Dr. Ron Paul - It Can't Happen Here...........

John blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon Jan 3 17:41:21 MST 2005


Ron Paul - It Can't Happen Here
House Web Site ^ | 12-20-2004 | Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

Posted on 12/20/2004 9:42:29 AM PST by jmc813

In 2002 I asked my House colleagues a rhetorical question with
regard to the onslaught of government growth in the post-September
11th era: Is America becoming a police state?

The question is no longer rhetorical. We are not yet living in a
total police state, but it is fast approaching. The seeds of
future tyranny have been sown, and many of our basic protections
against government have been undermined. The atmosphere since 2001
has permitted Congress to create whole new departments and
agencies that purport to make us safer- always at the expense of
our liberty. But security and liberty go hand-in-hand. Members of
Congress, like too many Americans, don’t understand that a society
with no constraints on its government cannot be secure. History
proves that societies crumble when their governments become more
powerful than the people and private institutions.

Unfortunately, the new intelligence bill passed by Congress two
weeks ago moves us closer to an encroaching police state by
imposing the precursor to a full-fledged national ID card. Within
two years, every American will need a “conforming” ID to deal with
any federal agency-- including TSA at the airport.

Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress don’t believe
America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough.
They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of
authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary
executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the
foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more
accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary
authority- all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above
all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our
privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. We
tolerate inconveniences and infringements upon our liberties in a
manner that reflects poorly on our great national character of
rugged individualism. American history, at least in part, is a
history of people who don’t like being told what to do. Yet we are
increasingly empowering the federal government and its agents to
run our lives.

Terror, fear, and crises like 9-11 are used to achieve complacency
and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing
they are still a free people. The loss of liberty, we are assured,
will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary. Many citizens believe
that once the war on terror is over, restrictions on their
liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and
open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final
goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this
mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers
indefinitely?

Washington DC provides a vivid illustration of what our future
might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police
barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully
automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The
people are totally disarmed; only the police and criminals have
guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street
activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There's not
much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks
do not complain-- anything goes if it's for government-provided
safety and security.

After all, proponents argue, the government is doing all this to
catch the bad guys. If you don’t have anything to hide, they ask,
what are you so afraid of? The answer is that I’m afraid of losing
the last vestiges of privacy that a free society should hold dear.
I’m afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens
to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove
wrongdoing. Most of all, I’m afraid of living in a society where a
subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful
government.

It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by
the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of
what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded
into believing total government supervision is necessary and
helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material
comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of
living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at
home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher
interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point
attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend
toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.

Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor
students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is
capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a
free people.



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