"Freedom is under attack" has been the battle cry since 9/11. Freedom is indeed under attack, but our intelligence sources indicate Osama bin Laden is not the chief culprit. The attacks on 9/11 were on America, not freedom. In reality, freedom has long been under attack by those in the West who have sought to destroy the foundations upon which Western thought, culture and law rest. In its place a new global, pantheistic, and socialist paradigm is seeking hegemony, while its proponents must still give lip service (at least publicly for awhile) to the old one. This stealth attack, mounted steadily for almost a century, represents a far greater threat than any airplane or biological attack, because it is more insidious and many victims do not even recognize they are under assault.
The attack on Western culture began in the halls of academia and has now metastasized to politics, the media and even the Church. Western society has been shoved off a fact-based mode of thought (didactic), rooted in logic, reason and a belief in absolute truth, to a relative (dialectic), constantly-changing system, where there is no knowable truth, where feelings reign supreme and where the outcome justifies the means. Nowhere does this appear more blatantly than in the arena of politics.
The Delicate Balance
Since 9/11, politicians have been speaking of the need to preserve the "delicate balance" between civil rights and the need to respond to terrorism in a time of war. They say this without blinking an eye, oblivious of the fact that the Founding Fathers didn't foresee any kind of "delicate balance" when they wrote the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. They envisioned an impenetrable wall, beyond which government could not go under any circumstances, except as allowed in the Constitution itself.
They have been justified in their viewpoint, since history shows that a delicate balance rapidly becomes a slippery slope, always tipping in favor of ever-increasing government control and away from citizens' rights.
Rights not Privileges
A privilege is something which is granted by the state to its citizens and can be revoked by the state anytime the state sees fit. Rights, on the other hand, are irrevocable conditions possessed by the citizenry, which the state may not revoke for whatever reason. The difference between the two, thanks to leftist indoctrination, is now thoroughly blurred in the Western mind. But this blurring was not a first in the world's history. Satan used it in the Garden of Eden when he engaged Eve in a dialogue and encouraged her to think dialectically: "Did God say...?" God's position was much more didactic: What part of "thou shalt not" don't you understand?
The right to freedom of speech is important because no free society can exist without it. The chief target is the ability to criticize government and its policies, which government has a natural tendency to abhor. Equally, freedom of religion is important because governments have always sought to impose on their citizenry politically correct forms of belief and to oppose anything that would be a competitor. Christians have learned this firsthand through the centuries, since Christianity is always a scandal in any culture to which it goes.
The right to bear arms is essential for three reasons: 1) To protect the homeland from invasion; 2) to defend one's self against criminals or predators; and, 3) to preclude the possibility that government should ever again become tyrannical and attempt to abolish the other rights.
The right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects is critical to a free society, because without it free commerce cannot proceed and government can seek to exercise control over its populace by threatening them with confiscation of their property. Added to this is the provision that warrants be issued for searches, because this prevents government from going on a fishing expedition, trying to find people who are committing crimes. Likewise, a person may not be deprived of property without due process and compensation. The right to trial by jury is important, because it divides responsibility for the outcome among a number of one's peers rather than a tribunal of judges, who could easily be influenced to certain outcomes, especially if their livelihood as judges is dependant on the outcome of various trials. Freedom from double jeopardy is essential, because it places a put-up-or-shut-up burden on government and prevents law enforcement from trying a person over and over and over again until something "sticks."
Rights such as these exist in most of the English-speaking countries today. However, these rights are under brutal assault both from the left and the right.
The Great Paradigm Shift
Currently the West is in an epic power struggle - away from traditional thought and a free society towards a totally socialized, planned society where government controls everything from womb to tomb, including how we believe and worship. Incumbent in this struggle is a move away from national sovereignty and into a "new order" that everyone from Henry Kissinger to Vladmir Putin keeps talking about but never defines publicly what it really means.
