Friday, October 06, 2006

More on Military Tribunals and Civil Liberties, and Fear

I think I want to amend mypost on the Military Tribunals bill. Because I realize after some conversations and thought that I see the Military Tribunals bill as the culmination of a long series of events that most people including most Democrats have not cared to object to. It is this sense that in a real sense what we are now facing in this country today because of this law did not appear all of a sudden out of thing air, nor did congress all of a sudden roll over and play dead at the behest of the Presidency. (I chose the word "presidency" purposfully.) No we have long loved a strong President and and strong presidency. We love Teddy Roosevelt and his "Walk softly and carry a big stick" and I thik that love of this has lead us hear to despotism made law.
As evidence I comend this article by Chris floyd "Fatal Vision: The Deeper Evil Behind the DetaineeBill", from TruthOut My internet aquaintances Huw and the Young Fogey lead me to this article. My only criticism of this article is that it almost could be interpreted that are allowing the Presidency to bomb people in retaliation for things (and kill unintended targets) is somehow acceptable but the really bad thing is to go after people individually. Now I don't think that was the authors intent but I would have liked the editorial to draw a straighter line between the Clinton memos, and Reagan Bush I, and Clinton practices of Presidential perogative and this new law.

For much of last century congress has in one way or another given up its duty to declare war and allowed the Presidency to take into itself all war powers. Can we really be surprised that said congress did not stand up in our current climate of fear and terror against this final and most destrcutive to our guarantee of liberites. I think not, because of fear. We have been affraid as a nation for some time that the constitution was mistaken in giving the power to declare war to congress that is so slow moving because debate over laws should take place. We have consistently denied that the defense of our nation should ever be up for debate because we have feared attack. We are a fearful people.

And right now the left is as full of fear as the right, they fear different things. It was the rhetoric of fear and fear mongering that I was attempting to address yesterday. I believe that while fear is an excelent motivator it is a poor ethicist. Fear is about self preservation and civil liberties at least the concern of others and not simply my own is motivated out of higher motives than fear. Fear is base, fear is primordial, fear is chaotic. "We" are now afraid that the Presidency can now declare "us" an enemy combantant and so we object, but I will still maintain that it isn't the scary draconian aspects that are the most objectionable here. This bill is objectionable even if there is nothing to fear. Even if I can't get anyone to fear this law, there are reasons to find this law beyond the pale. But both left and right this nation will have to stop fixating on its self and its own safety if such an argument can ever be heard.

So yes I was wrong scream at the top of your lungs your next to everyone you meet. However, by doing so you will not stop the terror even if somehow this is reveresed for you will have only appealed to the base motives of this nation.

Perhaps the American myth was only a legend, after all it was only George Washingtons lack of self cnetered ambition that kept him from being King George I. After all we saught a stronger central Government because we feard the Articles of confederation were too weak, and from the first we have saught to strengthen the executive branch of government. We love our excutives and we want them despotic, though kinder and gentler than our current despot.

No it is jperhaps about time we recognize that this grand experiment while wildly successful and beyond what anyone imagined when it started has always been mixed and troubled, and perhaps like so many attempts and democracy lead to some form of dictatorship.

Pesimistic you say: perhaps. But also perhaps there just is something deeply realistic about the traditional Christian notion of humanity as sinful and imperfect. We can neither be governed nor govern ourselves.

We are fearful people and we in vain seek safety and security above all else.

Here is an example of fear she may have reason to fear, I am not questioning that. I have found similar traces of possible government snooping on my site meter. But fear I believe is a poor motivator. Fear should alert us to danger not ground our responces to the world. There is a truer responce to danger.

Perhaps what we need to hear is "Fear not", but we can only hear this if we no that Love which cast out all fear. But that would also entail personally knowing the Truth. But I doubt in this time of pervasive relativism we really want to meet that one who is the Truth.

In responce to a comment I left on this blog a few weeks back someone posted saying I spoke alot about the Truth, and wanted me to define it, I didn't respond because I was quite certain he did not want to know, he Asked the question like Pilate Asked Jesus, convinced it was undefinable.

Oh and this post by Fr. Jim Tucker perhaps give further insight into the state of our nation and why so many in a state of terror don't even bat an eye at the passign of the Military Tribunals bill. I fond this thanks again to the Young Fogey.

Lastly, I have heard from various people the Rev. Martin Niemoller quote which is quite fitting I agree to our situtaion, yet I think it also speaks to my insistance that another logic other than fear and self-interest needs to be used in our resistance of such things. In part the failure spoken of in this poem is precisely the failure of fear as motivator, one does not fear for oneself until the last line of the poem and when there is somthing to fear there is little to be done. Love and care of others and the Other are what failed to happen in every line of this poem. It is our failure as well, it is the failure of a culture of "my rights." If only we had been listenting to the good Rev. Niemoller for the past 60 or so years.


I think I have perhaps ranted enough.

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