The rulers of the American Empire have written about the Third Wave, they've held seminars about the Third Way, and now they're speaking candidly about the Third World War. Newt Gingrich
wants us to know that recent violence in Israel and Lebanon and India, and the North Korean missile tests, and the arrests of al-Qaida sympathizers in Canada and Miami and New York, are all related in a way that resembles a world war.
"Whether operationally connected or not, these attackers and plotters are connected in their ultimate aim to destroy the values of freedom, security and religious liberty that sustain civilization in the modern age."
He wants you to be afraid. He wants us "to have a national debate - indeed, a worldwide debate - between those of us who believe we're in a war to defend civilization (and therefore must defeat terrorists and their state sponsors) and those who are made uncomfortable by the price of defeating terrorists and their state sponsors."
That is one gem of a sentence. If you object to invasions of your privacy, if you object to a police-state mentality, if you object to undeclared wars and prisoners-of-war camps filled with people the government insists are not POWs, if you object to a president with the powers of an emperor who is above the law that we common folk must obey without question - well, then, you must not be willing to defend civilization. You must not comprehend that to save our freedom, we must destroy our freedom before the enemies of civilization beat us to the punch.
Gingrich very cleverly sneaks New York and Miami and Canada into a list of troubling developments in the "war on terror." This is no doubt to prepare the reader for the domestic operations that will be deemed "necessary" to prevent terrorism and for the police-state actions like registering all citizens and especially their guns, monitoring their e-mail and their phone calls, stopping them and searching them at random, confiscating the weapons of hurricane victims, and the like.
Ironically, Gingrich concludes by giving freedom lovers a nice four-point plan for conversations with our "friends and neighbors who may not yet recognize the nature and scale of this war." If I may, let me adapt his talking points to the cause of true freedom.1. It's Us Versus Them:
The American people and free people everywhere must come to recognize that we are in a world war that pits the cause of freedom against those of the state who wish to impose a new dark age - with them in charge. Everything our leaders do must be judged by whether it helps or hurts the cause of freedom.2. Connect the Dots, Then Connect Them Again:
We must consistently emphasize that you don't defend freedom and liberty by stripping it away - that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (even if it makes you happy not to include the three words "by our Creator" in that sentence). The push to create a national ID card is related to searches of persons and property in airports. Increased police power to break into our homes unannounced is related to increased government power to confiscate homes and land and personal property for whatever purposes it so desires.
And on and on it goes.3. Stand and Deliver:
We must take every possible opportunity to engage in arguments and efforts that educate people about how whatever external threats the country faces, we face an enormous domestic challenge to protect the right of individuals to live their lives unencumbered and unafraid of overbearing intrusions by the state, so long as they don't infringe on the rights of other individuals.4. Be Honest About the Challenges Ahead:
Those who want to micromanage our lives are very powerful and very dedicated. When every one of the 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights has been tossed aside and trampled, there is a serious crisis of liberty. We must convince the American people and our allies around the world that fighting this fight is hard but necessary and unavoidable. Allowing them to stamp out the last flickering flames of liberty and erect a wall of totalitarianism on the North American continent would be far harder.
There really are bad guys in the world who'd like to blow up people just because they're Americans. or just because they're Jews. or just because they're Arabs. So it's easy for demagogues to take our fear of being blown up and lead us into a cage, where we'll be safe from the bombs but absolutely vulnerable to their power and their absolute certainty that they know how to run our lives better than we do.
The legacy of Jefferson and Paine and Washington and Franklin and all the revolutionaries we revere absolutely depends on this distinction: Freedom is not a commodity delivered via a spigot you can turn on and off - you don't defend liberty by "temporarily" suspending it. I'd like to think Newt Gingrich believes in freedom and liberty and doesn't realize the extent to which his arguments betray the very cause he claims to champion. But this is a very carefully crafted essay that leads the reader to consider it would be downright patriotic to lay down his freedom if it means defeating the terrorists. The man claims to be about liberty; his words coax the reader down another path.
We were born to live and die as free men and women, and no bogeyman Newt Gingrich waves in the dark can make us afraid enough to surrender our freedom. I'd like to believe we have the courage to stand up to anyone who threatens our God-given freedom - including you, Newt. Including you.