Friday, February 22, 2008

Wiretapping Neurosis (Feb. 22, 2008)

Wiretapping and surveillance of suspected terrorists are causing our liberal hearts to flutter with existential anxiety. We are as a result desperately concerned about our rapidly evaporating freedoms, are we not? Yet not a single citizen has proven same, not a single court case has successfully unearthed this overbearing fear of fascism, in spite of the hordes of ACLU and CAIR lawyers awaiting their call. It would be amusing if it weren’t so ironic; these same zealous protectors of our valued freedoms have voluntarily given up these self same freedoms at our universities and in our local and international media.

Flemming Rose, the Danish editor who published those now infamous Muhammad cartoons (“Free Speech and Radical Islam,” Wall Street Journal op-ed, Feb 15, 2008) explains how hundreds of millions (if not billions) are voluntarily giving up their rights to free speech; not at the hands of our supposedly tyrannical regimes, but out of fear from rioters in France, Palestinian radicals on our campuses countrywide, fatwas in Denmark, rabid attorneys in New York or appeasing politicians in Washington.

When we lose the right to peacefully assemble and comfortably speak out, all other rights become meaningless.

It is now easier for Ahmadinejad to lecture us at Columbia University than Israel’s ex-Prime Minister Netanyahu. Every major Arab newspaper spews unchallenged a regular litany of toxic anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish, anti-West cartoons (including those of blood libels); yet innocuous cartoons in usually ignored little Denmark provoke lethal riots throughout the Middle East. Saudis lecture us on human rights whilst their women have none. Creative British politicians see Jihadist terrorism as anti-Islamic. We only talk of disenfranchised militants – never murderers, thugs or terrorists. The absurdity is appalling and the irony weighs heavily all around.

These millions of appeasers would do well to consider Ben Franklin’s dictum “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The issue is free and unencumbered speech, everywhere our lives take us, not some invisible, ineffectual and largely esoteric wiretapping.

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