Good men have to speak up
I recently saw a bumper sticker I liked, "If Congress represents me, then I must be really evil." If evil is defined as policies that unjustly burden, restrict, or harm innocent people and unfairly benefit other persons then, despite all good intentions, many of our governments' laws are evil.
I did not vote for either Barack Obama or John McCain. There seemed no significant difference between them on either domestic or foreign policy issues. Unfortunately, the election was likely going to be won by one of them and between the two, I favored Obama.
I had hope that Obama would intervene less overseas. In the first few months of his presidency, Obama condemned torture and detention without due process, and talked less tough on our overseas ambitions. I conceded to some of my friends who had supported him that Obama was off to a good start.
Soon enough though the rhetoric proved hollow. President Obama's policies are as harmful as his predecessor's were to individual rights and the security of ourselves and the unfortunate communities overseas we harm. He has continued George Bush's policy of detaining prisoners without due process and of sending our military prisoners to other countries to be tortured by them for us. He supports extending the Patriot Act, maintains the Military Commissions Act, and has continued warrantless spying programs. These policies infringe on our rights to due process and to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Obama has continued to war in Iraq and to build large military bases there, guaranteeing our long-term occupation. He has bombed Pakistanis, has escalated the war in Afghanistan, and has worsened the situation with Iran by misinforming the world that Iran is working on a secret nuclear program despite knowing that Iran had already reported the program to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. It now appears we are on the verge of placing more sanctions on Iran's innocent citizens. We are harming innocent people and creating more enemies. That Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize suggests that George Orwell's doublespeak in "1984" is now real, "War is Peace."
Obama has also continued Bush's policy of bailouts with billions of taxpayer dollars given to private organizations, socializing private business losses. The economists at the Ludwig von Mises Institute have done an exceptional job explaining why these "stimulus" policies will inevitably cause further harm to our prosperity. Obama has overseen the printing of trillions in fiat currency, which will impoverish most everyone in the coming years. He has also unilaterally placed unfair tariffs on Chinese tires, initiating a harmful trade war just as our economy is weakest.
Many people still support Obama despite strongly disliking these same policies under the previous president. Count me amongst the disappointed. I've been down this road before. In 2000, I had false hope that Bush would not continue Clinton's nation-building policies and would not explode the scope of government intervention in our lives. I had not voted for Bush or Al Gore that year either.
The executive branch has accumulated so much power over the years that we almost have an elected temporary king. Members of Congress, though still culpable, long ago abandoned their oaths and relinquished their responsibilities.
But, there is hope for real change. Governments derive their power from the consent of the governed. Many of the participants who spawned the now well-known nationwide tea parties largely reject the major political parties, despite the recent efforts of neoconservatives to co-opt the movement.
Many demonstrators disapprove of decades of federal government fiscal irresponsibility and unfair, intrusive policies that have impoverished us. They oppose our foreign military misadventures. They oppose corporate-government collusion, bailouts, special interest subsidies, excessive spending, gross monetary expansions that create the insidious inflation tax, and deficit spending that will leave a crushing debt to future generations.
Like the owner of that bumper sticker, many dislike being fleeced to fund what they consider evil. I prefer not to be a detractor, but it's been rightly proclaimed that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Marc Guttman is an emergency physician and vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of Connecticut. He lives in East Lyme. His Web site is www.whyliberty.com.