Americans believe we live in dangerous times, and I must agree. Today
I want to talk about how I see those dangers and what Congress ought
to do about them.
the Monday-morning quarterbacks are now explaining, with political
overtones, what we should have done to prevent the 9/11 tragedy. Unfortunately,
in doing so, foreign policy changes are never considered.
for more than two decades, been severely critical of our post-World
War II foreign policy. I have perceived it to be not in our best interest
and have believed that it presented a serious danger to our security.
the record, in January of 2000 I stated the following on this floor:
commercial interests and foreign policy are no longer separate...as
bad as it is that average Americans are forced to subsidize such a
system, we additionally are placed in greater danger because of our
arrogant policy of bombing nations that do not submit to our wishes.
This generates hatred directed toward America ...and exposes us to
a greater threat of terrorism, since this is the only vehicle our
victims can use to retaliate against a powerful military state...the
cost in terms of lost liberties and unnecessary exposure to terrorism
is difficult to assess, but in time, it will become apparent to all
of us that foreign interventionism is of no benefit to American citizens,
but instead is a threat to our liberties.
let me remind you I made these statements on the House floor in January
2000. Unfortunately, my greatest fears and warnings have been borne
my concerns are as relevant today as they were then. We should move
with caution in this post-9/11 period so we do not make our problems
worse overseas while further undermining our liberties at home.
our post-9/11 policies have challenged the rule of law here at home,
and our efforts against the al Qaeda have essentially come up empty-handed.
The best we can tell now, instead of being in one place, the members
of the al Qaeda are scattered around the world, with more of them
in allied Pakistan than in Afghanistan. Our efforts to find our enemies
have put the CIA in 80 different countries. The question that we must
answer some day is whether we can catch enemies faster than we make
new ones. So far it appears we are losing.
mounts that we have achieved little in reducing the terrorist threat,
more diversionary tactics will be used. The big one will be to blame
Saddam Hussein for everything and initiate a major war against Iraq,
which will only generate even more hatred toward America from the
Mr. Speaker, my subject today is whether America is a police state.
I'm sure the large majority of Americans would answer this in the
negative. Most would associate military patrols, martial law and summary
executions with a police state, something obviously not present in
our everyday activities. However, those with knowledge of Ruby Ridge,
Mount Carmel and other such incidents may have a different opinion.
principal tool for sustaining a police state, even the most militant,
is always economic control and punishment by denying disobedient citizens
such things as jobs or places to live, and by levying fines and imprisonment.
The military is more often used in the transition phase to a totalitarian
state. Maintenance for long periods is usually accomplished through
economic controls on commercial transactions, the use of all property,
and political dissent. Peaceful control through these efforts can
be achieved without storm troopers on our street corners.
and fear are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially
when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people.
The changes, they are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary,
such as those that occur in times of a declared war. Under these conditions,
most citizens believe that once the war is won, the restrictions on
their liberties will be reversed. For the most part, however, after
a declared war is over, the return to normalcy is never complete.
In an undeclared war, without a precise enemy and therefore no precise
ending, returning to normalcy can prove illusory.
just concluded a century of wars, declared and undeclared, while at
the same time responding to public outcries for more economic equity.
The question, as a result of these policies, is: "Are we already
living in a police state?" If we are, what are we going to do about
it? If we are not, we need to know if there's any danger that we're
moving in that direction.
police states, surprisingly, come about through the democratic process
with majority support. During a crisis, the rights of individuals
and the minority are more easily trampled, which is more likely to
condition a nation to become a police state than a military coup.
Promised benefits initially seem to exceed the cost in dollars or
lost freedom. When people face terrorism or great fear from
whatever source the tendency to demand economic and physical
security over liberty and self-reliance proves irresistible. The masses
are easily led to believe that security and liberty are mutually exclusive,
and demand for security far exceeds that for liberty.
it's discovered that the desire for both economic and physical security
that prompted the sacrifice of liberty inevitably led to the loss
of prosperity and no real safety, it's too late. Reversing the trend
from authoritarian rule toward a freer society becomes very difficult,
takes a long time, and entails much suffering. Although dissolution
of the Soviet empire was relatively non-violent at the end, millions
suffered from police suppression and economic deprivation in the decades
prior to 1989.
what about here in the United States? With respect to a police state,
where are we and where are we going?
me make a few observations:
government already keeps close tabs on just about everything we do
and requires official permission for nearly all of our activities.
might take a look at our Capitol for any evidence of a police state.
