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THE BROWN V O L U M E

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ISSUE

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SPECTATOR A U G U S T

2003


Diversity: A Dissent

THE BROWN

SPECTATOR Editor-in-Chief Stephen Beale

Managing Editor Drwvaf Pate)

Executive Editors trie Neuman Alan Silverman

Production

Editor

Joseph Lisska

Contributors Christopher McAuiiffe Andrew W. Huil

The Brown Spectator is a journal of conservative thought and opinion funded through the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and affiliated with the Collegiate Network. Hie Brown Spectator is constituted through the Undergraduate Council of Students of Brown Un iversity. The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of Brown University or the editorial board of The Brown Spectator.

www.isi.org/cn Art b y A n d r e w W , H u l l C o v e r art c o u r t e s y of Brown University

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odern liberals are afflicted with a Pavlovian obsession for diversity. Like free­ dom and democracy for previous generations, diversity excites a religious fervor among its followers. Diversity is especially enchanting because it represents the fusion of the most enduring passions of recent human history —the trinity of lib­ erty, equality, and fraternity Such words, in the observation of one sociologist, "mark the distinctive channels of faith and thought" of an age and possess "sym­ bolic values which exert greater influence upon the nature and direction of men's thinking than the techniques used in the study or laboratory," Diversity exercises a similar power in contemporary American society: in social theory, the idea of diver­ sity emerges as multiculturalism; in its most exalted intellectual form it appears as postmodernism; and in philosophy, diversity calls us to moral relativism. Nowhere is diversity more sacred than in our elite universities, especially at Brown. And it is during Orientation that the University displays its unconditional devotion to the doctrine of diversity. The third official class meeting — titled "Rethinking America: Understanding and Respecting Difference" —epitomizes the attitude. T h e event features historv professor Evelyn Hu-DeHart who exemplifies the diversity ideal in her life and work —she immigrated to the United States from China when she was 12 and in college she studied in Brazil. As a professor her research has extended to the Yaqui Indians of Mexico and Arizona, Chinese immigration to America and the Caribbean, women and minorities in higher education, and the politics of multiculturalism. We do not deny that diversity; and its moral concomitant, tolerance, are necessary components of civil public discourse. Rather, we object to the centrality of diversi­ ty and tolerance in Brown's academic ethos. When these ideals constitute our creed, they fully realize their destructive potential. In the absence of any mediating prin­ ciples, diversity and tolerance, taken to their conclusion, compel us to ascribe equal worth to cultures, norms, and beliefs. Ultimately, this relativism will yield to nihilism, for if everything partakes of the same value then the idea of value ceases to have any meaning. Consequently, tolerance becomes —in the words of G. K. Chesterton —the "virtue of men who no longer believe in anything." It is little wonder then that the University has pursued diversity with such schizo­ phrenia. The expression of racial slurs is a potential cause for expulsion, yet porno­ graphic posters annually published by the L G B T Q remain uncensored. And after September 11, many professors railed against "patriotic correctness," yet when the Brown Daily Herald printed an advertisement which criticized reparations for slav­ ery, these same professors fulminated against "hate speech." At Brown, diversity has just become yet another species of discrimination. Lest we forget, the whole point of a liberal education is to embrace the unity con­ noted by "university." For most of Brown's history, this unity was anchored in the ideas and values that are enshrined in the Western canon. Now decontructionism has set the university adrift, leaving it vulnerable to the "Vandals and Visigoths" of multiculturalism. Yet, as T. S. Eliot wrote, "there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause." Thus, conservatives and tradi­ tional liberals must maintain an eternal vigilance to keep Western civilization alive. Stephen Beale

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The Brown Spectator / August 2003


TABLE OF CONTENTS

FEATURES

A Letter to the Incoming Freshman By Alex S c h u l m a n

A Valedictory

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Safety First By Alan J. Silverman

Post-9/11 Security Measures are Necessary and Justified

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Unpatriotic Acts By Christopher McAuliffe

