The New Alarmism
Fri, 21 Dec 2001 18:28:00 -0500
Let's compare & contrast a few things:
In WW2, we put 400,000 Nisei into internment camps in Utah/Wyoming/Idaho
and other points west of the Mississippi for the duration. I believe we
also picked up a number of German- and Italian-descent folks too, but a
much smaller number.
In 911, we've picked up 5,000 Middle Eastern men and released about
In WW2 we had all the security tightening we've seen so far, and then
some. Amateur radio operators were forbidden to transmit for the
duration. There was no 'net. Americans were cut off from other countries
except for censored mail. Travel was restricted and fuel was rationed as
a national priority. Guns were being voluntarily collected and sent to
Britain, which had banned them, for defense against a planned German
In 911 we've got select military tribunals, and a bunch of vaguely
"peace of mind" legislation (some proposed, some already adopted),
homeland defense, and ideas like national IDs being bandied about. IMHO
anyone who gets peace of mind from a national ID has no clue what the
term means. Amateur radio is still on the air, and the 'net is still up.
PGP is the rifle over the mantlepiece. So is the rifle over the
mantlepiece, still. No mail censorship yet either, unless you're mailing
powdered sugar around, perhaps. Britain has once again banned guns, but
owns Smith & Wesson now, so they can kiss my @$$ if they think they're
getting any of mine.
In WW2 Congress declared war on Germany, Italy, and Japan.
In 911 Congress declared war on no one. This one's running like Vietnam,
on executive order (with a resolution of Congressional support similar
to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution), and we might all agree on what a
total political cockup that was. This is what worries me the most, this
being an executive order war.
In WW2 when the war ended, the sanctions and restrictions were lifted.
Treaties of unconditional surrender (BTW that was the great gaffe of
Roosevelt at Potsdam, that term) were signed by the vanquished so it was
clear things were over.
In 911 the Federal government will decide when the war's over. No one's
defined that point yet, and that's quite bothersome to me.
In WW2 we capitalistically deified the Chief Executive (on the US 10
cent piece, eventually). The country was run by a Democratic
administration which had also gotten the country out of an economic
disaster blamed on the Republicans, no matter how you view their methods.
In 911 we've watched a supposed stooge Republican President give us all
a lesson in character and rising to the occasion during crisis. The
Democrats are still whining about Florida, for God's sake. The economic
woes now occurring began during a Democratic administration, though they
have mightily striven to pin the blame on the current one.
One last observation: the most repressive places I've visited in the
last 10 years aren't Dubai or the UAE, they're our own schools here in
the US. Voices of dissent are regularly suppressed, even booed off the
stage, in these supposed sanctuaries of openness. Even K-12 reminds me
more of a concentration camp than an educational institution with some
of the downright ridiculous "zero tolerance" (at least they're honest
about the fascism) policies in place. My son's not even allowed to carry
aspirin for a headache, for crying out loud. I've long since grown tired
of insisting on being referred to as a Czecho-Slovakian-American by some
faculty party PC @$$hole insisting on being referred to as a
whatever-American. Frankly it's a relief to see people refer to
themselves as plain American once again. And get whacked upside the head
enough to think about what it is we have here in the US that's actually
good. Maybe a few will even learn we are *not* a democracy after all. 8^)
It seems to me that many of the people complaining now were just fine
when political correctness was the order of the day; it's pretty clear
they loved to dish repression of ideas out (as well as slamming other
people's values when they were different) but can't take the heat when
the worm has turned and things have tightened up in a crisis. Whiners.
And setters of the stage for further repression, taking no
responsibility for that or anything else. You know, the "Sicherheit uber
alles" (safety above all else) crowd. The ones with armed bodyguards, if
they can afford them.
That said, I'll either be relieved to see a declared end to this
undeclared war and its restrictions on personal freedom, or I'll be
helping wage a real war to take them back. Those wishing peace of mind
by national ID or repressive law will no doubt still be cowering in the
urban canyons and suburban sprawl either way. Good luck to them, either
All just my $0.02, please try to remember. Have a great holiday. We now
return you to the regularly scheduled FoRK debate...