Yes, I am kidding you with that title. But only a little.
Tony Snow, who I regard as a good guy working at a shitty job, had this to say over the press leaks about a secret program initiated unilaterally by the Bush administration to search through money transfer records, including in some cases the transactions of American citizens both within the country and out of the country.
[T]he New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public’s right to know in some cases might override somebody’s right to live, and whether in fact the publications of these could place in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans.
Tony Snow, speaking on behalf of the Bush administration
So if someone is concerned about the civil rights being smothered and skirted by the Bush administration in its myopic quest against terrorism, they may be responsible for killing someone, according to that. Is there any other way to read it? If you override someone’s right to live, doesn’t that necessarily mean that you’ve killed them? If they still have life, their right to it hasn’t been violated, so the only way you can violate someone’s right to life is by killing them, or being responsible in some legally supportable way for their loss of life.
By the same logic, as a supporter of the Second Amendment, I’m responsible for killing the over 30,000 Americans per year who die of gunshot wounds. I’m responsible for placing in jeopardy the safety of fellow Americans.
It’s the old collectivist dream of everyone being responsible for everyone else. I’m not buying it from Conservatives any more than I’m buying it from Socialists.
- It’s not my responsibility to pay for your health care.
- It’s not my responsibility to get you a job.
- It’s not my responsibility to protect you from making poor decisions.
- It’s not my responsibility to feed you.
- It’s not my responsibility to educate you.
- It’s not my responsibility to protect you from harm.
And guess what… none of those are the government’s responsibility either.
It is, however, the government’s responsibility to submit to checks and balances. It is the government’s responsibility to respect and protect the Constitution. It’s written in plain English in the Presidential oath.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Oath taken by the President of the United States of America
Being content merely to survive wasn’t the way of Americans when this country was founded. “Live Free or Die” has changed into “the government can tap my phones or go through my bank records if it’ll make us all safer.” If dying isn’t an acceptable option, your motto must be “Live, at any cost.” The cost, unsurprisingly, is freedom.
Freedom enables terrorism. Suck on that for a minute.
What follows from that is that you can reduce terrorism by reducing freedom. A lot of people are fine with that. To a depressing majority of Americans, freedom isn’t a treasure… it is a liquid asset. Expendable, when something “better” comes along, like the false promise of safety. It’s not worth the risk. It’s not worth anyone’s life (well, except for our soldiers!)
I see a lot of bumper stickers that read “Freedom Isn’t Free.” Indeed it isn’t. It has downsides. Not only must people die to preserve freedom, but people will die because of it. Something to think about as you wave your little American flag or shoot of your fireworks this Fourth of July in an often hypocritical show of appreciation for freedom.
Yes, I’m aware that revelation of the government’s intrusive efforts to combat terror financing may result in an increase in terrorists’ ability to hide their funding, and thus be better able to finance their attacks. Eventually, they’ll succeed again, and people will die. I’ll likely be sad. I may even cry for them. God knows I did on 9/11. But even though I’ll mourn their deaths, I won’t for an instant think that our freedom wasn’t worth the cost. Everyone dies, but not everyone in the world gets to live free.
Terrorists aren’t attacking our freedom, they’re attacking our safety. Attacks on our freedom are purely our own doing.