Skip to comments.Rep. Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk- Monitor thy neighbor
Posted on 07/26/2002 6:28:10 AM PDT by radical4capitalism
Monitor Thy Neighbor
Opposition to the Patriot Act, legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President last year, is growing. Americans are beginning to understand that many precious liberties have been put in jeopardy by the governments rush to enact new laws in the wake of September 11th. Federal law enforcement agencies now have broad authority to conduct secret, warrantless searches of homes; monitor phone and internet activity; access financial records; and undertake large-scale tracking of American citizens through huge databases. Were told this is necessary to fight the unending war on terror, but in truth the federal government has been seeking these powers for years. September 11th simply provided an excuse to accelerate the process and convince all of us to relinquish more and more of our privacy to the federal government.
Now the Justice department wants to extend the new investigative powers to private citizens. It recently unveiled Operation TIPS- Terrorism Information and Prevention System- as part of President Bushs Citizen Corps initiative. The goal is to enlist thousands or even millions of Americans to act as spies for the government, reporting suspicious activity to officials using a handy toll-free hotline. The Justice department especially hopes to enlist mailmen, delivery drivers, plumbers, gas-meter readers, and the like, as they have access to private homes and businesses in their daily work. As usual, the war on terror is offered as justification for this proposal.
This almost might be funny if it were not real. Imagine the rampant abuses possible with a national spy program. Busybodies across the country will clamor to join the effort and act as self-appointed neighborhood vigilantes. Unscrupulous individuals of every stripe will abuse the program by snitching on ex-spouses, personal enemies, and racial groups they dont like. Bickering neighbors will enjoy calling in to report unkempt lawns and barking dogs as sure signs of nefarious activity. I certainly hope the Justice department employs some very patient people to field the flood of useless calls.
If a government-sponsored snitch program sounds pretty bad to you, youre not alone. Some commentators draw parallels between Operation TIPS and the citizen informants of the former East German Stasi secret police. Of course, suggesting the obvious- that citizen spy programs are incompatible with a free society- invites denunciations and sharp reminders that "were at war." Remember, however, that wars have been used throughout modern history to justify rapid expansion of state power at the expense of personal liberty. We cannot remain free if we allow the endless, undeclared war on terror to serve as an excuse for giving up every last vestige of our privacy.
I applaud Congressman Dick Armey for adding a provision to the homeland security bill that would prohibit the Justice department from implementing the TIPS program. His opposition brings needed public attention to this terrible idea. But even if Congress supports him, there is no guarantee another informant proposal will not surface soon thereafter. Congressional oversight of administrative agencies (consider the Treasury department and its renegade IRS) is nonexistent. The Justice department almost certainly will seek another way to implement the program, with or without congressional approval.
Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves what kind of society we hope to leave our children and grandchildren. A civilized and free society would not be discussing, much less seriously debating, any proposal to enlist private citizens to act as federal neighborhood snitches.
Great quote! I remember that. He used it more than once. How fitting. . . .
Really? Hey, reagan_man, I used to agree
with you on a lot of things. Now can you
see how far out in the weeds you are getting
as regards libertarians? Just asking.
That is a bold face lie!
Reagan never professed to being a Libertarian! You've pulled one small portion, out of context from an extensive interview.
I started posting segments from that 1975 Reason Magazine interview with Reagan here on FreeRepublic, long before most folks even knew it existed. I'd never seen anyone else ever post a single word, or remark from it. I'm very familiar with that particular Reagan interview. In fact, after having served on three Reagan campaigns for the Presidency, I'm very familiar with Reagan's positions on all the issues.
In that interview, Reagan was basically talking about his desire for a smaller and less intrusive federal government and how this conservative position he held, was mirrored by some libertarians, in their desire for they called "limited government". Many other Libertarians go far beyond the idea of "limited government". Many Libertarians are actually anti-government anarchists. Reagan wasn't anti-government, but he was pro America, all the way.
As a conservative Republican, Reagan wanted tax reductions and real tax reform, to reduce funding for the bloated federal bureaucracy, that eventually would reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Beyond Reagan's agreement on the issue of the overwhelming need for fiscal responsibility, Reagan never claimed to be a libertarian, nor did he support the libertarian agenda, philosophy and ideology. Never.
Reagan was a moral conservative above all else.
On many specific issues, Ronald Reagan's moral and political conservatism was obvious. Reagan never supported the legalization of drugs, or prostitution in America. Reagan did support a strong military armed forces, which is quite the opposite from what is espoused in the Libertarian Party platform. Reagan was a strong law and order conservative and supported America's criminal justice system. If ever given the opportunity, Libertarians would dismantle that criminal justice system and let criminals out to run wild on society. The Libertarians idea of victimless crimes is a moral outrage against our law abiding and orderly society.
Reagan also was a strong pro-lifer and supported the right to life for the unborn human child. The Libertarian Party platform supports the pro-choice, abortion on demand agenda. Reagan doubled the budget of America's National Drug Control Policy and made the federal governments overall effort against drug abuse a priority in his administration. Libertarians support across the board legalization of illicit drugs, like marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Most American's support interdiction and incarceration as the best ways to control the illicit drug problem in America, while at the same time they oppose decriminalization and legalization of these harmful substances.
Heres a passage form that 1975 Reason magazine article, you seemed to have left out and for good reason.
Now, I can't say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don't each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves.
Reagan also said, that same interview:
Well, third parties have been notoriously unsuccessful; they usually wind up dividing the very people that should be united. And then we elect the wrong kind-the side we're out to defeat wins.
People should never confuse Ronald Reagan's staunch conservatism, with the extreme agenda of the Libertarian Party. Reagan was a strong believer in individualism, as all conservatives are, but he didn't support allowing individuals to walk all over society and he didn't support the libertarian idea of upholding the principles of absolute and unrestricted liberty. That type of attitude and behavior breeds chaos which leads to anarchy. Ronald Reagan never supported chaos and anarchy. In fact, Reagan was a strong supporter of the federal government his whole life and said so on many occasions. Note the following passage from Reagan.
It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work -- work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.
First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981
On the issue of political compromise, something Libertarian's are fundamentally opposed to, Reagan said the following:
"When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn't like it. "Compromise" was a dirty word to them and they wouldn't face the fact that we couldn't get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don't get it all, some said, don't take anything.
"I'd learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: 'I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.'
>I>"If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that's what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it."
Ronald Reagan, from his autobiography, An American Life
Stop trying to deceive people with lies and distortions about the fine conservative record of Ronald Reagan.
Yes. As he presents himself, he is quite obviously a big government loving Rockerfeller Republican. A typical, garden variety statist.
Look, I don't agree with Ron Paul on everything, but how 'bout this famous quote from Reagan:
[T]oday, government is not the solution to our problems. Today, government is the problem.
Now if this isn't anti-government rhetoric...!
I loved President Reagan because he was against Big Government, and I think the Gipper would be glad to have a man like Ron Paul in Congress. Especially if the alternative would be a RINO or a Rat.
The honor is all yours. You're the designated jester for all of FreeRepublic.
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