We see: barricades, metal detectors, police, military soldiers at
times, dogs, ID badges required for every move, vehicles checked at
airports and throughout the Capitol. The people are totally disarmed,
except for the police and the criminals. But worse yet, surveillance
cameras in Washington are everywhere to ensure our safety.
terrorist attacks only provided the cover for the do-gooders who have
been planning for a long time before last September to monitor us
"for our own good." Cameras are used to spy on our drug habits, on
our kids at school, on subway travelers, and on visitors to every
government building or park. There's not much evidence of an open
society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain anything
goes if it's for government-provided safety and security.
huge amount of information and technology is placed in the hands of
the government to catch the bad guys, one naturally asks, What's the
big deal? But it should be a big deal, because it eliminates the enjoyment
of privacy that a free society holds dear. The personal information
of law-abiding citizens can be used for reasons other than safety
including political reasons. Like gun control, people control
hurts law-abiding citizens much more than the law-breakers.
Security numbers are used to monitor our daily activities. The numbers
are given at birth, and then are needed when we die and for everything
in between. This allows government record keeping of monstrous proportions,
and accommodates the thugs who would steal others' identities for
criminal purposes. This invasion of privacy has been compounded by
the technology now available to those in government who enjoy monitoring
and directing the activities of others. Loss of personal privacy was
a major problem long before 9/11.
control and regulations are required in a police state. Community
and individual state regulations are not as threatening as the monolith
of rules and regulations written by Congress and the federal bureaucracy.
Law and order has been federalized in many ways and we are moving
inexorably in that direction.
all of our economic activities depend upon receiving the proper permits
from the federal government. Transactions involving guns, food, medicine,
smoking, drinking, hiring, firing, wages, politically correct speech,
land use, fishing, hunting, buying a house, business mergers and acquisitions,
selling stocks and bonds, and farming all require approval and strict
regulation from our federal government. If this is not done properly
and in a timely fashion, economic penalties and even imprisonment
are likely consequences.
government pays for much of our health care, it's conveniently argued
that any habits or risk-taking that could harm one's health are the
prerogative of the federal government, and are to be regulated by
explicit rules to keep medical-care costs down. This same argument
is used to require helmets for riding motorcycles and bikes.
only do we need a license to drive, but we also need special belts,
bags, buzzers, seats and environmentally dictated speed limits
or a policemen will be pulling us over to levy a fine, and he will
be toting a gun for sure.
states do exactly as they're told by the federal government, because
they are threatened with the loss of tax dollars being returned to
their state dollars that should have never been sent to DC
in the first place, let alone used to extort obedience to a powerful
80,000 federal bureaucrats now carry guns to make us toe the line
and to enforce the thousands of laws and tens of thousands of regulations
that no one can possibly understand. We don't see the guns, but we
all know they're there, and we all know we can't fight "City Hall,"
especially if it's "Uncle Sam."
18-year-old males must register to be ready for the next undeclared
war. If they don't, men with guns will appear and enforce this congressional
mandate. "Involuntary servitude" was banned by the 13th Amendment,
but courts don't apply this prohibition to the servitude of draftees
or those citizens required to follow the dictates of the IRS
especially the employers of the country, who serve as the federal
government's chief tax collectors and information gatherers. Fear
is the tool used to intimidate most Americans to comply to the tax
code by making examples of celebrities. Leona Helmsley and Willie
Nelson know how this process works.
