This is because the National Defense Authorization Act, yet another bill to provide funds for war and nation-building, has been passed by both houses of Congress. Within this gem of a bill is buried language that mandates that anyone suspected of terrorism be handed over to the military for indefinite detention — and this specifically includes US citizens — at the discretion of the executive branch.
Obama promised to veto the bill; unsurprisingly, he has rescinded his veto threat, because the primary goal of the state, always, is to increase its own power at the expense of civil liberties.
I’m sure this is glorious news to those who only care about liberty when it applies to their right to refrain from purchasing healthcare or their right to put up nativity scenes — those who heartily endorse any and every infringement on the liberties of brown people and accused “bad guys.”
But we should all be horrified, for two very important reasons. The first is that history is replete with examples showing that when you give a government the right to circumvent limitations on its power, it abuses that right. Dictators always receive their dictatorial powers to fight enemies abroad; but they always end up using them to make enemies of their own people.
A second reason this should terrify you is the fluidity with which terrorism is defined and redefined. In the last few years, various government agencies have come up with numerous signs of potential domestic terrorists. The good people at Activist Post have compiled a list of these indicators of potential homegrown terror threats.
The list includes, but is not limited to
1. Being a Tea Party activist
2. Being an Occupy Wall Street activist
3. Having more than seven days of food stored (because suicide bombers are all about food storage)
4. Having missing fingers
5. Buying flashlights or night-vision equipment
6. Paying cash for a hotel
7. Texting privately in public
8. Having Ron Paul bumper stickers and yard signs
9. Believing in conspiracy theories
10. Owning real money (precious metals)
11. Owning guns and ammo
How many of these describe you? I am certainly no terrorist. I believe strongly in the non-aggression principle as well as the golden rule. I’m a Christian, and I try to live my life in accordance with the exhortation of Jesus to “love your enemies, and pray for those that persecute you.” And yet, at least seven of those indicators apply to me. What about you?
And how many who advocate for this kind of legislation to “keep us safe” are now at risk of indefinite detention because they have a few too many guns or a couple of barrels of beans in the garage? I’m not saying that martial law and Solzhenitsyn’s gulags are around the corner, but when Obama signs this bill into law, the framework will be in place.
It may soon be time, in the words of minor internet sensation Antoine Dodson, to “hide your kids, hide your wife,” and maybe hide your silver too.