Bill of Rights Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 388, October 8, 2006

"Why Don't They Get It?"


Who Are the Cylons?
by Bill Hartwell

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Just imagine:

You're trying to rebuild your homeland after a devastating war and years of continuous harassment and bombing by the enemy after the war ended. Just when you are starting to think you might be able to rebuild, the enemy attacks again, and your government surrenders. The enemy claims they are in your homeland to bring you freedom and enlightenment; to bring you a better way of life than the life you had under your old government.

So now you're ruled by a puppet government, which exists solely to rubber-stamp the orders of the invaders. The invaders have taken people from among your own ranks to form a puppet police force to put a "humane" face on the occupation, while doing the dirty work they don't want to be seen doing.

People are disappearing in the night, going into "detention" where they are interrogated, tortured, sometimes simply vanishing, never to be seen again. There are no trials, no courts; the enemy simply declares who is an "unlawful enemy combatant" and they are considered to be guilty from the moment their name is listed.

Some of your own are fighting back, but every time they strike at the enemy, the enemy responds by slaughtering more innocent people. The situation is so desperate that some of your resistance fighters have chosen to fight by strapping on belts of explosives and blowing themselves up in places that they hope will shock and terrify the enemy—and those who collaborate with the enemy.

Through it all, the enemy continues to insist they are "doing God's Will" and that only evil people would choose to resist them. They actually seem shocked and confused that anyone could possibly object to their occupation... detentions... torture... murders... reprisals... disappearances.... They honestly seem to be completely convinced that their cause is so righteous that you'll understand why they "had to" kill your sister, brother, mother, father, daughter, son, or even your entire family.

As I watched the season premier of Battlestar Galactica last night, I realized that it could have been telling the story of the American occupation of Iraq... Vietnam... the Philippines... the Confederacy.... In fact, it reminded me of every case throughout the history of Western civilization where someone has chosen to take up "the white man's burden."

How many repetitions of the same sad story are necessary before those who are "doing God's Will" realize they're not wanted? Will they ever realize they're not wanted? Probably not. And that's the heart of the tragedy. They're destroying lives by the thousands, all in the name of "doing God's Will" and are so convinced of their own righteousness that anyone who so much as questions it is their enemy.

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    —C. S. Lewis

First published at


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