threats against business establishments are notorious. Rules and regulations
from the EPA, the ADA, the SEC, the LRB, OSHA, etc. terrorize business
owners into submission, and those charged accept their own guilt until
they can prove themselves innocent. Of course, it turns out it's much
more practical to admit guilt and pay the fine. This serves the interest
of the authoritarians because it firmly establishes just who is in
leaked from a government agency like the FDA can make or break a company
within minutes. If information is leaked, even inadvertently, a company
can be destroyed, and individuals involved in revealing government-monopolized
information can be sent to prison. Even though economic crimes are
serious offenses in the United States, violent crimes sometimes evoke
more sympathy and fewer penalties. Just look at the O.J. Simpson case
as an example.
to convict Bill Gates and others like him of an economic crime are
astounding, considering his contribution to economic progress, while
sources used to screen out terrorist elements from our midst are tragically
useless. If business people are found guilty of even the suggestion
of collusion in the marketplace, huge fines and even imprisonment
are likely consequences.
fixing is impossible to achieve in a free market. Under today's laws,
talking to, or consulting with, competitors can be easily construed
as "price fixing" and involve a serious crime, even with proof that
the so-called collusion never generated monopoly-controlled prices
or was detrimental to consumers.
circumventing taxes, even sales taxes, can lead to serious problems
if a high-profile person can be made an example.
of the most onerous controls placed on American citizens is the control
of speech through politically correct legislation. Derogatory remarks
or off-color jokes are justification for firings, demotions, and the
destruction of political careers. The movement toward designating
penalties based on the category to which victims belong, rather the
nature of the crime itself, has the thought police patrolling the
airways and byways. Establishing relative rights and special penalties
for subjective motivation is a dangerous trend.
our financial activities are subject to "legal" searches without warrants
and without probable cause. Tax collection, drug usage, and possible
terrorist activities "justify" the endless accumulation of information
on all Americans.
control of medicine has prompted the establishment of the National
Medical Data Bank. For efficiency reasons, it is said, the government
keeps our medical records for our benefit. This, of course, is done
with vague and useless promises that this information will always
remain confidential just like all the FBI information in the
privacy, the sine qua non of liberty, no longer exists in the United
States. Ruthless and abusive use of all this information accumulated
by the government is yet to come. The Patriot Act has given unbelievable
power to listen, read, and monitor all our transactions without a
search warrant being issued after affirmation of probably cause. "Sneak
and peak" and blanket searches are now becoming more frequent every
day. What have we allowed to happen to the 4th amendment?
be true that the average American does not feel intimidated by the
encroachment of the police state. I'm sure our citizens are more tolerant
of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded
into believing all this government supervision is necessary and helpful
and besides they are living quite comfortably, material wise.
However the reaction will be different once all this new legislation
we're passing comes into full force, and the material comforts that
soften our concerns for government regulations are decreased. This
attitude then will change dramatically, but the trend toward the authoritarian
state will be difficult to reverse.
government gives with one hand as it attempts to provide safety and
security it must, at the same time, take away with two others. When
the majority recognizes that the monetary cost and the results of
our war against terrorism and personal freedoms are a lot less than
promised, it may be too late.
sure all my concerns are unconvincing to the vast majority of Americans,
who not only are seeking but also are demanding they be made safe
from any possible attack from anybody, ever. I grant you this is a
point is, however, there may be a much better way of doing it. We
must remember, we don't sit around and worry that some Canadian citizen
is about to walk into New York City and set off a nuclear weapon.
We must come to understand the real reason is that there's a difference
between the Canadians and all our many friends and the Islamic radicals.
And believe me, we're not the target because we're "free and prosperous".
argument made for more government controls here at home and expansionism
overseas to combat terrorism is simple and goes like this: "If we're
not made safe from potential terrorists, property and freedom have
no meaning." It is argued that first we must have life and physical
and economic security, with continued abundance, then we'll talk about
me of the time I was soliciting political support from a voter and
was boldly put down: "Ron," she said, "I wish you would lay off this
freedom stuff; it's all nonsense. We're looking for a Representative
who will know how to bring home the bacon and help our area, and you're
not that person." Believe me, I understand that argument; it's just
that I don't agree that is what should be motivating us here in the
not the way it works. Freedom does not preclude security. Making security
the highest priority can deny prosperity and still fail to provide
the safety we all want.
