FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Enabling Tyranny

I recently read that Brigette Bardot, now in her 70s, has been arrested as a hate criminal for complaining that Muslims in France slaughter sheep without first stunning them. The famous actress is known for her sympathy with animals, but the French government preferred to interpret her remarks as hatred for Muslims. Prosecutor Anne de Fontetts promised to throw the book at Bardot.

There are many incongruities here. The French are persecuting one of their own for taking exception to the practices of an alien culture. But then, perhaps this is just being broad-minded. What really jumps out is: if Bardot’s animal rights position makes her a hate criminal, what does French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s foreign policy position make him?

According to Information Clearing House’s running tally as of July 12, 1,236,604 Iraqis have been slaughtered as a result of the Sarkozy-supported US invasion and occupation of Iraq. If Bardot is a hate criminal under French law for complaining about how Muslims prepare their mutton, why isn’t President Sarkozy a hate criminal for supporting an American policy that has resulted in the deaths of 1,236,604 Muslims and the displacement of 4 million Iraqis?

Such incongruities are everywhere. It is as if people are no longer capable of thought.

Last week the US Congress passed an ex post facto law that legalized the illegal behavior of telecommunication companies that enabled the Bush Regime to violate US law and to spy on Americans without warrants. Retroactive laws are unconstitutional. But, alas, the US Constitution does not make campaign contributions, and telecommunication companies do.

The Bush Regime claimed that its illegal behavior, which requires an unconstitutional retroactive law to protect telecommunication companies and President Bush from being held accountable, is necessary to protect us. But as our Founding Fathers and every intelligent patriotic person since has patiently explained to the American public, it is the Constitution that protects us. No safety can be found by fleeing the Constitution.

Without the Constitution we have no protection. We simply stand naked before unbridled government power.

That’s pretty much how we stand now after 7.5 years of the Bush Regime. Electing a Democratic Congress in 2006 did not make any difference. Indeed, it was a Democratic majority Congress that last week gave Bush his unconstitutional ex post facto law.

As Larry Stratton and I point out in the new edition of Tyranny, the US Constitution has no friends. The Democrats don’t like the Second Amendment (another incongruity in the face of the right-wing police state that Bush has created), and the Brownshirt Republicans regard the rest of our civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists.

Across the political spectrum, Americans are happy to shred the Constitution in behalf of some agenda or the other.

The government is happy to oblige, because shredding the Constitution removes constraints on the government’s power.

It has fallen to the private, member-supported organization known as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to challenge the retroactive law that destroys the privacy rights granted to US citizens by the Constitution. The ACLU is regarded by conservatives as a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Christianity, and the right-wing idiots on Fox “News” and talk radio will denounce the ACLU for wanting to empower terrorists.

Conservatives will repeat endlessly that Americans who are doing nothing wrong have nothing to fear. If this argument held any water, there would have been no point in the Founding Fathers writing the Constitution.

The position of the US Government is that the rights granted Americans by the Constitution facilitate terrorism. To be safe from terrorists, the argument goes, we must allow the government to take liberties with the Constitution. This argument gives government the power to set aside the Constitution, and, thus, enables tyranny. As Milton Friedman and many others taught us, rules are the essence of freedom, and discretionary power is the essence of tyranny.

Bush’s “war on terror,” essentially a hoax, has transformed the United States into a lawless nation. We are not lawless in the sense of an absence of laws. We are lawless in the sense that despite a surfeit of laws, we no longer have the rule of law.

If the President doesn’t like an existing law, he ignores it. If the President doesn’t like new laws passed by Congress, instead of vetoing them he prepares a “signing statement,” which says that he will determine what the law means.

This lawlessness has spread from the top of the federal government down to local governments and community associations. Recently the state of Georgia passed a law that reaffirmed that anyone with a carry permit was entitled to have their concealed weapon when dropping off or picking up passengers at the Atlanta airport. The Atlanta city government said it would not obey the state law and would arrest anyone, including the state legislator who sponsored the legislation, who carried a permitted weapon onto airport property.

A community in which I live has by-laws that forbid members of the board of the property owners association from serving as general manager of the designated community. This did not prevent the board from appointing one of their own the general manager. The POA board regards the by-laws which govern it as merely words without force.

Just like Bush regards the US Constitution.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
James McEnteer
Breathless
Ramzy Baroud
The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s new Jews?
Dean Baker
Pelosi Would Sabotage the Progressive Agenda With a Pay-Go Rule
Elliot Sperber
Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory 
Rivera Sun
The End of the NRA? Business Magazines Tell Activists: The Strategy is Working
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Historic Opportunity to Transform Trade
December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail