When our adversary loses his liberties, it’s called justice. When we lose ours, it’s called dictatorship. – Ammon Henacy
I’ve been advised by people apparently in the know that America officially became a police state this past week, with the passing of President Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Meanwhile, across the waters, friends in Ireland have just denounced in righteous indignation the convening of “secret courts” of the Roman Catholic Church to investigate itself for raping children, and silence in-house stool pigeons in the process.
Well now, that’s all a big surprise.
I guess the outraged internet commentators who tremble and bemoan the repercussions of the NDAA have never heard about that great liberator Abraham Lincoln’s “emergency measure” laws during the U.S. civil war, whereby he shut down opposition newspapers, jailed dissenters without trial or habeas corpus, and ran the country like a one man fief.
And what’s so new about there being one law for us, and another for child-killing priests? Secret church courts? Yeah, I’ve been there.
I often think that the degree of our moral outrage at injustice is directly proportional to the degree of our own ignorance and naivety about the kind of culture we live in, and loyally maintain: one that has been built on and thrives upon the crushing oppression of all sorts of people by both church and state, here at home and abroad.
The only problem these days, it seems, is that such an iron hand is now starting to descend on the lives of certain privileged, bourgeois, dare I say “white” folks: a fact that’s supposed to get us all concerned. I mean, we can’t have our rights violated now, can we?
I’ve seen friends killed by cops, thrown from their homes, blacklisted into suicide and legally robbed of everything by official agents of law and order. Most of these people were dark skinned, or poor, or simply alone. And all during their torture, nobody complained about how their fate marked the commencing of totalitarianism in our midst.
Ah, but those were just isolated individuals, you might reply. These new police state laws affect everybody. Well listen up, dummy: how did you think those laws we now face were able to come about, except by what was happening first to all of my friends, while you all stood by and looked the other way? They were the trial runs, the test cases. And now it’s your turn.
If not poetic justice, you could call it historical inevitability.
I helped make this present sorry mess happen, too, of course. I was only shaken out of some of my own complicity when I experienced the big boot of church tyrants who tried and sentenced me to public execution in a secret ecclesiastical court that no law could touch. The Attorney General for British Columbia even said so, in a letter to me: “The internal disciplinary processes of the United Church are outside the jurisdiction of this department (read: the law)”. I told the world about that particular tyranny, and nobody cared, starting with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and every lawyer in sight.
I don’t carry much of a grudge anymore about all that cruelty, regardless of how it destroyed my life, because it opened my eyes. It put me on a higher and necessary path and purpose. So I counsel all of today’s chicken littles who see the sky crashing down on their little world at the hands of that evil Mr. Obama to realize that Big Brother is actually giving all of you a rare gift, and an opportunity: to know how the rest of us live.
Be that as it may, another advantage of all this unusual honesty by the state in so openly declaring its monstrous nature is that it puts more and more of us in the same boat. Our ranks are swelling with some very pissed off people. Like any naked act of terror, the NDAA and other such assaults is creating a new generation of freedom fighters where once resided mere bubble headed techno serfs. So I thank Obama, really, for his efforts at sharpening the minds and the love of liberty in so many erstwhile complicit Americans.
As for his counterparts in the hierarchy of that even more ancient tyranny called Roman Catholicism, all those pathetic priestly turds are the best thing that’s happened for secular humanism and free thinking since the days of Martin Luther. I hear that some of the Irish are so outraged at these secret church courts that they’re planning on invading their sessions and trashing them, and putting the child-raping priests on trial in common law courts of their own making.
And being Irish, you can bet your brogans they’ll do it, too.
Man, I love tyranny. I love repressive laws. They’re the whip that awakens a slumbering humanity, and forces us to know what matters, and what we must do.
One of the guys that made the American Revolution and its Republic, and whose words would undoubtedly qualify him for arrest and secret trial by the present U.S. government, was good old Thomas Paine. Battling exactly the same tyranny that grips America today, and facing the same odds as we do, Tom Paine exhorted the stumbling and weary veterans at Valley Forge with these words, born of misery and oppression:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly …
An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot. For such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing. I love the man who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. So if there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.
Now is the time, friends. Take strength from the blows, walk not in fear, especially of one another, and stand as one now, in our great company of ancestors who were not those of timid disposition.
Are we not ready?