Congress would never agree that we are a police state. Most members,
I'm sure, would argue otherwise. But we are all obligated to decide
in which direction we are going. If we're moving toward a system that
enhances individual liberty and justice for all, my concerns about
a police state should be reduced or totally ignored. Yet, if, by chance,
we're moving toward more authoritarian control than is good for us,
and moving toward a major war of which we should have no part, we
should not ignore the dangers. If current policies are permitting
a serious challenge to our institutions that allow for our great abundance,
we ignore them at great risk for future generations.
why the post-9/11 analysis and subsequent legislation are crucial
to the survival of those institutions that made America great. We
now are considering a major legislative proposal dealing with this
dilemma the new Department of Homeland Security and we must decide
if it truly serves the interests of America.
the new department is now a forgone conclusion, why should anyone
bother to record a dissent? Because it's the responsibility of all
of us to speak the truth to our best ability, and if there are reservations
about what we're doing, we should sound an alarm and warn the people
of what is to come.
of crisis, nearly unanimous support for government programs is usual
and the effects are instantaneous. Discovering the error of our ways
and waiting to see the unintended consequences evolve takes time and
careful analysis. Reversing the bad effects is slow and tedious and
fraught with danger. People would much prefer to hear platitudes than
the pessimism of a flawed policy.
the real reason why we were attacked is crucial to crafting a proper
response. I know of no one who does not condemn the attacks of 9/11.
Disagreement as to the cause and the proper course of action should
be legitimate in a free society such as ours. If not, we're not a
only do I condemn the vicious acts of 9/11, but also, out of deep
philosophic and moral commitment, I have pledged never to use any
form of aggression to bring about social or economic changes.
I am deeply concerned about what has been done and what we are yet
to do in the name of security against the threat of terrorism.
propagandizing is used to get all of us to toe the line and be good
"patriots," supporting every measure suggested by the administration.
We are told that preemptive strikes, torture, military tribunals,
suspension of habeas corpus, executive orders to wage war, and sacrificing
privacy with a weakened 4th Amendment are the minimum required to
save our country from the threat of terrorism.
winning this war anyway?
popular support for these serious violations of our traditional rule
of law requires that people be kept in a state of fear. The episode
of spreading undue concern about the possibility of a dirty bomb being
exploded in Washington without any substantiation of an actual threat
is a good example of excessive fear being generated by government
insult to injury, when he made this outlandish announcement, our Attorney
General was in Moscow. Maybe if our FBI spent more time at home, we
would get more for the money we pump into this now discredited organization.
Our FBI should be gathering information here at home, and the thousands
of agents overseas should return. We don't need these agents competing
overseas and confusing the intelligence apparatus of the CIA or the
concerned that the excess fear, created by the several hundred al
Qaeda functionaries willing to sacrifice their lives for their demented
goals, is driving us to do to ourselves what the al Qaeda themselves
could never do to us by force.
the direction is clear: we are legislating bigger and more intrusive
government here at home and are allowing our President to pursue much
more military adventurism abroad. These pursuits are overwhelmingly
supported by Members of Congress, the media, and the so-called intellectual
community, and questioned only by a small number of civil libertarians
and anti-imperial, anti-war advocates.
main reason why so many usually levelheaded critics of bad policy
accept this massive increase in government power is clear. They, for
various reasons, believe the official explanation of "Why us?" The
several hundred al Qaeda members, we were told, hate us because: "We're
rich, we're free, we enjoy materialism, and the purveyors of terror
are jealous and envious, creating the hatred that drives their cause.
