The freedoms democracy provides are wonderful. The right to protest, the right to demonstrate, legal protections against rampant authority provided under the law, the right to speak your mind, the hope that if you err you can be shown the errors of your ways and helped to reform. Why you even have the right to visit Stephen Conroy's banned sites on the intertubes and berate him for being a prize clown. Yep the blessed wonders of civil liberties.
Here's the thing that's wrong with democracy. There are just too many darn civil liberties. You know, people who protest, people who demonstrate, people who go on street marches, people who speak their mind, people who refuse to be reformed, paedophiles who visit Stephen Conroy's handy list of banned intertube sites.
Yep, we'd function so much better as an oppressive, fascist, reactionary state.
Don't believe me? Just ask that wonderful democrat Janet Albrechtsen, in her latest contribution to moral sanity entitled Detox can't cure jihadist urge to kill.
With US President Barack Obama due to ask Kevin Rudd to commit more Australian troops to Afghanistan, it's time to consider whether there are too many civil liberties.
Not sure what Janet means by civil liberties? Well surely it's about there being too many people in the land who disagree with her? There's too much civil liberties for a start. But you know she's right. All this talk of civil liberties being the distinguishing features of democracy. What a load of malarkey, what a load of tosh. How dare they import this kind of nonsense from the lands above The Faraway Tree, when Dame Slap is ready to punish such illogical thinking with a good spanking:
In the simple land of moral absolutes inhabited by so many progressives and civil libertarians ...
You know, like Christians, who talk about the ten commandments and Christian love, hope and charity and all that guff ...
... just about everything that George W. Bush did in his fight against terrorism was wrong.
Indeedy. Like fighting a war in the wrong country, bungling the war, and handing a powerful recruiting tool gratis to fundie Islamic loons around the world, and maintaining a buddy system with Saudi Arabia, the most potent funder of jihad in the world today.
But of course you've guessed this is just Janet's warm up three rounder, preparatory for a good ten rounds of liberal and Obama bashing- starting with the idea that closing down Guantanamo Bay was somehow seen as a good move, especially as a couple of inmates have turned up again fighting the good fight in sundry places (and might even have been embittered by the prison experience, lordy who'd have thought it).
There's just one fly in this ointment, this bashing of civil libertarians:
Gitmo was not the perfect solution. These terrorists were released under the watch of the Bush administration because it's not easy identifying terrorists.
Out of the mouth of babes.
So who can we blame for things going wrong? Well it's obvious, it's democrats and democracy.
It takes a sweet but rather dim-witted Pollyanna view of the world to suppose that men infused with an ideology to kill infidels and trained to do so need only spend some time in the equivalent of a detox centre to get those dirty jihadist thoughts out of their minds. These guys don't have a drinking or a drug problem. They have a killing problem.
But in a society where we think we can treat every transgression, from swearing to homophobic language, with a stint in rehab, it's no great surprise that we now think terrorists are just miscreants of a slightly nastier kind.
Wow. To be able to move with such facility and natural stupidity from homophobic language to the issue of dealing with terrorists. Funnily enough the detox centre Janet's referring to was in Saudi Arabia. It was Saudi dollars that funded the original Taliban, it was Saudi nationals who made up the bulk of the mad bombers in New York. Guess that's a bit like sending an alcoholic to get reformed in a brewery.
But there doesn't seem to be any way around it. The problem with democracy is that it's well, democratic, and infested by people with a liberal mindset (as opposed to those virtuous democracies infested with communist or fascist mindsets?)
Ho hum. Then it's on to a re-hash of all that liberals have done wrong. Like wanting to use ordinary courts to prosecute crimes that don't happen to be on the books, like worrying about habeas corpus, like banging on about military commissions (like even some of the officers charged with duties involved in the military commissions).
And the worst crime of all? Thinking rendition was a problem. Well you know I actually do think that secret abductions and holing up prisoners in other countries signaled that Bush's America had truly lost its moral compass. And citing its use during the Clinton years as a defence seems to me a little feeble, seeing as how he's also regularly cited as the anti-Christ for lying about a blow job.
