Forfeiting Liberty

Who would have believed that American citizens would voluntarily subject themselves to one of two offensive options in order to board an airplane:

a) Be electronically strip-searched and exposed to risky radiation, or

b) Have your body, including your genitals, felt by a government employee?

If you are not willing to be subjected to potentially dangerous doses of radiation and having your body, in all of its glory, presented to some stranger watching a screen, or you are not willing to be sexually assaulted, you cannot board an airplane in the United States.

We have not only reached the height of absurdity, but we have gradually surrendered our sense of who we are, and our liberty, to an over-reaching government that has no compunction about violating the Bill of Rights, and our Constitution.

Let me begin this discussion by saying that it is very clear that neither full body display scans nor some government employee feeling your body is going to prevent a determined terrorist from getting explosives on board a plane. This whole exercise by Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security is designed to make everyone feel like the government is doing something to protect its citizens, when, in fact, it is not.

Instead of looking for potential weapons the proper procedure would be to look for potential terrorists.

Frightening a three year old child or doing a body pat-down of a nun is not doing anything to protect American citizens, it is, instead, showing the power of the government to control your life and subject you to humiliation and to being demeaned. Subjecting American citizens to what would be sexual assault if it were done by anyone other than a government employee is the beginning of a police state.

The absurdity of forcing pilots – pilots, who fly our planes, to be subjected to this intrusive scrutiny shows the complete lack of common sense being used by our government. Israel, for example, doesn’t even use metal detectors at their terminals. They know that metal detectors, body scanners or body feels will not prevent terrorist activity.

Israel profiles potential terrorists. They know who is likely to be a potential terrorist. That does not include pilots, children or nuns. If you fit the profile of a potential terrorist, you are called into an office and you have a conversation with a security representative of El Al Airlines. They are very adept at figuring out who is a likely threat. They have never had a terrorist incident.

We need some common sense. The DHS should be identifying who potential terrorists may be, and putting them through intense scrutiny, and not subjecting the rest of American citizens to this process.

The fact is that potential terrorists are most likely men who are Muslim jihadists, and perhaps Muslim women, who want to do harm to those of us in the West who are not Muslim. The irony of this whole absurdity is that Muslim women and some Muslim men will be exempted from either a pat-down or the full body scan. Seriously?

But the worst thing about this process is what we, as citizens, are willing to accept in this country which was founded on the basis of Liberty.

Daniel Greenfield explains that we have developed a “siege” mentality.

To understand what that is, we first need to understand why things are the way they are. Security measures at airports are a defensive measure. And a society on the defense develops a siege mentality. In a society under siege, civil rights quickly go by the wayside. The longer the siege goes on, the more rights vanish, never to be recovered again, as people adopt the siege mentality. “If you don’t want to die, then just cooperate with the authorities”, is the byword of the siege mentality.

There is a very simple reason why we need airline security. Because we have Muslims living in the United States, and traveling to the United States. Unlike the old leftist terrorists, Muslim terrorists like to kill everyone on board and use the planes as weapons too. That makes the consequences of allowing them to succeed completely unacceptable. But we have spent so much time talking about the consequences, that we refuse to admit what the problem is.

American authorities refuse to admit there is any specific group that is responsible for terrorist acts. So, in place of that we treat everyone as if they were terrorists.

Greenfield states it accurately.

America is caught in a War of Terror with no end in sight, because we won’t admit who the enemy is. Instead we engage in appeasement. We keep reaching out to all the world’s Muslims, hoping to convince them to stop trying to kill us. We humiliate our own citizens. We learn to be afraid of our aircraft. Boarding a plane becomes a suicide pact, as we accept that the air force will shoot us down, if we are hijacked. And as time goes on, it will only get worse. We have still not even begun to learn the real meaning of terror.

The basic problem comes down to this. We have failed to put Islam on the defensive. We did briefly after 9/11, but no more. Today and for the last ten years, we have been on the defensive. Islam has been on the offensive. If we want our lives back. If we want our countries back. And if we want to fly without fear, then we have to change that. We have to put Muslims on the defensive. Or go on living under siege.

We are willing to allow ourselves to be abused, and subjected to unreasonable searches because we feel we are under siege, and that the government knows best. Did we forget that our founders created a Bill of Rights that gives us the right to prevent our government from taking such action?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in the cause of defending our liberty. Are we willing to simply forfeit that liberty?

Benjamin Franklin once said that those who are willing to trade liberty for security deserve neither. They’ll also get neither.

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Cross-posted at Modern Conservative

Video of Ayn Rand on Collectivism and Socialism

In this interview of Ayn Rand by Mike Wallace in 1958, Ayn Rand describes how elected leaders should have limited powers. She handles tough questions from Mike Wallace who consistently tries to trip her up or make her look silly. It is an amazing interview. Fifty years ago Ayn Rand predicted what would happen to the US economically if we continued to follow the trend toward collectivism and socialism.