They despise our Christian-Judaic values and this, is the sole reason
why they are willing to die for their cause." For this to be believed,
one must also be convinced that the perpetrators lied to the world
about why they attacked us.
al Qaeda leaders say they hate us because:
support Western puppet regimes in Arab countries for commercial reasons
and against the wishes of the populace of these countries.
partnership allows a military occupation, the most confrontational
being in Saudi Arabia, that offends their sense of pride and violates
their religious convictions by having a foreign military power on
their holy land. We refuse to consider how we might feel if China's
navy occupied the Gulf of Mexico for the purpose of protecting "their
oil" and had air bases on U.S. territory.
show extreme bias in support of one side in the fifty-plus-year war
going on in the Middle East.
if the al Qaeda is telling the truth and we ignore it? If we believe
only the official line from the administration and proceed to change
our whole system and undermine our constitutional rights, we may one
day wake up to find that the attacks have increased, the numbers of
those willing to commit suicide for their cause have grown, our freedoms
are diminished, and all this has contributed to making our economic
problems worse. The dollar cost of this "war" could turn out to be
exorbitant, and the efficiency of our markets can be undermined by
the compromises placed on our liberties.
it almost seems that our policies inadvertently are actually based
on a desire to make ourselves "less free and less prosperous" those
conditions that are supposed to have prompted the attacks. I'm convinced
we must pay more attention to the real cause of the attacks of last
year and challenge the explanations given us.
question that one day must be answered is this:
if we had never placed our troops in Saudi Arabia and had involved
ourselves in the Middle East war in an even-handed fashion. Would
it have been worth it if this would have prevented the events of 9/11?
avoid the truth, we will be far less well off than if we recognize
that just maybe there is some truth in the statements made by the
leaders of those who perpetrated the atrocities. If they speak the
truth about the real cause, changing our foreign policy from foreign
military interventionism around the globe supporting an American empire
would make a lot of sense. It could reduce tensions, save money, preserve
liberty and preserve our economic system.
for me, is not a reactive position coming out of 9/11, but rather
is an argument I've made for decades, claiming that meddling in the
affairs of others is dangerous to our security and actually reduces
our ability to defend ourselves.
in no way precludes pursuing those directly responsible for the attacks
and dealing with them accordingly something that we seem to have
not yet done. We hear more talk of starting a war in Iraq than in
achieving victory against the international outlaws that instigated
the attacks on 9/11. Rather than pursuing war against countries that
were not directly responsible for the attacks, we should consider
the judicious use of Marque and Reprisal.
sure that a more enlightened approach to our foreign policy will prove
elusive. Financial interests of our international corporations, oil
companies, and banks, along with the military-industrial complex,
are sure to remain a deciding influence on our policies.
even if my assessments prove to be true, any shift away from foreign
militarism like bringing our troops home would now be construed
as yielding to the terrorists. It just won't happen. This is a powerful
point and the concern that we might appear to be capitulating is legitimate.
how long should we deny the truth, especially if this denial only
makes us more vulnerable? Shouldn't we demand the courage and wisdom
of our leaders to do the right thing, in spite of the political shortcomings?
Kennedy faced an even greater threat in October 1962, and from a much
more powerful force. The Soviet/Cuban terrorist threat with nuclear
missiles only 90 miles off our shores was wisely defused by Kennedy's
capitulating and removing missiles from Turkey on the Soviet border.
Kennedy deserved the praise he received for the way he handled the
nuclear standoff with the Soviets. This concession most likely prevented
a nuclear exchange and proved that taking a step back from a failed
policy is beneficial, yet how one does so is crucial. The answer is
to do it diplomatically that's what diplomats are supposed to do.
there is no real desire to remove the excuse for our worldwide imperialism,
especially our current new expansion into central Asia or the domestic
violations of our civil liberties. Today's conditions may well be
exactly what our world commercial interests want. It's now easy for
us to go into the Philippines, Columbia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or
wherever in pursuit of terrorists. No questions are asked by the media
or the politicians only cheers. Put in these terms, who can object?
We all despise the tactics of the terrorists, so the nature of the
response is not to be questioned!
number of Americans are concluding that the threat we now face comes
more as a consequence of our foreign policy than because the bad guys
envy our freedoms and prosperity. How many terrorist attacks have
been directed toward Switzerland, Australia, Canada, or Sweden? They
too are rich and free, and would be easy targets, but the Islamic
fundamentalists see no purpose in doing so.
no purpose in targeting us unless there's a political agenda, which
there surely is. To deny that this political agenda exists jeopardizes
the security of this country. Pretending something to be true that
is not is dangerous.
a definite benefit for so many to recognize that our $40 billion annual
investment in intelligence gathering prior to 9/11 was a failure.
