In the recent national security debate, Newt Gingrich clashed with Ron Paul, who had said something that sounded like “terrorism is bad, and we should certainly go after them for doing such things.” Paul had cited Oklahoma City as an example. In response Newt said that the point was to head off such attacks beforehand, not to punish them afterward. And, of course, on this point, they were both right.
There is a way of reacting after the fact that is simply negligence. Gingrich is right. But there is also a way of aggressively going after it before the fact that makes the government a bigger threat to the liberties of the citizen than the terrorists are. Paul is right.
We are already at the point where we are more likely to be hassled by security forces than harmed by a terrorist. And I am much more likely to be pillaged by my government than I am likely to be hurt by terrorists. Run the numbers, man. I am being pillaged now, and not by terrorists. Well, actually it is by a kind of terrorist, just not the swarthy kind looking for the virgins.
When people are clamoring for the government to “do something” about security, what is it that we actually get? Increased security? Or the unionized, blue-suited bus drivers of the TSA? Is it an article of faith with us that the bureaucrats who are running the implementation of the Patriot Act, whom we do not see, are somehow more on top of things than all the government reps that we do see?
One time a gentleman in our congregation was getting a security clearance, and as someone who knew him, I was interviewed by the FBI. When asked what relationship I had with the man, I replied that I was his pastor. “Oh, I can’t put that down,” the investigator said. The country is in the very best of hands.
When the government does things that are mind-boggingly stupid in the pursuit of our ephemeral security, and they are doing it straight over the top of all those amber waves of grain, coast to coast, how easy is it to get them to lay off? You tell me. Does someone point out that “that’s stupid,” and everybody else goes, “you know, you’re right. Let’s repeal that”? Is that what happens?
And then there is yet another layer to the question of national security. Let’s come at it this way. What is most likely to hit us? A suitcase nuke? Or a Euro-style default? Which presents the most notable “clear and present danger”? Which one has your attention?
Please note: I know the government has the responsibility to protect us from both. But when two armies are going to attack your city, you should actually fight off the army that got there first and is currently scaling the walls. We are in a financial crisis, like, right now, and our worthy representatives continue to spend approximately 7 million dollars a minute.
Why don’t we just ask them this question? Why don’t you gents prove to us how capable you are of fighting off the clear danger of terrorism by actually fighting off the present danger of your suicidal and lunatic voting patterns?
As our friends across the water are circling the Euro-drain, do you think any of them are currently wishing that they had, in years past, spent a lot more money on weapons systems? If they had spent that money, would they be any good fighting off the kind of threat that is actually going to take them down?
So let’s not ask what the government might do in the future. They’re doing it all right now.