Ron Paul’s speaking the unspeakable truth to power occasions this update of a column I wrote in 2004.
“It’s as simple as that. It’s good versus evil, and freedom is under attack.”
President George Bush, February 16, 2002
I consider myself a freedom buff. I talk about it a lot. I tell myself, and those I want to shock, that I’d like to die fighting for it. I love the eloquent praise of liberty in the writings of the Founders.
Since the attacks on
9/11 there’s been a dramatic decline in freedom here in the U.S. At the same time our president continually declares a love of freedom that has clearly overwhelmed any love he has for credibility or truth. It certainly overwhelms any love or respect he may have for the freedom of his fellow citizens.
Mr. Bush has taken up the cause of freedom like a knight on a holy quest. If we take him at his word, freedom is at the heart of everything he does. Because of our freedom we were attacked. Our vengeful counterattacks have freedom names: “Operation Enduring Freedom” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” George II unfurls the banner of freedom and wraps himself in it as if it were a monarch’s cloak of authority.
Mr. Bush’s fight for freedom in the world is the justification for dramatic reduction of freedom at home. Our armed forces are spreading freedom and cluster bombs among penniless peasants in third world countries thousands of miles away, while the USA Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security work to eliminate it in the United States.
Only hours after the 9/11 attack, Mr. Bush latched on to freedom as the trump ace that would top any objection to a massive power grab. For Mr. Bush, a mindless hatred of freedom is the only possible motive for terrorist attack.
On September 11, he said, “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.” Later that day he said, “…our way of life, our very freedom came under attack… America was attacked because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.” Mr. Bush had the terrorists’ motives all figured out even before the FBI or CIA had figured out who they were.
To Mr. Bush the world is a charmingly simple place. In a July 11, 2002 speech, he offered this handy syllogism: “What we stand for is freedom, and they hate freedom. And therefore, they hate us.”
Simple, eh? On September 5, 2002 he declared “The more we value freedom, the more they hate us.” If only the world were as simple as the president’s mind.
Well, OK, let’s say that hatred of freedom is the great driving force behind terrorism. Why then, don’t all these freedom haters blow things up and wreck buildings in countries that enjoy even more freedom than America does?
Perhaps you don’t think there are such countries. But there are many. The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation rank countries around the world every year using an “economic
freedom index.” In 2007, three countries ranked higher than the U.S. in economic freedom, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. None of these countries has suffered any great incidence of terrorism.
There are other interesting freedom indexes as well. For instance, an outfit called Reporters without
Frontiers has an index of international press freedom. The top five countries for press freedom in 2007 were Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and the Netherlands. None of those countries ranked very high in terrorist attacks. The top three had none at all. The U.S. ranked 43rd, by the way, behind Costa Rica, Italy and Macedonia, on the free press index.
Even the UN, an organization that loves big government, ranked its members in a Freedom Index in
the early 1990s. Ten nations stood higher than the United States on the Freedom Index. Among them are Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Canada, and Switzerland. These nations have had few international terrorist attacks and none has had nearly as many attacks against its citizens as has the United States.
Admittedly the UN’s freedom rankings are probably biased toward the idea that big government means freedom, but the point is that if freedom were what the terrorists hate so much, there are plenty of places that are more free than America for them to attack. Many of those places are closer and more convenient as well. Yet, America is the Great Satan, not Finland, or Canada.
If terrorism isn’t much of a threat to most free nations. What then, is inflaming suicidal Muslims to attack us? If freedom is what terrorists hate so much, they could pester local freedom lovers much more easily than traveling thousands of miles to attack a country that is, at least by UN standards, not even in the top ten.
I suspect there is some other reason America and the American government in particular has become the target of terrorists. A quick, lightly researched, admittedly unscientific look at the foreign policy of the other free countries as compared to that of the American government might shed a little light.
For instance, my research has revealed that the government of Switzerland has never dropped bombs anywhere. No Dutch or Norwegian warship ever shot down an Iranian
airliner. Nor could I find any reports of bombings, invasions, police actions, or liberations undertaken by the governments of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, or Austria. The New Zealand government has no troops in Saudi Arabia. Nor do any of the other top ten free nations.
None of those other free nations has ever bombed anyone to preserve the freedom of those being bombed. None of those countries meddles much in the affairs of Muslim countries. None of those other free counties gives support to the Arabs’ greatest enemy, Israel.
None of the other free countries has embargoed an Arab country for ten years and contributed to the death of half a million Arab children.
The number of Arabs killed by soldiers and agents of the other free countries of the world when compared to the number killed by American armed forces is almost undetectable.
Yet with all that freedom for the freedom haters to choose from, terrorists attack freedom in the United States.
They must really hate our freedom.
The idea of living in a constitutional republic with his wife and kids, enjoying our natural rights, keeps the inner wood stove burning.