I highly recommend you spend the 9 minutes to watch this important video. Rand says Americans have never been given the choice between freedom and collectivism.

This is an excerpt from a 1958 interview of Ayn Rand on the Mike Wallace Show. Ayn Rand was a child during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia before visiting America and staying.

Ayn Rand has a brilliant mind and fought against communist philosophy present in America in the 1930’s – 1950’s particularly. Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, speaks of how collectivism will destroy America’s free enterprise economic system. Ayn believes we should not be allowed to vote on EVERY issue.

She disdains government forced coercion in any name, even social inequalities. Some 50 years later we can see the devastation caused by social welfare programs that she warned against. Ayn Rand was a staunch defender of capitalism and attributed ALL economic problems to government meddling. Ayn says we Americans have not been given a choice between freedom and collectivism as both political parties both subscribe to socialism tenets. She says government “regulations are creating robber-barons” and that “capitalists with government help is the worst of all economic phenomenon”.

The GOP Gets A Second Chance

The GOP Gets A Second Chance

Great article by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:

THE MOST encouraging thing about the Republican triumph in last week’s midterm elections is that so many Republicans acknowledge that it wasn’t a Republican triumph.

“We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,” Florida’s impressive senator-elect, Marco Rubio, said in his victory speech Tuesday night. “What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.”

The same sentiment was expressed by the likely next House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia. “There isn’t a lot of confidence focused on the Republicans yet,” he told CBS the morning after the election. “It isn’t necessarily a vote of confidence for Republican leadership.”

Outside Congress, too, influential Republican strategists have been warning the victors against hubris and the temptation to gloat. “Republicans must not delude themselves,” wrote political mastermind Karl Rove. “The voters didn’t throw out the Democrats because they are enraptured with the GOP. . . . Republicans are on probation.”

So they are. Voters have been betrayed in the past by Republicans who ran for office vowing to shrink the scope and cost and intrusiveness of government, only to end up presiding over ever-more-bloated budgets, record-setting deficits, increasingly unaffordable entitlements, and disgraceful ethical lapses.

The last time a GOP majority took control of the US House of Representatives — under Newt Gingrich in January 1995 — Republicans produced a list of more than 300 unnecessary federal agencies, funds, and programs that they intended to “zero out” as proof of their fiscal responsibility. Yet nearly every item on that list was still alive and well when the Republicans lost their majority 12 years later. By then the GOP had grown as addicted to pork-barrel spending and the perks of power as the Democrats they had campaigned against. In Cantor’s words, Republicans had become “a party on the Bridge to Nowhere” — a biting reference to the proposed Alaska bridge that became a national symbol of earmark sleaze and irresponsible pork-barrel politics.

Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio on Election Night: “We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party.”

The tidal wave that swept so many Democrats out to sea last week was a repudiation of the extremely liberal Obama-Pelosi agenda of the past two years — the tax increases, the massive health-care overhaul, the trillion-dollar deficits, the regulatory explosion, and the condescending, we-know-best disdain for anyone who opposed them. As the lesser of two evils, Republicans ended up the big winners on Election Day. But they will not regain the trust they squandered the last time around without proving that they deserve it.

Indeed, according to a Rasmussen survey conducted last week, 59 percent of voters say it’s likely — 38 percent say very likely — that Americans “will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections.”

Intelligent Republicans know this only too well, which is why their historic gains on Nov. 2 triggered so little jubilation. “This is not a time for celebration,” said John Boehner, who will become Speaker of the House when the 112th Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3.

What is it time for, then? First and foremost, it is time to reverse the destructive Obama policies that have alarmed so many voters and made businesses so uneasy. It is essential that Republicans keep tax rates from rising. They must roll back spending decisively. And they must dismantle as much of the misbegotten health-care law as a party in control of just one house of Congress can.

They must also make it clear that they have learned from the failure of the previous GOP majority. That means permanently ending the pork-and-earmark culture that has so corrupted the budgeting process. It means defunding, not perpetuating, the corporate welfare and agriculture subsidies that violate every free-market principle Republicans claim to stand for. It means keeping their promise that no legislation will be voted on until members have had sufficient time to read and understand it. It means an end to automatic congressional pay raises, which are both obnoxious and a violation of the 28th Amendment.

Power tends to corrupt, Lord Acton said. It certainly corrupted the last Republican majority, which got hooked on the pleasures of authority and came to resemble the corrupt Democratic majority it had replaced. Now Republicans are being given another opportunity to govern. Let’s hope this time they stay true to their values.

(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).