Got woken up in the wee hours [again!] by a powerful thunderstorm, preceded by very strong wind gusts that filled my room with variously-pitched moans and whistles as its force varied. I lay awake for a while, enjoying the light show, and thinking ... and my mind started churning on the "Lost Liberty Hotel" idea. An amusing idea, but something about it bothered me, and I hadn't made time to work that out. This morning, I see that John Lopez at No Treason nails it in Are You Happy Now?. Closing paragraph:
Do you understand the point being made, here? You can’t use the government as a club against a particular Supreme Court Justice: the government is a package deal. [emphasis and link in original]
I've written a fair amount on firearms, and I'm usually careful to point out that a gun is morally neutral, as are knives, swords, sticks, stones, etc. How a person uses an object gives it a moral value for that act, and that act alone. An object just is. Humans -- rightly and wrongly -- imbue objects and ideas with moral overtones.
But that isn't true of the power of the state. Its entire reason for existence is to use the threat of force -- or actual force if need be -- to get individuals to do something they don't want to do. Often, that's couched in disguising language, such as being for "the public good", or "national security", or "the children", but what's underneath doesn't change one bit: You'll do what we want or we'll hurt you.
So why are freedom-loving individuals cheering this on with the "Lost Liberty Hotel" idea? It strikes me as being born of a childish desire for revenge ... which is natural; liberty lovers aren't necessarily above such human desires. But it's using the tool of the state, which to me goes against everything freedom is about. I've written on this before, and so won't get into it deeply again today.
The state's power is the only tool I've been able to think of since my mind started down this path this morning that isn't morally neutral. We won't -- we can't -- succeed in expanding liberty if we're willing to wield it when it suits us.
What to do instead? I've already answered that question, though I may revisit it with more details at some future point. Otherwise, laughing at the state's minions is also an effective means of deflating them. Fortunately, we've a few people who grok that, and provide much-needed comic relief. Two friends have done so within the past couple of days. First, Russmo on the robed nazgul:
Our President, who thus far has never met a law he didn't like, threatens his first veto if the entire Patriot package isn't made permanent. "The Patriot Act," proclaimed Our President, "closed dangerous gaps in America's law enforcement and intelligence capabilities."
Someone ought to inform Our President that those "dangerous gaps" also go by the name "Bill of Rights."
Far from scaling back the act, Our President proposes super-sizing FBI sinew so they can subpoena records in terrorism investigations without the approval of a judge or grand jury. This will be very helpful, as it will put the G-Men on equal jack-booted footing with the Gestapo, KGB, Stasi, SAVAK, CIA, et al.
Bill of What?
Okay, now I'm off to see about getting the Real ID Rebellion moved over to its own domain (that's why posting there has been so light of late), and having some fun. Hope you're able to do so today, too.