You see, I always think of the poor buggers who get caught up in that kind of system with no recourse. And are innocent of anything. And yes there have been some, and will be more in the future. And the whole point of democracy is to prevent the random, incoherent persecution of individuals by authority out of control with its delegated powers. You know, it's all there in the bill of rights, except of course that anywhere apart from America a bill of rights is a very bad thing, since common law protecting the rights of the monarch and the nobility have served us so very well these last thousand years.
The fire bombing of Dresden and Tokyo aside, one thing that always impressed me about the allies in World War II was the way at least in the official stance, war crimes were abhorred, and the enemy was engaged from a higher moral ground position. That way the Americans could charge assorted Japanese criminals after the war with torture and in particular water boarding.
But Janet's triumphant. Obama is going to preserve rendition. Well whoopy do, what a triumph for democracy. And why is she so pleased? Well secretly I think she's really pleased at anything that subverts democracy and woolly thinking liberals. In fact, she sounds just like the fundie raving jihadists she despises.
We must become like them to defeat them, she harrumphs.
There is no perfect, settled place to draw the line between civil liberties and national security. But those who speak in terms of moral absolutes are as dangerous as they are naive.
(Funny, my thoughts exactly about the fundie Christians who infested the Bush administration).
This is not an abstract academic argument about liberal values and national security. It cuts to the core of how we protect ourselves from Islamists who waged war against us long before we noticed. The danger is that a complacent liberalism will endanger our troops and signal to the enemy that we do not have the stomach for war any more.
That's right, bugger off academics, never no mind that Janet was once one herself. At least she was never one of 'them'. And bugger off debate on this matter. Janet's right, and you can all get stuffed. And in case you hadn't noticed, why we've been at war with Islamic fundies since the first Crusades, those noble ventures begun way back in 1095 by Pope Urban 11 - yet it was such a long time before we noticed. At least until George Bush remembered that we were on a crusade against terrorism.
So who will show they have the stomach for war? Current supporters of a review of Afghanistan policy by hate mongers on the right of course are excluded, for being the complacent pacifists they are, the wretches wanting to sue for peace with the Taliban simply because it's another excuse for Kevin bashing. Gutless Liberal liberals.
Oh, there's just a few minor dress code requirements - women will be required to stay at home, dressed head to toe in warrior Christian clothing (nuns to approve the ultimate style), while we think the white of the Ku Klux Klan makes a fetching call to arms (and it scares the heck out of complacent liberals). Poofters aren't allowed of course (oh dear is that homophobic language, better check into a verbal detox centre for errant liberals). And this American idea that women can be allowed on to a battle field, please enough of that already.
What did I just say? All women back in to your homes please and cook up a storm for your warrior husbands. We're on a war footing.
No, it's still not working. We need to go one step further. How about all warrior men to wear beards and strange caps. Yes that's it, we have to dress as Islamic fundies, act just like them, spit on gays and feminists and weak kneed pussy complacent liberals, to show that not only can we fight like them, we can become them in order to defeat them. Use the dark side of the force or something like that.
You see, they don't resort to branch stacking. They just appoint fearless warriors on merit. What's that you say? Janet to become our first fearless warrior woman Amazonian president for life? Our dear leader. Hmmm, not such a bad idea. She'd sort things (especially complacent liberals) out quik stix.
Dearie me, I think I've got this all wrong somehow. Guess I'm just too complacently liberal. I can sense a bout of Roman decadence coming on and we know where that left the mighty Romans.
Beulah, peel me a grape. And remember it's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men.
Oh dear, and there I was thinking that bikies were the chief terrorist threat this week. Roll over bikies, I really have to join Janet's jihad against complacent liberals. Let's see now ... if I happen to stray across some child in the street this week, I'll give him a Chinese burn. And a wedgie. Yeah, that'll sort him out, show him who's really tough.
And then he'll grow up angry and embittered at the random cruelty of life? Good, that's how we like our democracy. Full of bitter, fearful, angry, unhappy people, doing what they're told, and shutting their mouths, enough with all this yabbering ...