Bush said I could be locked up and tortured as an enemy combatant if he felt like it. Obama says I will get taxed if I don’t have health care. Which one tyranny?
I can understand the argument, for instance, that if taxes are too high then personal freedom is to some degree eroded, but that seems very metaphorical compared to government’s power to physically lock you up. For all their talk about freedom and liberty, the enthusiastic embrace of the military and security culture by many conservatives pretty makes that seem like a lot of empty rhetoric to me.
I don’t mean it as a critique so much as a question – why does the military-security culture get such a huge pass? I honestly don’t understand how you can cast yourself as a defender of liberty on one hand, while be fully in support of expanding the government’s ability to physically remove your liberty on the other.
You know, what I would love is if liberals who took liberty extremely seriously, like Glenn Greenwald, had some actual support from the right. Greenwald is a lion against the government’s assumption of powers in the past ten years to toxic levels, and he’s coolly prosecuted Obama for leaving too many Bush era policies and practices intact. This piece on our increasingly cramped surveillance state should have an army of allies among any who say they treasure liberty. It gets published at CATO, in a nice gesture from them, but the GOP is expert at deftly ignoring CATO as a gang of nerds when Republicans disagree with them. Adding Greenwald’s name to the mix only freaks out wingers more.
Even worse, they’d have to actually describe Bush/Cheney accurately, so that will leave most Republicans out of the deal. They approved of Bush and still do, and the more Obama does things like Bush, the more Republicans are willing to just take a pass on the issue, pretend it doesn’t exist, and then scream about the Socialist Blitzkrieg.
Of course, we’re talking about the same people who got really concerned about spending the second Obama was sworn in, the same people who shrugged for eight years while Bush systematically dismantled our prosperity.
This is just why it’s so hard for me to have faith in the honest intentions of the right. Most are fairly nice people in person, but they treat politics like a game, one where intellectual honesty is simply a commie liberal plot to confuse “real” Americans. Rightwingers make up these weird fantasy wars in their heads like this:
…conservatism, the right, (is) people who want government to have less power over individuals, is the natural home of people who want to live and let live, while “progressivism”, the left, is the natural home of statists — fascists, nazis, socialists, communists, and the modern Democrat party — who want endlessly more centralized power over the individual.
Gee, so hard to pick sides there. Which way do I go? Freedom or Auschwitz?
Or, third option, blog commenter “American Elephant” is an idiot and neither description is accurate. As Greenwald notes, what power the Republicans seized, the Democrats held onto. Such is human nature, I imagine, but that’s why we’re supposed to have checks and balances. One of those is a populace that speaks up when the government goes too far, but the idiots on the right are choosing to spend their time chasing liberal bogeymen while a unified coalition of the powerful march right over all of us.
With fellow citizens like that, who needs terror babies?