Monday, September 12, 2005

Forced Evacuations

Why do we tolerate the use of these tactics? As I write this, militarized police and national guardsmen are raiding homes - private property - all around the city of New Orleans, without anything resembling a warrant, and forcibly insisting that property owners abandon their respective homes and property. WTF?? Does this really not bother anyone else? The legal process at work here is not exactly clear to me, but I think it goes something like this: GWB declares a "state of emergency" which thereby allows local officials to invoke martial law and suspend certain liberties including those guaranteed by the US Constitution. First of all, by what authority can the President, alone, do such a thing? While the Federal Constitution does provide that the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended if "public safety" requires such action, this specific enumeration is found in Article I among the powers delegated to Congress. Perhaps that clause hopped over into Article II along with his old buddy the "war power??" Otherwise, how in the h - e - double hockeysticks does the President claim to have the authority to unilaterally place a de facto moratorium on the Constitution's protection of you and me?? That is a question I cannot answer; but I intend to look it up.
Setting aside this legal question for the time being, this evacuation issue tends to kick-start my black helipcopter reflex as well. Despite my occassional paranoid tendencies, I don't think I am being wholly irrational here. Afterall, this is pretty fundamental stuff. On what basis can the state eject us from our homes? And why are we so complacent, if not eager, when the state assumes such sweeping and coercive measures against its own citizens? This is the kind of thing that we fought a revolution over - remember? But here we have elites and the media cheering on the jack-booted thugs as they enforce their so-called "mandatory evacuations." The whole thing reeks of the Reichsfuehrer. To what extent will we allow the state to continually strip our autonomy and liberties in the Orwellian-name of public safety? When will we recognize that the pretextual invocation of safety and security is the lifeblood of the ever-expanding state and that tyranny can always be found a short distance behind? In the ever-eloquent prose of Ben Frfanklin, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety..." You said it, man.