How the Bush Administration has Endangered Our Freedoms

The Myth of the Wealthiest One Percent B y Eric N e u m a n

The Fundamentals of Supply-side Economics

What Lies Beneath By Matthew W, jackson

South America and the War on Terrorism

The Brown Spectator / August 2003

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FEATURE

Letter to an Incoming Freshman A Valedictory By Alex Schuiman Dear J o h n / J a n e Doe,

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et m e begin by saying that I envy you your c o m i n g four years at Brown, despite anything I might say in the course of this missive. I still find it more than a bit depress­ ing that I will not be returning to cozy College Hill this fall, as had c o m e to seem routine, but rather will find myself a small fish in a far larger pond ( U C L A ) . But I digress. As it was, m y time at Brown was dear, in every sense of that word. I only had three years, because I transferred from N Y U as a sophomore. In that sense, like immigrants w h o tend to see the United States in w a y s its native-born have long ago forgotten, I may have a slightly richer - or at least different - vantage point from which to e x a m i n e the institution that has just welcomed you. First off, I will not mince words: Brown is a wonderful place. Its s o m e t i m e s intense politicization is a doubleedged sword o f which there will be m u c h critique, but it remains that for those interested in the political and social issues of the day, as well as those philosophical ones of all days, opportunity will knock and not cease knocking. M y basic example is simple: At N Y U I wrote for the newspaper, as I would at Brown. N Y U ' s newspaper is better funded than B r o w n ' s , with far more professional facilities. A reporter w h o managed a cover story actually received $10 for it, so the paper was shelling out S40 or so a day to its writers, unimaginable at the Brown Daily Herald. It was all for naught though, as not a single person I met the entire year read it, despite its a m p l e stocks delivered day in, day out, to all relevant dorms and buildings. I admit that not even I read it after the first few weeks, and I wrote for it. Fast forward to mv sophomore year at Brown: I began to work for the post-, the Brown Daily Herald's Friday arts section, and on a lark wrote a guest editorial for the opin­ ions section about one of my pet obsessions, hip-hop and its potential for academic study. Looking back I find it mid­ dling to poor, but w a s shocked in the d a y s after it was pub­ lished to find that people actually cared. C o m m e n t s - some­ times inexplicably virulent ones, which I quickly b e c a m e accustomed to - were splattered beneath it on the Herald website, and I received e-mails from people I did not know to either dissent, praise or inquire further. Nothing at N Y U had prepared m e for this, which was actually pretty mild compared to what would come, when I became a full-time

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(if you can call it that) columnist and wrote about subjects like foreign policy and race relations. Week after week, I was delighted to see that what I wrote was actually arousing debate and discussion, and am not a s h a m e d to say that it is quite an e g o massage to have a stranger c o m e up to you on the main green or in Faunce House to say "Hey, aren't you Alex S c h u i m a n ? I [insert past tense verb] your last column." By junior and senior years, I'm sure many thought 1 had no social life whatsoever, as my n a m e would be plastered all over Heraldsphere and the Daily Jolt, hours having been spent responding to the responses to the responses, etc. And k e e p in mind that I was o n e of many; other columnists, writers and posters could tell the s a m e stories. I had never encountered any such intellec­ tual e n g a g e m e n t at N Y U , and not because the people there are any d u m b e r - it was simply a different culture, more pragmatic, less given to the tendentious and idle spilling of ink, or late-into-the-night bull sessions on everything from AIDS to Israel. And I do not regret a single paragraph or rant, even those put out in anger and lack of thought (or sleep). This is not to say there is no place for you at Brown if you tend to keep out of politics; m a n y people I met were blissfully apolitical, and I see nothing wrong with that. But if you are as addicted to the public debate as I am, and espe­ cially if you love to write as I do, you have stumbled upon a gold mine. Take advantage. The politically engaged and intellectually curious must also prepare themselves for the dark underbelly of all this, though, which is the incessant ideological cancers that have metastasized in the a c a d e m y over the past 30 or so years and show no sign of abating anytime soon (despite my best efforts). S o that is the true core of this letter, friends, for though 1 often would comfort myself with one of m y favorite Biblical aphorisms ("this, too, shall pass..."), the truth is that American education as a whole is in deep, deep trouble, and it is up to us to turn the tides. You will see soon, if you have not already, that the polit­ ical c o m p a s s at Brown, as at most elite schools, leans heavi­ ly toward the left. (Incidentally, what you are currently read­ ing is B r o w n ' s first startup conservative publication since the 1980's.) M a n y are content to cite this as the problem itself and be done with it, but that misses most of the point. It is of course sad that the parameters o f debate are so skewed that what one witnesses more often than anything is an argu-