Now a sincere desire exists to rectify these mistakes. That's good,
unless, instead of changing the role for the CIA and the FBI, all
the past mistakes are made worse by spending more money and enlarging
the bureaucracies to do the very same thing without improving their
efficiency or changing their goals. Unfortunately that is what is
likely to happen.
of the major shortcomings that led to the 9/11 tragedies was that
the responsibility for protecting commercial airlines was left to
the government, the FAA, the FBI, the CIA, and the INS. And they failed.
A greater sense of responsibility for the owners to provide security
is what was needed. Guns in the cockpit would have most likely prevented
most of the deaths that occurred on that fateful day.
what does our government do? It firmly denies airline pilots the right
to defend their planes, and we federalize the security screeners and
rely on F16s to shoot down airliners if they are hijacked.
screeners, many barely able to speak English, spend endless hours
harassing pilots, confiscating dangerous mustache scissors, mauling
grandmothers and children, and pestering Al Gore, while doing nothing
about the influx of aliens from Middle-Eastern countries who are on
designated watch lists.
up the military in India and Pakistan, ignore all the warnings about
Saudi Arabia, and plan a secret war against Iraq to make sure no one
starts asking where Osama bin Laden is. We think we know where Saddam
Hussein lives, so let's go get him instead.
our government bureaucracy failed, why not get rid of it instead of
adding to it? If we had proper respect and understood how private
property owners effectively defend themselves, we could apply those
rules to the airlines and achieve something worthwhile.
immigration policies have failed us, when will we defy the politically
correct fanatics and curtail the immigration of those individuals
on the highly suspect lists? Instead of these changes, all we hear
is that the major solution will come by establishing a huge new federal
department the Department of Homeland Security.
to all the pundits, we are expected to champion this big-government
approach, and if we don't jolly well like it, we will be tagged "unpatriotic."
The fear that permeates our country cries out for something to be
done in response to almost daily warnings of the next attack. If it's
not a real attack, then it's a theoretical one; one where the bomb
could well be only in the mind of a potential terrorist.
is all this leading us? Are we moving toward a safer and more secure
society? I think not. All the discussions of these proposed plans
since 9/11 have been designed to condition the American people to
accept major changes in our political system. Some of the changes
being made are unnecessary, and others are outright dangerous to our
way of life.
is no need for us to be forced to choose between security and freedom.
Giving up freedom does not provide greater security. Preserving and
better understanding freedom can. Sadly today, many are anxious to
give up freedom in response to real and generated fears..
plans for a first strike supposedly against a potential foreign government
should alarm all Americans. If we do not resist this power the President
is assuming, our President, through executive order, can start a war
anyplace, anytime, against anyone he chooses, for any reason, without
congressional approval. This is a tragic usurpation of the war power
by the executive branch from the legislative branch, with Congress
being all too accommodating.
the power of the executive branch to wage war, as was done through
our revolution and the writing of the Constitution, is now being casually
sacrificed on the altar of security. In a free society, and certainly
in the constitutional republic we have been given, it should never
be assumed that the President alone can take it upon himself to wage
war whenever he pleases.
publicly announced plan to murder Saddam Hussein in the name of our
national security draws nary a whimper from Congress. Support is overwhelming,
without a thought as to its legality, morality, constitutionality,
or its practicality. Murdering Saddam Hussein will surely generate
many more fanatics ready to commit their lives to suicide terrorist
attacks against us.
CIA attempt to assassinate Castro backfired with the subsequent assassination
of our president. Killing Saddam Hussein, just for the sake of killing
him, obviously will increase the threat against us, not diminish it.
