OK. I promise this will be my last political post for a while. So just skip it if you don’t like those posts.
Today I heard about a report made by the Missouri Information Analysis Center. In this report they study the dangers of the “Modern Militia Movement“. Now this is not just an analysis of radical groups such as those that follow the Turner diaries. This is a study of anyone who forms a group to protest the government. The study even includes those who read Tom Clancy novels and watch the movie Rambo. The report says such things have “glorified white males and portrayed them as morally upright heroes who were mentally and physically tough”. Given this definition I suppose Jack Bauer would be a terrorist and the 12.92 million viewers as suspects! For goodness sakes Tom Clancy has sold 55 million books. That’s a lot of people to be tracking, a lot of potential terrorists.
Now there are certainly groups in the United States that are worthy of observance; however, this report focuses its attention on “right wing extremest and militia leaders”. I contend that left wing extremists such as the wack jobs at PETA could be equally dangerous. With all the surveillance the study could only find 6 examples since September 11th of potential threats caused by right wing militia groups. Most, if not all, were instigated by individual members- not the group itself. Fortunately such attempts were thwarted and no damage or deaths occurred.
The report goes on to point its finger at Libertarians and “third party groups” such as the “Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian Party. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr.” The report actually names these three candidates as being the source of “anti-government propaganda”. Since when was having an opinion considered propaganda? Plus, isn’t the whole point of free speech the right to speak out against your government? I believe it is- and that is true for both sides the right and the left. As long as we are obeying the law and are not conspiring to do harm to others we have the right to assemble and believe whatever we want to believe.
As far as Ron Paul goes- I want to stick up for him a little. I was impressed with what he said during the election and out of the candidates I actually agreed with him the most. I am proud to have voted for him in the Primary election. I certainly agreed more with him on the economy and on the war in Iraq than I did with either President Obama or John McCain. Here are Mr. Paul’s main positions and you see if it sounds like a terrorist or just someone who cares about our country?:
Ron Paul talking points (as taken from his website)
On the economy he supports an ending to the congressional pay raise through 2010.
He does not support deficit spending and entitlement programs.
He believes “economic freedom is based on a simple rule: everyone has the right to his or her life and property”
He thinks the bailout are unwise, unfair and will eventually make the economy more sluggish.
On foreign policy he believes:
We need to stop policing the world. He hates preemptive war and interventionist war
We need to bring the troops home from the 700 bases in 100 countries.
We need to protect our borders
On civil liberties he believes:
Economic freedom means economic activity should be free and voluntary and “that government shoudl stay out of personal affairs…and out of our wallets”
Government should protect our right to privacy and to bear arms.
Family should be the instructor of moral character not the government.
Those are just a few of his positions. Now really does this seem like a domestic terrorist to you? Do these positions really seem so out-of-wack? I actually agree with most of his positions and there is nothing but full patriotic blood running within me. I love my country more than almost anything else. Like Mr. Paul, I feel we are going down the wrong track and it scares me. It scares me enough to speak out in anyway I can, but I don’t want to be grouped as some potential terrorist. It’s just nuts!
Whether you agree with his ideas or not, I hope you can see that violating his right to say such things hurts everyone. Policing and analyzing such behavior, looking for unpatriotic holes, only ostracizes the legitimate followers of Mr. Paul and makes the radical nuts more radical. Part of being a democracy is the right to speak our minds- even if it is crazy! The government certainly has the right to monitor such individuals. However, let’s hope in the future they spend their money on the people that could be truly dangerous- not on those they may disagree with or find annoying.
Some may argue that such policing is the result of the Patriot Act, and there may be some truth to that claim. This is the danger in such acts. My main argument here is not on the legitimacy of such surveillance but its intended targets. The government has the right to watch Ron Paul and his fans but is it necessary or pertinent?
Certainly if Ron Paul is the standard of suspect than Bill Maher, Rush Limbagh, Sean Hannity, Al Franken, Oprah Winfrey, Bill O’Reilley, Reverend Wright, and others must also be under constant surveillance for statements they have made. Who knows I could be under surveillance for the posts I did on this blog, which I feel are consistently well thought-out and patriotic. The fact is that me and all of these people have a right to say what they wish, and that’s what makes America great. In China people are limited to what feelings they can express against the government partly because they are monitored on a daily basis. America is better than that- it should be better than that!
Let’s also remember that most of the great movements of change in this country were started by charismatic individuals who fought the status quo. The Women’s movement, the civil rights movement, and even the beginnings of this democracy were all started by radicals who pushed for change. I wouldn’t even put Mr. Paul in such a revolutionary category but this report treats him as a near-fascist instigator.
So to Ron Paul, Tom Clancy, and yes even Sylvester Stallone keep doing what you do. To the government- stop wasting our time and money and get things done!
Here’s an interview with Mr. Paul that I wished we had listened to last year. It makes a lot of sense to me.
I also thought this interview with Penn Gillette was good. By the way, he is no conservative that’s for sure. Glenn Beck also explains in this clip the Missouri Report.