The Brown Spectator / A u g u s t 2003


ment between the liberals on one hand and the socialists or Greens on the other. But while simply busing in conserva­ tive professors and students would be an improvement on the status quo, it is not the real philosophical reform that is needed across the board. T h e crisis in the University, to put it broadly, is the politicization of life and art on every scale. For example, as an English major (which I would not recommend, bv the way; read literature on your o w n time), 1 have been told in a classroom, by a charming and erudite professor, that in Wordsworth's beautiful p o e m "Tintern Abbey" his sister Dorothy is brought in at the end "only to be oppressed." It was not his theory, but the "exciting" discovery o f a "radical feminist" at Yale w h o s e name I took care to forget. This occurred during my first semester, and I decided then and there that a n y o n e w h o looks at "Tintern Abbey" and sees gender oppression should not be teaching literature., and that only a diseased system would award tenure to those w h o consider such nonsense either exciting or a discovery. And said classroom was not at all an anomaly. W h a t w e have in the a c a d e m y these days is essential­ ly a more dishonest version o f the party-line "socialist realism" i m p o s e d on the arts b y the Soviets in S t a l i n ' s days, except race and g e n d e r issues h a v e replaced the struggle o f the workers at the top o f the agenda. If y o u have already cruised the h u m a n i t i e s quarters of B r o w n ' s Online C o u r s e Registration ( B O C A ) you k n o w the refrain so c o m m o n as to be farcical: "pays specific interest to issues o f gender, race and class." I do n o t deny that any­ one goes into reading a novel or p o e m with their o w n set of preconceptions and a g e n d a s , but it is another thing entirely to have them i m p o s e d upon us by teachers w h o s e salary c o m e s from our tuition. Great literature m a y b e about m a n y things at once, and of course m a y bring up interesting g e n d e r / r a c e / c l a s s issues along the way. But in the end, if you are reading Melville to demonstrate that he was a racist (or that the "social forces" surrounding him were racist) then you are spitting on the m e m o r y o f e v e r y great creator of art and thought, and d e m e a n i n g the m a g i c o f reading itself, that magic that led us to create departments for its study in the first place. It is the tail wagging the dog —in that c o n t e m ­ porary ideological fads are i m p o s e d backwards upon the Canon; it is cutting off the nose to spite the face, in that the legions of historically oppressed are n o w supposedly avenging their o p p r e s s o r by m a k i n g the great b o o k s pay for his crimes. It's n o t only that students going to college expecting training in literature are fed politics, it's that they are fed horrifically bad politics, politics o f alienation and nihilism and ennui, politics of eternal v i c t i m h o o d , politics of bad faith.

stir when it was revealed that on A m h e r s t College's course reading lists, Toni Morrison received more citations than Shakespeare. Morrison is a great writer and 1 a m not deny­ ing she should be studied, but what this points to is not s i m p l e racial politics (the d e p a r t m e n t c h a i r actually responded "I'm not interested in anything male or white," as if she were a caricature from s o m e William Bennett book) but a general collapse of aesthetic, intellectual and even moral standards. At Brown U n i v e r s i t y you could conceiv­ ably graduate a B.A. in English without having read "King Lear." I see little difference, except the obvious practical one, between this and a medical school that does not require its students to have taken elemental human biolo­ gy. The great books are not a hard science, but they are def­ initely a lot more than a parlor g a m e for language "deconstruction" or group therapy for assuaging white liberal guilt. I enjoyed B r o w n ' s leniency with course requirements, as you surely will also, but just because it feels good does­ n't make it right. I favor a general return to a core curricu­ lum in the Western Canon along Columbia and University of Chicago lines.

