Readers of takimag.com, lewrockwell.com, Chuck Baldwin, Ron Paul, and other followers of the libertarian, paleoconservative or anti-neocon Right have surely learned of the lecherous Missouri Information Analysis Center’s February 22, 2009 report for local and national government to work together and be on the look-out for dangerous “militia groups.”
Of course, by “militia groups,” the MIAC elaborated that supporters of Ron Paul and 2008 third party presidential candidates Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin were potential “militia members.” People caught with a Ron Paul bumper sticker on their car were to be regarded as suspected militia members.
Granted, Glenn Beck, who has a certain amount of sympathy for the freedom message of Ron Paul, related an incident where a raucous group of Dr. Paul’s supporters overturned one of Mr. Beck’s buses, creating the image that all of Ron Paul’s supporters were a bunch of deranged anarchists.
Even that incident is divorced from the message of Ron Paul and the others. While some might have engaged in isolated acts of violence, anyone who pays attention to Dr. Paul’s message knows that he does not advocate violence but peace. People engaging in violence are obviously not heeding anything in Dr. Paul’s message, but only saw him as a leader for them to follow, and an excuse for them to take part in an event of monumental stupidity.
Anyone opposing abortion, gun control, illegal immigration, the income tax, or suspected that the sovereignty of the United States is being eroded in favor of some sort of North American Union, were to be considered potential militia members. In other words, holding political opinions that are to the right of the Missouri political establishment are dangerous. Perhaps even more dangerous is the notion that advocates for peace are considered more dangerous to the nation than a government that rushes off to war, wastes tax dollars, and would actively hunt down political opponents who held zero communist or terrorist sympathies.
Limited government hawks like myself were utterly outraged upon learning of this report. Could all of our paranoid fears of our own government be well-founded? Could we really be on the cusp of a totalitarian society that is on the look-out for any and all dissenters? Could this be the reaction we receive for holding the radical idea that our leaders should be required to follow the Constitution?
It sure looked that way. While this report was released regarding Missouri, I live with my wife on the other side of the river in Illinois, another place not exactly personified by benevolent government and virtuous public stewards. And Uncouth Ruminations is a blog that does not hold particularly understanding opinions of the government’s actions. And is some Missouri or Illinois state government or Homeland Security goon watching this blog as we speak?
Unnerving and scary to be sure, but a minor victory was scored recently.
Writing in the Campaign for Liberty blog, Anthony Gregory reported that the Missouri government has “backed down” from its now-infamous militia report.
Enough concerned citizens expressed their contempt for a measure that does not belong in the United States but in a George Orwell dystopia. Enough American patriots voiced enough outcry to their public officials that an utterly gross measure was rolled back. For once, it seems, the government listened to the cries of its people and restored a modicum of their liberty.
This is by no means over. The government will still try to infringe on our liberties, but will only try harder to cover up their activities.
But this is the way progress can be made. Gradually, peacefully, and actively protesting our government’s brazen acts of tyranny. We have unfortunately blown many opportunities (the Patriot Act and the rush to invade Iraq come to mind) to hold our leaders’ accountability and fidelity to the Constitution to the fire, but a victory is a victory.
And almost surely by no coincidence, this weekend in St. Louis, Missouri, Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty is holdings its first annual regional conference (which I will be attending and will provide a summary report later). Included in the weekend’s activities will be ways for liberty-minded activists to try to change the corrupt political system for themselves, instead of vainly hoping that politicians and bureaucrats will change their ways and return the government to its constitutional boundaries.
The retraction of the MIAC report was good, but it really ends nothing. Our government continues to violate our liberties and we must hold them to it.
Freedom is a precious gift. It’s humiliating if a foreign invader forcibly removes our freedom from us, but it is wholly shameful when we willfully relinquish it in the face of our government.
Dissent is not a crime. Sport a Ron Paul bumper sticker. Demand that your leaders obey the Constitution. And support freedom from your government. Do not let this victory be confined to the “Show-Me” State.