Friday, June 17, 2005

The Second Act

Jumping off from a marathon session of watching The Daily Show. So a certain amount of this thought is borrowed. (Even my title is a semi-copped from John Stewart.) But more than that, the Daily Show was a jumping off place for further thought...

Bush is looking to renew the National Security Act. In his own words, it is 'working' so why let it 'expire?' Well, how about this... it's not really working. In fact, it's main result has been to incarcerate a lot of innocent people. YES, there are guilty parties being ferreted out, but at what cost to civil liberties?

It was intended to be a temporary measure. But, it's not looking like it. If it is renewed, then next time around it's easier to renew it out of hand, and again until it gets renewed without notice by the public, possibly even being put into permanence without so much as a single head turned.

I'm going to be quick to point out that in fact I personally believe that the access to personal information that is an inherent part of the act is at it's core a good thing. What is a problem is that the access is not universal. I won't waste time explaining this concept here, it's not that relevant except to add some clarity to what would seem like a hypocritical position on my part. I'm not opposed to the access authorities have to personal information. I am opposed to it not being two-way glass. For more info on this concept, read The Transparent Society by David Brin.

This is a slippery slope. Allowing the act to remain unchanged is allowing potentially abusive power to further blossom in the United States. By increments, the American people are allowing themselves to slip closer and closer into a state of neo-fascism.

John Stewart has also on a recent program taken a stand to call out anyone who insists on making comparisons to Hitler or Nazism in any circumstance where they are faced with someone or a political situation that they disagree with.

On a certain level, I agree with him. It's exceptionally specious when the claim is made in the wrong direction along the political spectrum. But I think that calling for an all-out moratorium on invoking Hitler's name is bullshit. Certainly a greater degree of reason needs to be applied to that kneejerk, but if it is in any way appropriate, it's fair game - particularly if the specific accuracy of the situation is noted. Call someone Hitler and note how it's apropos, I'm right behind you.

For example: Hitler at one time appeared to be a reasonable, if somewhat extreme man. His regime rose to power by the gradual application of restraint upon the German nation. Not unlike the current rise of the Republican party in the U.S. Now, the current state of the Republican party is a LONG LONG WAY from the images we have of the Nazi party... but remember that at one time, so was the Nazi party.

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