[I]f you are reading Melville to demonstrate that he was a racist . . . then you are spitting on the memory of every great creator of art and thought, and demeaning the magic of reading itself The politicization of Wordsworth's p o e m is a micro­ cosm of the problems on c a m p u s as a whole. Wordsworth, long dead, may no longer be able to speak for himself, but he also doesn't have to experience the witch hunts in real time. W h e n the "radicalism" of our Yale professor's reading room spills over into the day to day lives o f her students, it is not only great books that are trashed but whole lives. As time passes, you may or may not hear about the var­ ious scandals that have plagued Brown during the days "political correctness" was thrust into the spotlight by the likes o f 60 Minutes and Dateline. I suspect a list from any elite school would yield similar sorrows, but in any case, I'll be brief. A few years before I arrived, a student named Adam Lack was accused o f date rape on charges that were almost surelv trumped up. Sources close to the case have convinced me that any sex that took place was consensual {even if liquored up) and that the girl in question was only m a d e to believe a rape took place days after the fact by her w o m a n peer counselor ( W P C ) . T h e facts o f the night, par

A newspaper study a few years back caused a minor The Brown Spectator / A u g u s t 2003

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for the college course as far as I'm concerned, are less the point than what occurred after the accusation, which was a violation o f L a c k ' s due process at every turn, sanctioned at every level of the University bureaucracy. Lack recently received settlement m o n e y from Brown, but it does not c h a n g e the fact that he was driven out of college and had his life, essentially, torn apart for no reason.

this ridiculous attempt at extortion, a whole day's run of newspapers w a s stolen, and replaced with a sheet of paper promising the s a m e would happen every day until the d e m a n d s were met - ideological racketeering, 1 called i t They did not get another day's haul (or their money, thank G o d ) but the point was clear: free speech meant nothing if racial offense was involved.

T h e next year, a black student of questionable stability, Ebony Thompson, was involved in an altercation at her dorm with three white athletes; she accused them o f phys­ ical aggression and racial slurs. Again, the disputed events of the case are not as important as the aftermath, in which a n g r y crowds marched on the main green demanding that the athletes be summarily expelled, long before the facts had even been explored by any sort o f impartial body. Simply the accusation is enough, it seems, as long as blackwhite or male-female tension (better yet both) is involved.

It got worse. S o m e o n e had happened to walk by the distribution point at Faunce House while coalition troops were pilfering our product, and he took a picture in which several of the thieves were identifiable. Now, any cursory reading of B r o w n ' s tenets of c o m m u n i t y behavior cannot indicate anything but that a gross crime against the values of the University had been c o m m i t t e d , and that suspension or expulsion was in order for those involved. But the stu­ dents were not punished at all; they were coddled by the University at every turn, and in the acrimonious debate that followed, it was always clear that the only crime whose punishment was to be discussed was the Herald's for its publishing the ad, or Mr. Horowitz's for c o m p o s i n g it in the first place. T h e disgusting apogee was a "faculty forum" at which six professors gathered around a table and each said virtually the s a m e thing - that the text was racist and beyond the pale, and the Herald wrong to print it. O n e pro­ fessor even referred to our then editor-in-chief as an "opportunist" in front of the entire student body, slander if 1 ever heard it. The administration promised a debate, but gave us a one-sided rally — reporters were not allowed inside, no pro-Herald viewpoint was provided, and anyone who stood up to dissent was routinely shouted down by black students in attendance. I understood that night how Stalinism worked. D o not ever complacently think "it could not happen here." It will b e your work to fight for true intel­ lectual freedom and real justice, in place of racial and sexu­ al gamesmanship.

