The recently signed into law “National Defense Authorization Act” allows arrest and indefinite detainment of US citizens without a trial, the just passed (March 1, 2012) “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act” prohibits protests against the President and others and Obama’s “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” empowered the STATE to force citizens to purchase any commercial product the government sees fit.
That all seems like a free society, right? A Constitution is clearly in place to limit, define and restrict government’s power, nothing to see here….move along. Scratch that – stay a while. Enjoy this reality turned cinema.
This can’t possibly be the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” correct? This has to be a movie, right?
How else could a supposedly divided Congress and even “tea party” House of Representatives almost unanimously pass 2 of these 3 absolute decimations to individual freedom? Heck -all GOP Presidential candidates except Ron Paul supported the NDAA. I thought these Republicans were supposed to be about protecting liberty. They told me so themselves. Ha! The Constitution is literally being destroyed in front of our eyes. The very document which was written to protect our rights and property is all but dead.
At the same exact time, we have our military in over 130 countries, are engaged in multiple battle fields in multiple countries and these same people (yes, it’s bi-partisan) are wanting military strikes or at least aggressive moves on even more countries. The traditional “conservatives” seem wildly supportive cheering additional wars at every turn, and because Obama is in power – the Dems say nothing, even though Obama’s foreign policy is exactly the same as Bush.
Unfortunately, it’s all true and it really is like a movie. In fact, it’s much like the movie “Gladiator.” Enter some very interesting context and scenes from the movie…
The Roman Emperor has a goal of dissolving the Senate, and consolidating even more power in himself. So, in discussing what he plans to do, which is use bloodshed in gladitorial games to provide visions of Rome’s glory in foreign conquest to show people the “greatness of Rome,” he uses a blindly nationalistic façade to distract people from the real problem – increasingly centralized power in just a few people.
The Emperor says, “I will give the people a vision of Rome, and they will love me for it. And, they’ll soon forget the tedious sermonizing of a few dried old men.”
Enter two Senators discussing these new blood filled distractions, and how the emperor is using them to manipulate people’s opinions:
Senator 1 – “He’s cleverer than I thought.”
Senator 2 – “Oh, Clever. The whole of Rome would be laughing at him, if they weren’t so scared of his Praetorians.”
Senator 1 – “Fear and wonder – a powerful combination.”
Senator 2 – “You really think the people are going to be seduced by that?”
Senator 1 – “I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them, and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom, and still they’ll roar….He’ll bring them death, and they will love him for it.”
I think this provides tremendous context for the current state of affairs in the US.
Far too many citizens have been distracted by the politics of fear which uses a supposedly pending threat from mysteriously undefined enemies all over the world. Because they have bought into this fear, they willingly and happily give away their freedoms because only the STATE can protect them.
Yet another segment of people truly believe in ”American Exceptionalism” – not as a codified political system which once provided the greatest personal and economic freedom for every person, a system which valued individual rights above all else. No – they believe “American Exceptionalism” to mean – the US must lead the world to some undefined vision of democratic utopia and therefore has a certain destiny, even obligation, that must be protected at all costs. Leading the world and achieving this vision therefore justifies military policing of the world as necessary. These people have become so blinded by nationalism, that they can’t see what is really happening.
In both instances the solution for many citizens has become to willingly give more influence to the all-powerful STATE.
The greatness of our Republic is not found in the STATE saying it can keep you safe, or by flexing military might around the globe to force countries to bend to our will or embrace our way of life. Don’t be fooled by these visions and distractions.
The greatness of this Republic was that for the first time in human history – a society codified protection of individual rights and property, therefore providing the easiest path for every person to pursue life, liberty and happiness in the ways they saw fit as long as it did not harm anyone else. Personal and economic freedom brought about great prosperity in the US – not a fear of the unknown or a false vision of collective greatness.
The greatness in the now defunct American system was the affinity for individualism, and the shunning of collectivism. I fear we continue down the wrong path blindly seeking the “greatness” of the STATE. Both political parties are complicit in this failure, so now more than ever – we must not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.