perhaps he needs to become acquainted with Thomas Jefferson. It was Jefferson who said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." That's true in the best of times. It's doubly true during war — especially an Orwellian undeclared, open-ended crusade against an enemy as nebulous as "international terrorism." Ashcroft is a perfect Orwellian character. In 1984, Big Brother told his people that "freedom is slavery." It follows that slavery is freedom. Ashcroft refuses to concede that the Bush administration is seeking to curtail liberty in the least. Those who see diminished liberty must be hallucinating, seeing "phantoms of lost liberty."

So when the president unilaterally abolishes due process for noncitizens, we are only imaging an erosion of liberty. And when Congress passes, without even reading, the administration's alleged anti-terrorism bill, which expands the government's powers of surveillance, permits secret searches of homes, and weakens judicial oversight of law enforcement, again, we are deluded if we think freedom is evaporating. I write "alleged anti-terrorism bill" because the new law does not restrict the expanded powers to suspected terrorists, but applies them to any criminal activity. This is a classic power grab under the cover of an emergency. September 11 has given policymakers a chance to bring down from the shelf every new police power they have wanted for years. They assume no one will question the need for such broad powers, and if anyone does, they can shut him up by portraying him as an ally of the terrorists. The game is rigged in favor of power.

It is no comfort that the erosion of liberty in the name of fighting terrorism has a bipartisan cast to it. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York has given his blessing to oppressive government with an op-ed in the Washington Post titled "Big Government Looks Better Now." As Schumer puts it, barely concealing his glee, "For the foreseeable future, the federal government will have to grow... The era of a shrinking federal government has come to a close." Of course, the senator was trying to enlarge it long before September 11.

Schumer insists that only the federal government "has the breadth, strength and resources" to keep us secure. Forgive me for asking, but did we not have a federal government on September 11? Was it not in charge of our security on that date? Then what is the senator talking about? And if it isn't impolite to ask, just where does the federal government get all those resources? Last time I checked, it didn't produce anything. It simply took resources from the people who did produce them.

Once we understand that all government possesses is the power of legal plunder our whole perspective changes. Schumer insists that "the notion of letting a thousand different ideas compete and flourish — which works so well to create goods and services — does not work at all in the face of a national security emergency. Unity of action and purpose is required, and only the federal government can provide it." But he’s got it wrong. Security is a service. Competition and innovation are valuable in the effort to keep ourselves safe. The last thing we need is central planning. That’s what we had on September 11.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial
KEYWORDS:
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1 posted on 02/06/2002 5:05:45 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: OWK; NC_Libertarian; Wolfie; fod; Cato; goseminoles; tigerseye; dead
ping
2 posted on 02/06/2002 5:06:49 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans
I'll give it five minutes before someone accuses you of being with the terrorists.
3 posted on 02/06/2002 5:11:46 AM PST by Loopy
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To: francisandbeans
Bump for later reading
4 posted on 02/06/2002 5:12:11 AM PST by Just another Joe
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To: Loopy
yeah....I'll have to change my name to francisandlentils.
5 posted on 02/06/2002 5:12:35 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: JimRobinson
After this comment, can John Ashcroft be exempt from the "no smearing" rule?
6 posted on 02/06/2002 5:16:44 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: Loopy
tick, tick, tick
7 posted on 02/06/2002 5:17:13 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: francisandbeans
This report goes well with the article on American Propaganda posted yesterday. It's located here. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/617135/posts. I recommend it for reading because it perfectly explains the Ashcroft comment.
8 posted on 02/06/2002 5:21:20 AM PST by Loopy
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To: francisandbeans
This is some scary stuff...

And the worst is that the neo-cons are lapping it up....

We need to take a look at what's being said... and what's being done...

9 posted on 02/06/2002 5:21:42 AM PST by Beenliedto
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Loopy
That thread was freightening. Not the actual article mind you (I found it OK, but over the top) but the kneejerkism that followed wouldn't allow me to get beyond post 44 or so.
11 posted on 02/06/2002 5:28:51 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: Central Scrutiniser
You cannot break the breasts of liberty!

You can however give it a t*tty twister.

12 posted on 02/06/2002 5:29:41 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: Central Scrutiniser
Statues? On Central Avenue?

g

13 posted on 02/06/2002 5:32:03 AM PST by Geezerette
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To: francisandbeans
BUMP--- if you got an extra spot open on your ping list, throw me in there please
14 posted on 02/06/2002 5:32:26 AM PST by steve50
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To: steve50
I would if it exsisted. Those were just some names from memory. If you have a pingergong, can you use it?
15 posted on 02/06/2002 5:33:41 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans
bump for later
16 posted on 02/06/2002 5:35:21 AM PST by Fzob
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To: Loopy
I'll give it five minutes before someone accuses you of being with the terrorists.