Diversity is a pleasantly disingenuous way of saying that minorities do not attend college like the rest of us do: we may be here based on measurable qualifications in order to fulfill our professional or intellectual goals, but they are here to teach us about life out­ side our manicured suburban lawns. T h e clincher for m e c a m e the spring of my first year, when I had already written for the paper a while. T h e Herald, on standard freedom of expression grounds, pub­ lished a paid full-page advertisement from conservative c o m m e n t a t o r David Horowitz arguing against the slavery reparations m o v e m e n t . I had read the exact s a m e piece in the e-journal Salon the previous summer, and found it cogent and eminently reasonable. S o m e of its points were tendentious, but most were actually strikingly obvious, and would not be considered beyond the pale, I suspect, by any sampling of average Americans outside the a c a d e m y black, white or whatever. T h e reaction was, quite literally, insane. A "Coalition of Concerned Students" was immediately drawn up from the membership of all the usual suspects (the Third World Center, the International Socialists, etc... get used to those names) and they stormed the offices of the newspaper, demanding that the money paid by Horowitz be i m m e d i ­ ately given over to them (as reparations, I suppose) and that a racial sensitivity expert b e dispatched to look over the Herald's work from then on. W h e n the editors refused

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There have been other, more minor incidents, but the Horowitz affair crystallizes pretty well the essence of what you are up against. Race is not necessarily the crux, but at Brown I c a m e to believe that it is our most painful and important thorn. T h e sexuality crusades are largely on the wane. Though academic feminism remains a pox on the humanities, it is fighting a rearguard battle, as much of the more exciting work in neurobiology and sex difference is n o w actually being done by women, who have bravely weathered the storm of accusations that all such stuff is a chauvinist plot. When Camille Paglia first c a m e to Brown in the early 1990's, she was protested and nearly physical­ ly assaulted; I think if she returned today not only I but many female friends of every political stripe would be there to w e l c o m e and guard her, for m y money the most brilliant intellectual alive. S o there is cause for hope - these things are m u c h easier to call out as bullshit (if you'll par-

T h e Brown Spectator / August 2003


don my French) than they were, say, when Dinesh D ' S o u z a wrote Illiberal Education. More and more students of all col­ ors are rejecting the canards of the politically correct c o m ­ missars. But we have a long w a y to go to dismantle the institutional vices that propagate the poison. T h o u g h it is nearly a forbidden statement a m o n g the smart set in our universities, affirmative action has creat­ ed m a n y o f these problems. Naturally, it is a chicken-egg situation, as A A c a m e out o f the general ideology of the 1960's that h a s mutated into such a grotesque m o n s t e r in the m o d e r n academy. But, pointing to specific programs, there is n o t h i n g as p e r n i c i o u s in h i g h e r e d u c a t i o n . Originally m e a n t as an understandable stopgap to speed up the integration o f blacks into the college system after the d e m i s e of segregation, it has m o r p h e d into a virus that feeds on the very problems required to k e e p it alive. It is a crutch that cripples minorities from the m o m e n t they fill out their first college application, and it is inarguable (though taboo, I warn you) that it s o w s the seeds of racial tension on c a m p u s . AA has brought generations of under-qualified blacks, and later Hispanics, into elite schools where they then become s y m b o l s of oppression and racism, as such are the excuses for their being let in under the bar in the first place. This allowed for the setting up of a vast bureaucratic c o m ­ plex aimed at, a m o n g other things, nurturing the confusion AA created: sensitivity training seminars, special minority counselors, segregated dorms, orientations and fraternities and, of course, the interminable harping on racial issues in every facet o f humanities coursework. Non-black students began to ask why blacks with professional parents, w h o grew up in their s a m e neighborhoods and went to their same schools, got such an obvious advantage. In response, we heard of "structural racism," a sort o f invisible ether that permeates all American society; we breathe it into our bloodstreams like oxygen. It is still almost unutterable that the average young black person in America ca. 2003 has never experienced meaningful racism or any real institu­ tional obstacle to success, but 1 suspect most of us believe it, to some extent, deep down. T h e chaos o f A A h a s come to remind me o f Solzhenitsyn's famous challenge to the Soviet establishment: these things we all know, but do not talk about. Well, we need to talk about it, especially in light of the Supreme Court's disastrous decision this past summer. For example, when the Horowitz affair blew up, an A f r i c a n a / P h i l o s o p h y professor n a m e d L e w i s G o r d o n made the claim that black students were calling his office to tell them that they couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't walk outside, etc. If an outsider had walked in at that point, he'd have to a s s u m e that bricks had been thrown through windows and crosses burned on lawns - w h o would believe it was all from an ad in a newspaper?! It was all the