In order for the new womb-to-tomb paradigm to be implemented, the old collection of "rights" has to go. But proponents of the new vision face a dilemma, in that they must give lip service to the existing legal structure at the same time they gut these same institutions of their power. So a new process of end-running law has been instituted, which gives the appearance of leaving existing laws in place, while making it impossible to have the usufruct of such laws.
The Great International Blur
How do you abolish laws and rights without directly doing so?
1)Make so many laws regulating a guaranteed right that it is impossible to exercise the right. The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for example, says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. However, there are so many gun laws in some places, it is impossible to carry a weapon without incurring the risk of being charged with a felony. If you're willing to risk years in jail or staggering legal costs, go ahead and exercise your right.
2)Turn over a large amount of "lawmaking" to unelected, unaccountable bureaucracies that generate "regulations," which have the force of law but are never voted upon by any accountable lawmaking body. Most of our lawmakers today never read the bills they are passing and there is much mischief in the details.
3)Reinterpret laws to "find" new things in them that were not intended by the original framers of the law. (Remember that under the new paradigm there are no absolutes, so law can be tortured to say whatever we want it to mean.) A chief example of this was the Supreme Court's "discovery" of a woman's right to privacy regarding abortion.
4)Expand a law far beyond what the lawmakers ever intended and what citizens were promised. Drug property forfeiture laws are a prime example, which allow property to be confiscated on the mere accusation (not conviction) that a crime has been committed. Originally, Americans were told that the law would only be used against drug dealers. But within a decade, forfeiture laws had exploded to over a hundred and most did not involve drugs at all. Another example was the use of RICO racketeering laws to prosecute abortion clinic protestors.
5)Stretch or blur jurisdiction or claim jurisdiction where the area is unclear. Courts in Belgium are claiming jurisdiction over what Ariel Sharon did in Lebanon. Spain wanted to try Agosto Pinochet for things he did in Chile. A kangaroo court in the Hague is trying accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, even though the court and the laws did not exist when the crimes were committed and the court has dubious jurisdiction granted by who knows whom?
6)Enforce laws selectively, especially for achieving particular political purposes. While much coverage has been made of the process against Slobodan Milosevic, so far no effort has been made to round up Fidel Castro or Idi Amin (alive and well in Saudi Arabia) for their "crimes against humanity."
7)Turn jurisdiction over to international bodies by means of treaties or other agreements. This process is being used to transfer sovereignty. Most Canadians or Americans would be hard pressed to name even one member on NAFTA's commissions and yet these people make effectively legal decisions affecting commerce and jobs for thousands of people.
8)Use executive orders (U.S.) or ministerial decrees (U.K.) to do end-runs around lawmaking bodies. This can be seen both in actions by Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair in shoving the U.K. deeper into the new "United States of Europe" (aka the European Union), where it will someday lose all of its sovereignty. President Clinton was prolific in his use of executive orders to end-run Congress, especially in the area of non-ratified environmental treaties, but President Bush is striving for next runner-up with his implementation of war tribunals and other things to end-run the civil courts and Congress in a time of so-called (but undeclared) war. As a matter of fact, unknown to most Americans, presidential executive orders have kept a healthy number of official "emergencies" going for years to enable end-runs around Congress in various areas.
This list of end-runs is anything but exhaustive. Frequently, the end-runs are executed in the name of some good or in handling a crisis, and there is invariably much debate among "experts" about each one. However, one pattern is becoming clear: we are systematically gutting the legal structure upon which Western civilization has stood for centuries, and the new proposed order would be unpalatable to most Westerners if they really understood what it meant.
A few years back, a bridge collapsed on a major U.S. highway while traffic was crossing. The structural rot that caused the collapse had been progressing for many years, if not decades. Right down to last second it looked like a bridge and it served a bridge's function. However, when the break finally came, it happened in just moments and swept away all that were relying on it. Caveat lector ! The same rot is occurring to the Western legal system. We'll show you where this is going in our next article, entitled "The Antichrist Doesn't Wear Tights."
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[John Loeffler is host of the news/talk program, Steel on Steel, heard on the Information Radio Network at steelonsteel.com.]