The End of America by Naomi Wolf

It is perplexing that some people say that pushing green initiatives is the “government curtailing our freedoms” like the guy who said bike sharing programs were authoritarian.  Meanwhile, conservatives continue to be strangely supportive of the Bush-led encroachment on our civil liberties that are closing our society.  Naomi Wolf, in the documentary The End of America, outlines steps commonly taken to close society, by dictators and despots, from Nazi Germany, to our sworn enemies, the Taliban.  The closing of societies mean that people lose rights and freedoms, while the oppressor rules by fear and intimidation.  We supposedly went to Iraq to free people from a dictator.  Saddam Hussein used many of these tactics to main his tyrannical power.  Republicans, I implore you:  if you truly stand for freedom, stop these tactics started by President Bush and utilized by dictatorial regimes:

  1. Invoke an external and internal threat.  By fearing terrorism as a threat to our survival, people are accepting intrusive airport searches, and accepting of the possibility that phone and email is being monitored.
  2. Establish secret and unaccountable prisons where torture takes place.  Even now, a lot of Americans don’t care about Guantanamo because they figure they won’t end up there, so it doesn’t affect them.  But think of the families of the men who are still being held there, and how much they are suffering.
  3. Develop a paramilitary force.  I was shocked to learn that Blackwater, a private security force, is operating INSIDE the United States.  Who are they accountable to?  What authority do they have?
  4. Surveil ordinary Americans.  We have gotten used to having video cameras everywhere.  We give up our privacy and anonymity in order to “deter crime.”
  5. Infiltrate citizens’ groups.   It has become a common joke that activists assume they are on some watch list or have a file somewhere.  Activists may be willing to endure this pressure, but many people, especially with children, are not.  It is intimidation and keeps people from becoming politically active.
  6. Detain and release ordinary citizens.  Protestors being arrested for simply being at a protest is unconstitutional, and should have us all protesting!
  7. Target key individuals, such as Valerie Plame.  Even if you’re not a CIA agent, her outing sent a message to the rest of us that if you step out of line, you may be thrown under the train.
  8. Restrict the press.  We hear so much attack on the “liberal” media.  To my way of thinking, media should ideally be objective, but probably have more of a liberal slant, because conservatism is usually the movement of closing societies.
  9. Recast dissent as treason.   I hear the word “treason” being used an awful lot among Republican lawmakers lately towards anyone who questions our war on terror, or the war in Iraq/Afghanistan.
  10. Subvert the rule of law.  Bush even joked that things would be easier if it was a dictatorship and he was dictator.  As with most of his humor, it’s half-true.
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