I’m getting a big déjà vu feeling in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo killings in France.
The French government is declaring war on terrorism. It’s militarizing French society. It’s proposing a Patriot Act. It’s supporting a mass surveillance scheme. It’s advocating killing more people in the Middle East. There is even talk of using military tribunals to try terrorism cases.
Hey, those were all things that U.S. officials did after the 9/11 attacks. No wonder I’m getting a déjà vu feeling!
I’ll bet the German people are getting a bit of déjà vu too. That’s because their former president, Adolf Hitler, took the same sort of measures after the terrorist attack on the Reichstag. That’s what the Enabling Act was all about.
After the terrorists firebombed the Reichstag, Hitler told the German representatives that it was imperative that he be granted special powers to wage the war on the terrorism. Just before the vote on whether to grant Hitler extraordinary powers, he reassured the Reichstag:
The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures. The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one.
In a 441-84 vote, the Reichstag gave Hitler his extraordinary powers to wage the war on terrorism. As part of his plan to defeat terrorism, Hitler organized special tribunals to try cases involving terrorism. He called it the People’s Court. That’s where Hans and Sophie Scholl and the members of the White Rose were put on trial, convicted, and executed.
This quote by Hitler’s Nazi cohort Hermann Goering is apt:
It is always a simple matter to drag the people along…. the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Indeed it does. The last thing people want to do is confront the notion that their very own government is at the heart of the problem. Their government is their everything. It is their provider. It is their papa.
This is especially true in France, where the government takes care of people by providing them with their retirement pay, healthcare, job protection, economic regulations, and education. The last thing people are going to do is point to the government’s very own policies abroad as the root cause of the anger and hatred that drives people to commit acts of terrorism.
After all, what if the government were to get angry and terminate the dole on which people are dependent? The situation is akin to a child who throws temper tantrums but never challenges his parents at a fundamental level for fear that his parents will no longer take care of him.
It’s much easier for the French people, like all too many Americans after 9/11, to swallow the government’s line hook, line, and sinker — that the terrorists just hate France for its freedom and values and that the anger and hatred have nothing to do with all the people that the French government, in combination with the U.S. government, has been killing, maiming, and torturing in Afghanistan and the Middle East for the past 13 years.
What’s this much-vaunted free society that French officials say the terrorists have attacked?
Well, let’s see.
There are the laws that criminalize the questioning of the Holocaust. If you do that in France, they will take you into custody, prosecute you, and jail you, even if you are a foreigner. What they mean by freedom of speech in France is the freedom to say whatever you want so long as it’s approved by the government.
There is strict gun control in France. The idea is that if guns are made illegal, there won’t be anyone being killed by guns. Just think: Every one of those people at Charlie Hebdo was legally prohibited from defending himself from murderers who obviously didn’t give a hoot about France’s gun-control laws.
There is the welfare state, a socialist economic system that plunders and loots people with income taxation and other taxes in order to provide a dole to people. The welfare state, combined with France’s highly regulated economic system, is the reason that the country has been mired in an economic morass for centuries.
When they established the United States, our American ancestors fully and completely rejected European statism. But our ancestors weren’t naïve. They knew that the federal government would inevitably attract statists, just like those in France and other parts of Europe. That’s why our ancestors ensured the passage of the Bill of Rights — protect our rights and freedoms from American statists within the federal government.
It’s also why Americans lived without income taxation, welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, gun control, fiat money, a central bank, and all the other attributes of European statism for more than 100 years. Our ancestors had had enough of European statism.
And that’s not all. Our ancestors also rejected the old, bankrupt ideas of empire, militarism, standing armies, secret police, and foreign interventionism. They had seen what both the British Empire and the French Empire had produced: endless terrorist blowback arising from anger and hatred for imperialism as well as ever-increasing expenditures, taxes, and borrowing and ever-growing infringements on the rights and liberties of the citizenry, including such things as warrantless searches, mass surveillance, gun confiscation, taxes, and fiat money. That’s in fact why the British colonists in America seceded from the British Empire in 1776.
It’s time for the American people to wake up and rediscover their roots and their heritage. It’s time to reject European statism, just as the Founding Fathers and the Framers did. It’s time to dismantle, not reform, the American welfare-warfare state, including the income tax, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve, which provide the revenue for this monstrosity. It would be the best thing we could ever do for ourselves and for the world.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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