Who's The Real Enemy?
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One cannot turn on the television or open the newspaper these days without being drowned in government and populist rhetoric warning of our terrorist enemies.

These terrorists are the greatest danger to civilization in all of global history, apparently.  The world will be perfect forever
if only they can be successfully eradicated.  The going will be hard and tough, but this worthy goal is possible.

Of course, such a dream is achievable only if you (the humble citizen) are willing to make a few simple sacrifices on behalf of
the coordinated master plan to stamp out the evils of terrorism.

The government will be able to handle everything in an effective and forthright way if only you grant them a few extra "temporary" powers that will guarantee security in exchange for a little liberty.

You can trust the government on this, because they're always honest and they never make mistakes.  Would the politicians
deceive us on such important matters, even though they've shown themselves to be a pack of criminal liars in pretty much every
other area of public policy-making?  Surely not, because this is a Very Important Problem and even a politician (err... let's make that a "statesman" in this hour of national crisis) will invariably do the right thing with the country's very life and livelihood presently at stake.

The most frightening part of the WTC/bin Laden/Middle East terror affair is that a large percentage of the public really does
appear to be this gullible.

This leads us to the problem of identifying the real enemy.  Is it really the terrorists?  Is it the American government instead?
Or is our opponent much more insidious and difficult to identify and expose?

Is the enemy ourselves?

Believe it or not, a recent poll of New Yorkers revealed that a full third of them thought that "internment camps" in the US for
those thought to be sympathetic to terrorism was a good idea.

Let's replace the word "internment" with "concentration" and we can see the current ignorant mindset of many citizens today.
Hello, Nazi Germany?  With voters like this, do we really need any external enemies to destroy our freedom, values, and
civilization?

The internal enemies of liberty seem to be far more dangerous than the external ones.   After all, an uncomfortably high
percentage of US citizens (women seem particularly guilty this way) believe that national ID cards will somehow stop terrorism.
No one's sure exactly how (they prefer to leave such details to the trusty hand of government) but it will probably be better
than nothing.  Something has to be done, so why not card everyone and render them guilty until proven innocent?  What a plan!

Benjamin Franklin said it best: "Those who would give up a little freedom for a little security will end up with neither."

With citizens apparently all too willing to give up their hard-won freedoms and rights, the government will be more than happy
to oblige them.

And so it would seem that the wars within a given international border are more important than the wars without.

The wars within are fought between a government and its citizens, and between citizens who desire liberty vs. those who would
consign us to totalitarianism in return for a vague promise of protection courtesy of the State.

The wars without are fought between the ideologue of various political and religious factions for the benefit of their leaders.

Neither type of conflict is exactly a boon to individual rights, so why are citizens so lemming-like in attempting to eradicate
personal freedom from their society?

Ignorance is definitely the key reason.  People who don't understand the value of liberty (and who take it for granted)
are the ones most likely to give it away at flea market prices to the first buyer that comes along.

Those who do understand the true price of liberty won't sell it at any price no matter who asks.

Unfortunately, the enlightened are also the few in today's world, and of course it's no secret that ignorance and reason exist in
inverse proportion to the other.  In the presence of ignorance (and the absence of reason), people make decisions on a purely
emotional basis.

They know it's wrong, because all their previous emotional decisions turned out very badly, but "this time it's different!"

Just like the ill-fated "New Economy" that was the NASDAQ tech stock bubble was supposed to be different too.

Just because a majority wants something doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Murder and/or theft by a 51%+ majority is no
more ethical or proper than murder and/or theft by a 1% minority. The madness of crowds is not a pretty sight, especially when it's applied to legislation.

Therefore democracy isn't all it's cracked up to be.  If that all-important 51% cannot or will not exercise sound judgment in
their voting decisions, they might as well be ruled by a crazed dictator.

In fact, despotic decisions by the 51% are worse than those imposed by the dictator, because the deluded mob is unable to
recognize the source of their self-imposed misery.  External enemies are usually easy to identify (and blame), whereas the one
standing in front of you in the mirror is the hardest foe in the world to find.

Liberty should be the highest ideal of civilization.  Democracy is not the final answer to freedom, despite government touts to
the contrary.

If the two concepts happen to coincide, then so much the better. But if the voting public can be fooled into surrendering their
liberty in return for a few trinkets, we have to wonder just how competent they are to decide the future of civilization.  Should
they be voting when they have no idea what they're doing, and when they can easily be manipulated by cold-blooded politicians
out for maximum gain at everyone else's expense?

Students in school often laugh and shake their heads at how the Native American Indians gave away Manhattan Island for a mere $24 worth of consumer goods.  Those poor ignorant savages, people remark, as they shake their heads over the fast one the Europeans pulled on those primitive people less enlightened than themselves.

But it would appear that in the wake of the WTC bombings, today's American citizens are just as ignorant of what they're about to give away.  We seem to have no truer idea of the value of liberty than the Indians did of Manhattan Island real estate.

Let us hope that voters come to their senses and say no to accelerated totalitarianism. Liberty (and Manhattan Island) is
worth a lot more than what our prospective masters are offering.