‘Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else.’
Epictetus, the Greek philosopher
Does a wolf know he’s a carnivore? Does a brown bear know when it is time to thicken his fur for winter?
And did George W Bush know he was making the biggest foreign policy blunder in US history when he launched the ‘War on Terror’? Did he know he was preparing the nation for ‘domestic terrorism’?
As we put it last week, fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly. And late, degenerate emperors gotta be incompetent morons.
And here, we put today’s events in a simple, tight frame.
Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden are like the last leaders of the Roman Empire…Anthemius, Glycerius, Olybrius, and Nepos…no accounts and imbeciles…playing their roles without really understanding what was going on.
All faced a no-win situation. In 5th century Rome, tax revenues were falling while costs rose; the empire was failing. And now, so is the US’ empire of fake money and unpayable debt.
At this stage in the degenerates’ progress, the US elite have no choice. They must further foul the economy with more fake money…and suppress dissent.
The only other choice would be to renounce the empire. Bring the troops home. Cut spending. Balance the budget. And stop printing money.
But that would require real courage, intelligence, and honesty…not gonna happen.
We went to Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration. What a grand time! The Gipper was later captured by Deep State hacks…but in 1980, his famous campaign theme, ‘Morning in America,’ still had the dew on it.
We were still young and naïve, too…and hoped for a better future with less government involvement. And even among those who disagreed with Reagan, there was no bitterness towards him.
It was a cold night, but hearts were warm and spirits were high. Washington was packed…with eight separate invitation-only Inaugural Balls. There was music, champagne, and dancing.
No troops patrolled the streets. There were no crowd-control fences. No razor wire or armed personnel carriers.
There were simply thousands of people celebrating an election victory and looking forward to better things to come.
The new president and his wife, Nancy, had to go from one party to the next…giving short words of encouragement and thanks…often including a joke or two. We only remember one of them…
An American and a Russian are sitting in a bar, arguing over whose country is better. The American argues…
‘See, in America, I am free to do whatever I want. If I wanted to, I could walk right into the White House, slam my fist on the President’s desk, and say, “Mr President, I don’t like the way you are running our country.”’
The Russian then said, ‘I can do the same thing’.
‘Really? You can?’ asks the American.
‘Yes,’ continues the Russian. ‘If I wanted to, I could walk right into the Kremlin, slam my fist on the General Secretary’s desk, and say, “Mr General Secretary, I don’t like the way President Reagan is running his country.”’
But those were happier days…the US was still on the way up. You could still criticise the president without being de-platformed.
This year, however, marks two decades of the US on the way down. For it was in 2001 that the feds began the misbegotten War on Terror and passed George W Bush’s ‘Patriot Act’.
When the feds call something a Patriot Act, you can be sure they’re up to no good. Had advertising standards been enforced in the Capitol, they might have named it the ‘Ignore the Bill of Rights and Create a Police State’ Act. But honesty was going out of fashion at the start of the 21st century.
The Patriot Act was a rascally, Deep State power grab. In it, the feds not only neglected their solemn duty to protect the delicate freedom of their citizens, they took a hammer to it themselves.
It gave them tools to pry and eavesdrop on a scale never before seen in the US. It expanded the meaning of ‘terrorism’ and allowed them to beat down their ‘enemies’ however they pleased.
Even then, 20 years ago, we saw it as a dress rehearsal for a ‘War on Terror’ in the US itself.
People were being trained to stand in line (without protest!) while the TSA patted down grandmothers and girl scouts. Neither the grandmothers nor the girl scouts posed any real risk to commercial aviation…and everybody knew it. But hey…you can’t be too safe!
Americans were also encouraged to rat each other out — ‘See something; Say something.’
Most important, they got used to the government bossing them around in the name of public safety.
We don’t for a minute think George W Bush intended to turn the US into a police state.
But perhaps there is some inchoate instinct in humans. When it is time for an empire to decline…they vote for Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden. Then, each plays his part — unconscious of his historical role in bringing the empire to its knees.
The Patriot Act created a whole industry — centred in Northern Virginia — with 17 different spook agencies, billion-dollar budgets, and no way to know what they are spending it on — it’s a secret!
The Act prefigured the rise of ‘insurgents’ in the US And now, razor wire, body armour, soldiers, armoured vehicles, artillery, snooping, and data collection — all the dark arts once used for protecting the US embassy in Baghdad from terrorists — can be recycled to protect the US Capitol from the American people.
The courts have found parts of the Patriot Act unconstitutional, but the bulk of it remains.
And even if it were judged unconstitutional by the courts, it is almost impossible to stop. In 2005, for example, a Stanford Law graduate student was arrested. She was boarding an airplane when she was told she was on the ‘No Fly’ list.
How did she get on the list? What was going on?
The feds wouldn’t say. ‘State secret,’ they claimed.
In fact, it was a mistake…but it took the young woman several years and $3 million in legal fees to get off the list.
Punishment without crime
And earlier this month, Senator Chuck Schumer said he wanted to expand the ‘No Fly’ list by adding the names of all the people involved in the unlawful entry into the Capitol, whether they are ever convicted of a crime or not.
That’s the beauty — from the Deep State’s point of view — of ‘terrorism’. It doesn’t require a crime. Anyone you don’t like can be designated a ‘terrorist’.
What about all those people who contributed to conservative causes? They doubted the accuracy of the election results and demanded a recount.
Drawing on the marvellous precedent provided by the Bush team, can’t they now be charged with providing material support to terrorists? Can’t they be put on ‘No Fly’ lists…locked away forever in Guantanamo…or sent to Saudi Arabia for waterboarding?
For The Rum Rebellion