Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pissing away our freedoms so we can be free

To be free is to accept that life is full of unforeseen dangers and contingencies, that risk is an integral part of living. When we obsess on risk aversion, we turn to authority to guarantee our security and in doing so we allow our freedom to be eroded.

The tragedy of our republic is that for the last forty years the public has become so conditioned to a state of risk aversion that it is apathetically accepting the erosion of our freedoms with nary a whimper. Everything frightens us: Communism, hippies, sex, drugs, sex, crime, illegal immigrants, sex and terrorism. One after another fears have been exaggerated and inflated all out of proportion to the actual risk they pose.

The wise person worries about probability; the fool worries about possibility. Anything is possible, but we need hard data to prove that something is probable.

For example, when the wind is right, the approach way to Newark Airport passes directly over my house. It is “possible” that a piece of metal from a passing 747 could plummet to the ground and crown me. It’s highly improbably that it would, so I rarely wear a hardhat outside. Even if a piece did fall, the probably would remain so remote that it would still remain within the realm of the possible.

Yet, our leaders continue to exploit our fear of the possible. The fashionable threat of the twenty-first century is terrorism. As horrific as 9/11 was, it was still an isolated incident and hardly qualifies “terrorism” as a real probability. I assume that every politician and public official who prattles on about the threat of terrorism dons a flame retardant suit and crash helmet before getting behind the wheel, because the probability of being wacked in an automobile accident is greater than being wacked in a terrorist attack.

In a recent speech at the National Archives, Obama continued to morph into a Bush lite. In it, he hyped “possibility” when he said, “An extremist ideology threatens our people…al-Qaeda is actively planning to attack us again. We are indeed at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliate.”

So it is that the change we can believe in is that Bush’s Eternal War of the Empty Policy will continue eternally.

Like Bush, Obama needs a war, no matter how imaginary, to justify the growth of our police state. In typical Bush fashion, he is hot to trot over preventive detention. He tells us that, “Those we capture—like prisoners of war—must be prevented from attacking us again.”

And since the war is eternal, these prisoners will be detained eternally.

Therefore, we need a war that isn’t a war so that those we “capture” can be declared prisoners of war even thought there is no war.

To a power that is devoid of a moral gyroscope, reason is a whore to be fucked any which way power chooses. As a result, reason has a bad dose of the clap.

--Case Wagenvoord

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