Saturday, July 20, 2002

A Nation of Snitches?

Now we can see more than a few opinion pieces decrying the new TIPS bureaucracy. here and here and here. These are the same people, some of them, that called me hysterical for noting the erosion of our essential freedoms in previous government responses to 911. While I hate to use "slippery slope" arguments, the one that is always true is that one about power corrupting absolutely. Also instructive is that the giving of an inch usually costs a mile.

What were the people thinking when they acquiesced to the previous incursions. First the airport shuffle. the effective suspension of "the great writ." A slew of unanimous Senate decisions. Who is really surprised, now that Bush and Co. are implementing a plan that would make the STASI proud? Not me. I don't even blame Bush. The American People have demanded, in almost unanimous numbers, that their rights and freedoms be lifted, and demanded only the slightent incremental safety in return. There are dozens of cliches and bons mot for this situation, but I'll just go for the old Ben Franklin line about those who would trade freedom for safety deserve neither. I'll skip the nasty ones about easy women, but the truth remains: when one gives up something really, easily, with no resistance, one should not be surprised when unexpected orifices are penetrated.

Not unexpected to me. If Bush & Co. are not stopped on TIPS (which goes into effect, in a 10 city test, next month), we can expect something even more extreme. Otherwise intelligent men can get really stupid when presented with a partner so compliant that she seems, not only willing, but excitedly eager to pursue activities that one has only fantasized about. The American people have seemed very eager for a proper rogering, and the administration fully expects us to wholeheartedly embrace this, as well as their next plan for taking power out of our hands and into their own. It is the nature of the beast. When one devotes one's life to "public service," subtle changes take place within the brain. At the earliest levels these changes manifest themselves as a need to expand the budget, as can be seen in not almost every, but every single bureau department head. Then, as the career progresses, larger responsibilities are granted along with better sounding jobs. One can go from, say, heading a little oil company to running a big baseball team, then a really big State, and before you know it, leader of the "free" world. Bush and Ashcroft are no better than Clinton and Reno, except that we are now living in more dangerous times.

Any bureaucrat would do the same things, given that the American people have granted them seemingly unlimited leeway. No man's character survives re-election, well, almost none. Some, like John Kasich, resign before they lose themselves in the 24/7 power grab called national political office. He's a mensch. But the Senate, the House, and the White House are filled with venal, small souls who actually believe that they are better than us, and that the old rules don't really apply to them. They know what is good for us, since we are too stupid to manage our own affairs. Now they are implementing, not debating, not considering, not planning, but implementing a new bureaucracy that seeks to empower MILLIONS of fellow citizens with the ability to make your life miserable. Don't you think that this power will result in some of these cable guys and meter readers to abuse their power? To put you down on the "suspicious" list for some imagined sleight, like failing to be polite enough or (horrors) failing to give a big enough tip.

Am I being hysterical? Again? First they came for airline passengers, Then they came for Jose Padilla. Now they are coming for YOU.