That’s a more accurate title for this news story: “FBI arrests Virginia man suspected of plotting attack on Capitol.”
What the FBI is doing is called entrapment. No, worse, it’s like finding a virgin not previously interested in having sex with a prostitute, seducing him, teaching him how to have sex, getting him all horny, giving him money and a condom, and then pointing him in the direction of a cop posing as a prostitute.
Has the FBI caught any “terrorists” it didn’t create?
Last March, Anthony Gregory questioned if Barack Obama was already a worse president than George W. Bush, noting a long list of dubious accomplishments during Bush’s eight-year tenure. Prior to his election Obama was highly critical of Bush’s policy on torture and the holding of suspected terrorists indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay without trial. And one of Obama’s first acts after being sworn in as President was also one of his most dramatic: he signed an executive order banning torture and ordering the closure of Gitmo by 2010. It was hailed as a bold move to restore the country’s shattered image overseas and bring its prosecution of the war on terror in line with its values on respecting human rights.
What a difference a thousand days as Leader of the Free World makes.
During that time Obama has ordered the killing of an American citizen in Yemen, without due process, based on his alleged association with al-Qaeda. And in March he made an about-face on his promise to close Gitmo, instead reinstating the military tribunals and continuing Bush’s policy of detaining suspects without trial since they “in effect, remain at war with the United States.”
Now the Senate has granted Obama even greater discretion in arresting and indefinitely holding anyone – even U. S. citizens, despite its supporters’ claims to the contrary – suspected of terrorist activity, in approving a defense appropriation bill for 2012 that essentially expands the battlefield for the war on terror to anywhere on the planet, including U. S. soil. (The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Colorado Democrat Mark Udall and Kentucky Republican Rand Paul that would have stripped out the authorization for indefinite detention of terrorism suspects.) It is an unprecedented expansion of power for a president who campaigned on a promise to restore the country’s “moral authority.” Yet Obama is simply another in a long line of politicians making promises that could never be kept: it is impossible to regain a moral authority the American empire has never possessed.
Ilya Somin over at The Volokh Conspiracy, it seems, is no more a fan of Ron Paul now than he was four years ago. His criticisms remain about the same. This time around, though, he’s got a candidate to contrast Paul with in Gary Johnson. His conclusion? Johnson is a better libertarian than Paul. My first response to this was laughter. This is my second response:
To start, Somin nearly lost me in his first sentence when he suggested that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was even on the radar for libertarians considering voting. If anyone thinks a hypocritical drug warrior, who might be most charitably described as untested on foreign policy issues (and much less charitably described as a propagandist for the Empire), should even be in the running, then they should probably be disqualified from commenting on the question of who the most libertarian candidate is. All that said, we’ll give him the benefit of his doubts about Daniels for now and move onto his criticisms.
Ron Paul’s Unlibertarian Positions?
Somin claims that Ron Paul “has very nonlibertarian positions on free trade, school choice, and especially immigration.” He goes on to criticize Paul’s views on the Fourteenth Amendment. He doesn’t spell these criticisms out in this piece, but rather directs us to an older article from 2007. We’ll take each one by one.
Consider Bastiat’s comments on Rome and how–if you substitute for slavery the drug war and tax slavery–they apply to the modern US:
What is to be said of Roman morality? And I am not speaking here of the relations of father and son, of husband and wife, of patron and client, of master and servant, of man and God—relations that slavery, by itself alone, could not fail to transform into a whole network of depravity; I wish to dwell only on what is called the admirable side of the Republic, i.e., patriotism. What was this patriotism? Hatred of foreigners, the destruction of all civilization, the stifling of all progress, the scourging of the world with fire and sword, the chaining of women, children, and old men to triumphal chariots—this was glory, this was virtue. It was to these atrocities that the marble of the sculptors and the songs of the poets were dedicated. How many times have our young hearts not palpitated with admiration, alas, and with emulation at this spectacle!
From Bastiat, Selected Essays in Political Economy, quoted in Geoffrey Allan Plauché, “Roman Virtue, Liberty, and Imperialism: The Murder-Suicide of Classical Civilization.” America is riddled with patriotism, with American flags senselessly displayed all over, and people mindlessly responding to criticism of the Fatherland with the retort, “You show me another country that’s better!” Its wars, the welfare state, its taxes and manipulation of money, its jails full of non-criminals have indeed debased morals. We have scourged the world with fire and sword, and statues of our modern warlord gods, such as Lincoln, adorn our capital city. As for the last line, about the youth swooning over our military might and conquest, one is reminded of the not completely tongue-in-check skit Wayne’s World during Gulf War I, when Wayne and Garth had fun watching the videos of US missiles destroying Iraqi targets.