It makes no sense. But our warriors argue that someday he may build
a bomb, someday he might use it, maybe against us or some yet-unknown
target. This policy further radicalizes the Islamic fundamentalists
against us, because from their viewpoint, our policy is driven by
Israeli, not U.S. security interests.
assassination, a preemptive strike policy without proof of any threat,
and a vague definition of terrorism may work for us as long as we're
king of the hill, but one must assume every other nation will naturally
use our definition of policy as justification for dealing with their
neighbors. India can justify a first strike against Pakistan, China
against India or Taiwan, as well as many other such examples. This
new policy, if carried through, will make the world much less safe.
new doctrine is based on proving a negative, which is impossible to
do, especially when we're dealing with a subjective interpretation
of plans buried in someone's head. To those who suggest a more restrained
approach on Iraq and killing Saddam Hussein, the war hawks retort,
saying: "Prove to me that Saddam Hussein might not do something someday
directly harmful to the United States." Since no one can prove this,
the warmongers shout: "Let's march on Baghdad."
can agree that aggression should be met with force and that providing
national security is an ominous responsibility that falls on Congress'
shoulders. But avoiding useless and unjustifiable wars that threaten
our whole system of government and security seems to be the more prudent
thing to do.
September 11th, Congress has responded with a massive barrage of legislation
not seen since Roosevelt took over in 1933. Where Roosevelt dealt
with trying to provide economic security, today's legislation deals
with personal security from any and all imaginable threats, at any
cost dollar or freedom-wise. These efforts include:
Patriot Act, which undermines the 4th Amendment with the establishment
of an overly broad and dangerous definition of terrorism.
Financial Anti-Terrorism Act, which expands the government's surveillance
of the financial transactions of all American citizens through increased
power to FinCen and puts back on track the plans to impose "Know Your
Customer" rules on all Americans, which had been sought after for
airline bailout bill gave $15 billion, rushed through shortly after
federalization of all airline security employees.
tribunals set up by executive order-undermining the rights of those
accused rights established as far back in history as 1215.
retention of suspects without charges being made, even when a crime
has not been committed a serious precedent that one day may well
of FBI surveillance guidelines of all political activity.
monopolizing vaccines and treatment for infectious diseases, permitting
massive quarantines and mandates for vaccinations.
all significant legislation since 9/11 has been rushed through in
a tone of urgency with reference to the tragedy, including the $190
billion farm bill as well as fast track.
to all insurance companies now are moving quickly through the Congress.
Increasing the billions already flowing into foreign aid is now being
planned as our interventions overseas continue to grow and expand.
no reason to believe that the massive increase in spending, both domestic
and foreign, along with the massive expansion of the size of the federal
government, will slow any time soon. The deficit is exploding as the
economy weakens. When the government sector drains the resources needed
for capital expansion, it contributes to the loss of confidence needed
without evidence that any good has come from this massive expansion
of government power, Congress is in the process of establishing a
huge new bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, hoping
miraculously through centralization to make all these efforts productive
is no evidence, however, that government bureaucracy and huge funding
can solve our nation's problems. The likelihood is that the unintended
consequences of this new proposal will diminish our freedoms and do
nothing to enhance our security.
currently proposed and recently passed legislation does not mean one
is complacent about terrorism or homeland security. The truth is that
there are alternative solutions to these problems we face, without
resorting to expanding the size and scope of government at the expense
as it may seem, a government is incapable of preventing crimes. On
occasion, with luck it might succeed. But the failure to tip us off
about 9/11, after spending $40 billion annually on intelligence gathering,
should have surprised no one. Governments, by nature, are very inefficient
institutions. We must accept this as fact.
sure that our intelligence agencies had the information available
to head off 9/11, but bureaucratic blundering and turf wars prevented
the information from being useful. But, the basic principle is wrong.