Funny how that works, isn't it?

What Ashcroft said should chill anybody who lives in What's Left of America to the bone.

17 posted on 02/06/2002 5:35:53 AM PST by Jefferson Adams
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To: francisandbeans
After this comment, can John Ashcroft be exempt from the "no smearing" rule?

If it's the truth, or can be reasonably advanced as the truth based on the evidence, it's not a smear. For instance, stating that Clinton is corrupt, a habitual liar, a sexual predator, etc. is not a smear -- there are plenty of clear indications for all of the above.

18 posted on 02/06/2002 5:37:17 AM PST by steve-b
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To: Central Scrutiniser
Hey man, if you are not with us, you are against us, now I gotta go break the breasts off of some statues..

LOL

19 posted on 02/06/2002 5:38:11 AM PST by Jefferson Adams
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To: francisandbeans
Ah, yes, the nattering nabobs of negativism at work again (or still).
20 posted on 02/06/2002 5:40:00 AM PST by Whilom
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To: francisandbeans
Just imagine hearing the comment in your place of business;"We're from the justice department, and we're here to help."

Hearing that sentence will make a normal citizen's blood run cold.

All those happy with hearing that sentence - should support Ashcroft's position. The converse is also true.

Regards,

(ps: if you are changing your screen name, might I suggest twig and berries?)

21 posted on 02/06/2002 5:40:10 AM PST by Triple
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To: steve-b
No I meant could I call him a "insecure statist little jerkbag who wouldn't know the constitution if it were tattooed backwards on his forehead."
22 posted on 02/06/2002 5:40:43 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: Whilom
ugh
23 posted on 02/06/2002 5:42:41 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans

24 posted on 02/06/2002 5:44:14 AM PST by Arkle
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To: francisandbeans
That thread was frightening.

Yikes, no kidding. I didn't see it yesterday, unfortunately. The responses, taken together with Ashcroft's statement here on this thread, make me want to get rid of any shirts I have that might have the color brown in them.

25 posted on 02/06/2002 5:47:05 AM PST by Jefferson Adams
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To: francisandbeans
Security is an illusion and those who peddle it are charlatans.
26 posted on 02/06/2002 5:48:16 AM PST by metesky
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To: francisandbeans
A pox on you for not being the model sycophant that you're supposed to be. How dare you question the words of our Attorney General. There is no doubt in my mind that not only are you with the terrorists, you are one as well. Your words prove it. Get out of my country!

</bulls#!t></sarcasm>

27 posted on 02/06/2002 5:49:41 AM PST by Hoosier Patriot
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To: Jefferson Adams
What is refreshing is that on this thread there has been only one person who is even remotely defending Ashcroft.
28 posted on 02/06/2002 5:50:01 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans
September 11 has given policymakers a chance to bring down from the shelf every new police power they have wanted for years. They assume no one will question the need for such broad powers, and if anyone does, they can shut him up by portraying him as an ally of the terrorists.

There was nothing new in the "anti-terror" legislation. Many things such as secret searches were attempted by being tacked onto drug war legislation. There was enough of a constitutional uproar to prevent it.

It's all power looking for a cause and it has found one. This is scary sh!t.

And A$$croft's power grab is disgusting enough as it is without him trying to silence concerns over the very liberty that make this country great. He is a dispicable waste of hydrocarbons.

Great article.

29 posted on 02/06/2002 5:50:44 AM PST by NC_Libertarian
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To: tex-oma
ping
30 posted on 02/06/2002 5:51:03 AM PST by francisandbeans
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: francisandbeans
I'm surprised. Perhaps we should ping Miss Marple or Howlin or Sinkspur. I'm sure that they'd be happy to call you a terrorist.
32 posted on 02/06/2002 5:52:24 AM PST by Loopy
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To: Miss Marple; Howlin; Sinkspur
I am a glutten
33 posted on 02/06/2002 5:53:12 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans
So much disinterested rationality.
34 posted on 02/06/2002 5:54:07 AM PST by Loopy
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To: Loopy
seriously, I am really interested in the depth of ones allegience to their "leaders." I wanna see how someone can defend the statement.
35 posted on 02/06/2002 5:54:27 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans
I read a speech Ashcroft made while in the Senate about klintoons attempt to increase police powers to fight terrorism, he seems to have done a complete 180 since then.

He has no concern over the power, as long as he gets to control it. Wonder if I'm allowed to say that?

