paranoid fears about tyranny

fears & rumors of fears from unfogged – nicely articulates something i’ve been unable to about civil liberties:

It’s Easy, Really

Posted by Ogged
on 06.09.04

Once again, I’m trying very hard to keep from thinking that the republic is on the brink of collapse. Soon, I’ll stop trying.

But let me add just one simple point: If America ceases to be a free country, you won’t necessarily notice. It won’t smell different, dark clouds won’t gather on the horizon, the roads will remain open, movies will still play in the theaters, and television will, most assuredly, stay on.

Like the mass of people who lived in the Soviet Union, or who are now living in Iran, you’ll go about your business, making accommodations, and trying to get by. In fact, in Iran, you can easily hop in your car, go all across the country, camp where you like, build big fires, leave a mess, and drive like the devil. In many ways, there are far fewer regulations there. But we rightly call it a repressive society because of the way it treats dissenters and the accused, and because there is little accountability and limited democracy.

We’re a long way from a mullacracy in the U.S., but we’re definitely closer to being one than we were a few years ago, and, I’ll say it again: what’s most disturbing is how many people are unperturbed. And what those who are upset should understand is that, contrary to what we think we know in our bones, there aren’t many effective arguments from self-interest in favor of freedom. Being free just isn’t a matter of convenience, and being unfree isn’t necessarily inconvenient. It’s a matter of principle, and of pride. I don’t think many people care about the principle, but, for a couple of hundred years, Americans have been fiercely, even violently, proud of being free. Are they still?