City policeman can't and should not be expected to try to preempt
crimes. That would invite massive intrusions into the everyday activities
of every law-abiding citizen.
that's exactly what our recent legislation is doing. It's a wrong-headed
goal, no matter how wonderful it may sound. The policemen in the inner
cities patrol their beats, but crime is still rampant. In the rural
areas of America, literally millions of our citizens are safe and
secure in their homes, though miles from any police protection. They
are safe because even the advantage of isolation doesn't entice the
burglar to rob a house when he knows a shotgun sits inside the door
waiting to be used. But this is a right denied many of our citizens
living in the inner cities.
whole idea of government preventing crime is dangerous. To prevent
crimes in our homes or businesses, government would need cameras to
spy on our every move; to check for illegal drug use, wife beating,
child abuse, or tax evasion. They would need cameras, not only on
our streets and in our homes, but our phones, internet, and travels
would need to be constantly monitored just to make sure we are not
a terrorist, drug dealer, or tax evader.
is the assumption now used at our airports, rather than allowing privately
owned airlines to profile their passengers to assure the safety for
which the airline owners ought to assume responsibility. But, of course,
this would mean guns in the cockpit. I am certain that this approach
to safety and security would be far superior to the rules that existed
prior to 9/11 and now have been made much worse in the past nine months.
method of providing security emphasizes private-property ownership
and responsibility of the owners to protect that property. But the
right to bear arms must also be included. The fact that the administration
is opposed to guns in the cockpit and the fact that the airline owners
are more interested in bailouts and insurance protection mean that
we're just digging a bigger hole for ourselves ignoring liberty and
expecting the government to provide something it's not capable of
of this, in combination with a foreign policy that generates more
hatred toward us and multiplies the number of terrorists that seek
vengeance, I am deeply concerned that Washington's efforts so far
sadly have only made us more vulnerable. I'm convinced that the newly
proposed Department of Homeland Security will do nothing to make us
more secure, but it will make us all a lot poorer and less free. If
the trend continues, the Department of Homeland Security may well
be the vehicle used for a much more ruthless control of the people
by some future administration than any of us dreams. Let's pray that
this concern will never materialize.
is not now a ruthless authoritarian police state. But our concerns
ought to be whether we have laid the foundation of a more docile police
state. The love of liberty has been so diminished that we tolerate
intrusions into our privacies today that would have been abhorred
just a few years ago. Tolerance of inconvenience to our liberties
is not uncommon when both personal and economic fear persists. The
sacrifices being made to our liberties will surely usher in a system
of government that will please only those who enjoy being in charge
of running other people's lives.
Speaker, what, then, is the answer to the question: "Is America a
Police State?" My answer is: "Maybe not yet, but it is fast approaching."
The seeds have been sown and many of our basic protections against
tyranny have been and are constantly being undermined. The post-9/11
atmosphere here in Congress has provided ample excuse to concentrate
on safety at the expense of liberty, failing to recognize that we
cannot have one without the other.
the government keeps detailed records on every move we make and we
either need advance permission for everything we do or are penalized
for not knowing what the rules are, America will be declared a police
state. Personal privacy for law-abiding citizens will be a thing of
the past. Enforcement of laws against economic and political crimes
will exceed that of violent crimes (just look at what's coming under
the new FEC law). War will be the prerogative of the administration.
Civil liberties will be suspended for suspects, and their prosecution
will not be carried out by an independent judiciary. In a police state,
this becomes common practice rather than a rare incident.
argue that we already live in a police state, and Congress doesn't
have the foggiest notion of what they're dealing with. So forget it
and use your energy for your own survival. Some advise that the momentum
towards the monolithic state cannot be reversed. Possibly that's true,
but I'm optimistic that if we do the right thing and do not capitulate
to popular fancy and the incessant war propaganda, the onslaught of
statism can be reversed.
do so, we as a people will once again have to dedicate ourselves to
establishing the proper role a government plays in a free society.
That does not involve the redistribution of wealth through force.
It does not mean that government dictates the moral and religious
standards of the people. It does not allow us to police the world
by involving ourselves in every conflict as if it's our responsibility
to manage a world American empire.
it does mean government has a proper role in guaranteeing free markets,
protecting voluntary and religious choices and guaranteeing private
property ownership, while punishing those who violate these rules whether foreign or domestic.
free society, the government's job is simply to protect liberty the
people do the rest. Let's not give up on a grand experiment that has
provided so much for so many. Let's reject the police state.