Saturday, June 16, 2007

Shooting the cat... redux

When an article begins with hyperbole about how free speech is divinely blessed, you know that article is going to gut said freedom of speech. The rhetorical technique is a tired one.

1) Win some good graces by appealing to the principle about to be immolated.

2) Eviscerate said principle, happily protected from splattering blood and guts by the magical armor of the preceeding disclaimer.
Or, as momma used to say, "Now I'm not prejudice bu...uuu...t, them [OPTION: insert racially charged epithet] would as soon [OPTION: kill, murder, strangle, spit on, shoot, stab,...] yeh as [OPTION: look at, smell, talk to] yeh."

For the far-left NY Times (al-Jazeera west), nothing is as sacred as its right to free speech, and that includes national security. But the fervor with which the it leaks sensitive information is manic. How else to explain its behavior?

GOP Bloggers: NY Times v. America, Take 2
Not surprisingly, I came to this article, at GOPBloggers, via an article at BlogsForBush, and I respond to it in the same way I've responded in to similar arguments in the past: Destroy the things which make the nation worth defending and national security becomes pointless, hollow jingoism. Why defend a nation which spits on the liberties it is meant to protect?

Free people pay a price. Freedom demands it. A guilded cage is immensely safe. But those inside it are not free. A totalitarian system-- xenophobic, locked away from the outside-- can provide impressive protection for its people, but that protection is only from outside forces. That protection is not of liberties and there is no protection from government itself, which, if one recalls history, was a primary concern of our founders. Our founders feared unchecked government, and I think rightfully so. And they built a government that to some extent checks itself, but they also realized something else-- that for government to work, for elections to work, the people have to be informed. The people have to be informed. An ignorant people cannot make good decisions at the ballot box.

Government has to be transparent. It is only if government is transparent that the people can truly be said to govern themselves. It is only if government is transparent that the goverment can truly be, as Lincoln said, "of the people, by the people, for the people..." A democracy, a democratic government, cannot hide its activities from its citizens, from those who truly are the government.

And information comes from the press. It is the people's check on government. It is the people watching the elected officials. It is fundamental to a democratic government. Curtail it and a primary pillar of democracy is undercut. Curtail the press and the people, who should govern, are deprived of the ability.

Arguments like that at GOPBloggers, play on fear and yes, in some cases security suffers, but democracy does not. Safety suffers, but freedom does not. That is the price. That is the real price of Liberty. Free people do not have the luxury of absolute safety.

It doesn't actually matter why Bush is doing what he is doing. Protecting the citizens? Love for puppies? It doesn't matter. Didn't your mommy ever tell you that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions? The fact is that what Bush is doing, purportedlty to protect the country, is undermining the things that make this country worth protecting-- like privacy, civil liberty, and our government itself. With the division of powers being eroded even that is threatened. Even if Bush is trying to protect the country, a proposition I don't buy, he is doing it by destroying the structure and principles of our government. It's like rescuing a cat by shooting it out of the tree.

Blogs for Bush recommends shooting the cat
So take your choice: Information or ignorance? Freedom or a guilded cage? As for me, "Give me Liberty, or Give me Death." Is that so treasonous?

Cross-posted from Hell's Handmaiden.