L. Neil Smith's
Number 304, January 30, 2005

"How free are you...."

Freedom Starts at Home
by Francis A Ney, Jr.

Special to TLE

The second inaugural address by George "Dubya" Bush promised the world that those who desire freedom would receive the full support of the United States. Given the events of the previous four years I have to wonder if the man even knows what "freedom" means, since he's done a bang-up job of suppressing it.

I mean, how free are you when stating an opinion in a gymnasium, or hanging a poster, or reading a web site print-out merits a visit from the FBI?

How free are you when a donation to a charitable organization, or even playing a game of paintball can result in your arrest?

How free are you when the chief law enforcement officer of the nation declares "You're either with us, or a terrorist"?

How free are you when you can be arrested on the orders of the Waffen SS—excuse me—the Secret Service for wearing a t-shirt in the presence of the President?

How free are you when your political activities are used as an excuse to restrict your means and mode of transportation by placing you on a "restricted" or "no-fly" list? One that will soon be expanded from airplanes to buses and trains?

How free are you when the old COINTELPRO procedures have been dusted off and given new life in federal law enforcement?

How free are you when, using your own tax dollars, government officials campaign against referenda on freedom issues, and ignore referenda that have passed?

How free are you, how comfortable are you, with government officials railroading a medical doctor whose only crime was being too trusting of his patients suffering chronic pain. Are you happy that this man will spend the rest of his life in prison? Are you happy that a family member or a friend will be denied adequate pain palliation at some point in the future because your physician will be more afraid of going to jail than facing a lawsuit?

How free are you when you know this man is lying through his teeth:

"Law-abiding citizens have absolutely nothing to fear from law enforcement. People who are exercising their First Amendment rights of speech, freedom of association and religion and are not committing any criminal activity have nothing to fear."
—FBI Agent Doug Garrison

Freedom starts at home. If Mister Bush wishes to promote the concept abroad, he'd do well to set a better example in his own nest. Otherwise, he will lose what little credibility remains to his person and office.

Frank is a freelance computer consultant and professional gadfly. His main hobbies are guns, computers, ham radio and libertarian politics. He lives in West Virginia, along with his SO of eight years, a number of horses, a labradoodle puppy and a cat that thinks he has 6 legs. He occasionally entertains antlered rats (aka whitetail deer), foxes, turkeys, woodpeckers and pheasant just because they show up for the free food. When he can he volunteers with the local fire department as an EMT.


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