Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rand Paul would not a bondsman be

Thus despotism is already triumphant, and the genius of liberty is on the eve of her exit, is about bidding an eternal adieu to this once happy people.

The Huffington Post reports on Rand Paul's courageous filibuster to prevent renewal of the Constitution-shredding "Patriot Act," saying:
Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, a freshman and tea party favorite, all but ran the Senate for three days this week in defiance of leaders of both parties trying to extend the Patriot Act before parts of it expire at midnight Thursday.

Using filibuster tactics, Paul has delayed action on the intelligence-gathering measures, contending they should expire because the Patriot Act gives the government too much power to monitor people's lives. He spent most of the week demanding that Majority Leader Harry Reid make good on a promise earlier this year to allow him to offer amendments to the post-9/11 law.
Speaking on the Senate floor in the video linked below, Dr. Paul the younger presents a brilliant summary of the dangers inherent in the Patriot Act's assault on the Fourth Amendment:

Dr. Paul opines in his opening remarks:
There’s been a lot of discussion of the PATRIOT Act, and we’re told basically we wouldn’t be able to capture these terrorists if we didn’t give up some of our liberties; if we didn’t give up some of the Fourth Amendment and allow it to be easier for the police to come into our homes.

We were so frightened after 9/11 that we readily gave up these freedoms.

We said, well, the Fourth Amendment is not that important. We’ll just let the government look at all of our records and we’ll make it easier for the government to look at our records.
The senator provides straightforward facts about what the feds can do to any American citizen they desire, including tap his phone, snoop through his financial records and so forth, all without a warrant. Of course, as he points out, obtaining a warrant is basically a formality anyways and takes mere minutes. Requests are never turned down, which is a problem in and of itself. Towards the conclusion of his speech, he expresses sentiments that should stir the blood of every free-breathing human, stating:
The bottom line is I don’t want to live in a country where we give up our freedoms, our privacy. I don’t want to live in a country that loses its constitutional protections that protect us as individuals.

We do have a right to privacy. You have a right not to have the government reading your Visa bill every month. We do have rights and we should protect these, but we shouldn’t be so fearful that we say well, I’m a good person, I don’t care, just look at my records.

If you do, you’re setting yourself up for a day when there will be a tyranny, when there will be a despot who comes into power in the United States and who uses those rules that you said oh, I don’t have anything to hide.
During his agitation for a Bill of Rights (which sadly only delayed the inevitable), Patrick Henry warned this day of despotism would arrive, saying:
The officers of Congress may come upon you now, fortified with all the terrors of paramount federal authority. Excisemen may come in multitudes; for the limitation of their numbers no man knows. They may, unless the general government be restrained by a bill of rights, or some similar restriction, go into your cellars and rooms, and search, ransack, and measure, every thing you eat, drink, and wear. They ought to be restrained Within proper bounds.
In his 18th-century anti-Federalist writings, Centinel spoke of the same public hysteria which undergirds all arguments in support of the tyrannical Patriot Act. The ruling elite are swift and merciless in taking advantage of such an emotionally-based form of governance, as Centinel wrote:
The wealthy and ambitious, who in every community think they have a right to lord it over their fellow creatures, have availed themselves, very successfully, of this favorable disposition; for the people thus unsettled in their sentiments, have been prepared to accede to any extreme of government; all the distresses and difficulties they experience, proceeding from various causes, have been ascribed to the impotency of the present confederation, and thence they have been led to expect full relief from the adoption of the proposed system of government, and in the other event, immediately ruin and annihilation as a nation.
Of course, the anxious Huffington Post folks are just the sorts of which Centinel spoke, fretting as they do in another article about Dr. Paul's heroic stand that "the basis of Paul's objections and the reaction to them does provide a window into how difficult it has become to manage personalities and get legislation passed in an undramatic fashion in both chambers." This is a grossly erroneous perspective on the purpose of government, which is to be restrained rather than empowered. Corralling the legislators into calmly, quietly and subserviently passing new bills doesn't have a damn thing to do with the originally intended purpose of the American way of governance, yet the other 99 ruling aristocrats appear to have bought into just such a fake paradigm. As the only senator with that magic mixture of principles and guts, Dr. Paul's exception to the norm makes him shine as bright as a copper penny.

Men of reason are understandably often lost for words in searching for an appropriate response to the frenzied justifications of the ruling elite and their sock puppets. Yet the Bard proved himself capable of clear-headedness, penning against shackles as he placed words in the mouth of Brutus, who enquired: "Who's here so base, that would a bondsman be? If any, speak; for him have I offended."