36 posted on 02/06/2002 5:54:48 AM PST by steve50
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: francisandbeans; Loopy
I wouldn't dream of ruining your little party on this thread; just talk amongst yourselves. As usual.
38 posted on 02/06/2002 5:55:57 AM PST by Howlin
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To: francisandbeans
Imagine if this was a Pat Buchanan piece...
39 posted on 02/06/2002 5:56:33 AM PST by Mr.E
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To: boston_liberty, MK, sandy, riley1992
Ping
40 posted on 02/06/2002 5:57:00 AM PST by NC_Libertarian
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To: Howlin
Come on Howlin. Tell me what Ashcroft really meant.
41 posted on 02/06/2002 5:57:12 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans
You seem to already KNOW what he meant, so I'll let you and your pals have fun being smug and all knowing.
42 posted on 02/06/2002 5:58:15 AM PST by Howlin
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To: steve50
Wonder if I'm allowed to say that?

Not if I can help it buddy. I hit the abuse button on your post 50 times, once for each state in this great union, in a symbolic gesture of my disgust at your audacity to make such a statement in this time of war. Don't you know that you're supposed to act like a lemming now?

</even_greater_sarcasm>

43 posted on 02/06/2002 5:59:33 AM PST by Hoosier Patriot
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To: Howlin
tee-hee! Sucks to be boxed in, don't it?
44 posted on 02/06/2002 5:59:39 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: francisandbeans
What is refreshing is that on this thread there has been only one person who is even remotely defending Ashcroft.

I suspect that may be because most folks are kindof sick and tired of the circle jerks you unappeasables tend to run on your threads.

I get a mental picture of polyster plaid shirts, stretch slacks and too-wide ties. I see balding, paunchy men and camo-wearing women knodding earnestly at each sage remark recorded for posterity by a fellow "patriot".

What *will* it take to convince you folks that this isn't some kind of game we're playing with the terrorists? Another WTC?

Oh, who cares? You guys are fringe playazz anyway, right there next to the Chomskyists and Howard Zinn fanatics. I don't know why I bother.

45 posted on 02/06/2002 6:00:59 AM PST by borkrules
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To: francisandbeans
You make a great point. The depth of their allegiance is limitless. You see Howlin has simply refused to defend it. He/she simply decries those who criticize, just like Mr. Ashcroft.

I've been saying for a while that this is just Doublethink or avoidance of ThoughtCrime. These people can refuse to believe that which is obvious if they have been told to. It is really that simple. I spent two days trying to convince two such good outer party members that the USA allowed the Pakistani ISI to evacuate Taliban and Al Quaeda. The incident was well documented. I posted three stories (AP, NYT, WSJ) and another guy on the thread posted a fourth (MSNBC) all confirming that it happened. But instead of accepting that this happened or even that it COULD have happened, they chose to believe bald assertions from the FedGov.

In sum, they believe everything. They cannot not believe everything because they have been conditioned to believe everything and they want to believe everything. They love Big Brother.

46 posted on 02/06/2002 6:01:52 AM PST by Loopy
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To: francisandbeans
I seem to recall that Bill Clinton commented that Americans had too many freedoms and the response thereto was muted.
47 posted on 02/06/2002 6:02:18 AM PST by monocle
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To: borkrules
so you agree with ashcroft in this respect?

I would love to hear how, and perhaps without the condescention and name calling. That's the funny thing about some folks, they act like saying that ashcroft is over the line is some sort of blasphemy.

You can repect someone and still acknowledge that they had an idiotic moment.

48 posted on 02/06/2002 6:03:29 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: Jefferson Adams
Yeah.....bring back Janet Reno. There was a REAL attorney general!
49 posted on 02/06/2002 6:05:17 AM PST by estpeter
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To: francisandbeans
Perhaps you would prefer it is the government did absolutely nothing to prevent further attacks, but not me. I, for one, believe that it's better to fight terrorism than to lay down and let it roll over you. But, of course, if this country was destroyed from within or from outside, I'm sure you'd be happy. You all have SUCH a better plan to run things, don't you?

If it wouldn't put people at such great risk, I just wish ONE WEEK you armchair warriors and know-it-alls had to put your money where you mouth was; maybe if you ever had to be in charge, things wouldn't be quiet as easy as they appear to you from that computer chair.

As for me, I'd rather DO something, than WHINE about something. I'd rather TRY to do something, rather than continually mock the people who are trying to SAVE our freedom, whether they find the best path the first time or not.

BTW, anybody who threatens MY FREEDOM is a terrorist in my book. I'll come down on the side of those trying to protect our freedom every single time.

50 posted on 02/06/2002 6:05:28 AM PST by Howlin
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