more unbelievable to me as 1 had found Horowitz's tract not even slightly racist; however, even if the ad had been every horrible thing its detractors claimed, should that really drive basic bodily functions awry for someone prac­ tically an adult? I have no problem believing that these stu­ dents have been infanrilized by an evil system. It is only a few steps from "You don't need the same SAT's or GPA as your peers to go to school here" to "A perceived printed insult gives you a unique right to break the law and gener­ ally go bananas." A generation after implementation it was already patently clear that A A w a s not doing what it had promised. Black and Hispanic m e a n test scores climbed up, pre­ dictably in line with the socioeconomic changes wrought after segregation, but soon stagnated at about one standard statistical variation b e l o w whites and Asians. B y the 1980's, southeast Asian immigrants growing up in dire poverty, often having arrived with no k n o w l e d g e of English, were regularly outperforming the minorities granted back-door entry, and soon said Asians - clearly no scions of wealth and power - were actually being crowded out of schools with A A regimes. So the new excuse b e c a m e "diversity," a sidelong w a y of admitting that dismantling race prefer­ ences would cause the number of blacks and Hispanics in elite institutions to drop considerably, as was said even in the stridently pro-AA tome "The Shape of the River" by William B o w e n and Derek Bok. T h e "diversity" banner has twisted the debate further out o f shape, as one is now accused of having bigoted ulterior motives - keeping blacks out - if one advocates colorblind admissions. Obviously, a drop-off in minority admissions w o u l d not be a happy event. B u t the tyranny of the "diversity" excuse has to stop. You must shout this from the rooftops: diversity is not a good in and of itself, and it is especially not a good w h e n only seen in terms o f skin pigmentation (and as such, only applying to certain favored darker-skinned ethnicities). A true d i v e r s i t y m e a n i n g diversity o f view­ point and life e x p e r i e n c e not necessarily tied to race, could be accounted for - imperfectly, but what in college a d m i s s i o n s is not? - using the essay and short a n s w e r por­ tions of the application. C h e c k i n g a box must not suffice as evidence, especially in a c h a n g i n g America where intermarriage is making the categories, thankfully, harder and harder to pin d o w n . Diversity is a pleasantly disingenuous w a y o f saying that minorities do not attend college like the rest of us do:

Conservative? Liberal? Questioning?

Write for the Spectator,

The B r o w n Spectator / August 2003

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we may be here based on measurable qualifications in order to fulfill our professional or intellectual goals, but they are here to teach us about life outside our manicured suburban lawns. It's all horribly insulting, to both groups, and this turgid worldview, emanating the worst of liberal tokenism, needs to b e swept aside. Conservatives like Ward Connerly have led the fight to dismantle race prefer­ ences, but the truly important step is convincing liberals to argue that A A is not a progressive idea, that it is in fact pro­ foundly reactionary and even s o m e w h a t racist, in its patronizing insistence that certain peoples cannot c o m p e t e on an equal footing of their own natural talents. A good example o f h o w AA fostered an entire griev­ ance industry through its o w n internal contradictions can be found at Brown, and you may have already crossed its path. If one is a member o f a box-check minority, (s)he is typically invited to a special orientation called the Third World Training Program (TWTP). "Third World," in this nomenclature, does not refer to the term's current geopo­ litical meaning, but rather to theorist Franz Fanon's refer­ ence to a "third way" in his classic tract The Wretched of the Earth, "third" indicating rejection o f both the capitalist Western alliance and c o m m u n i s t Eastern Bloc models, and thus covering Latin American, Caribbean, African, Arab and Asian peoples. Fanon's "wretched of the world unite" revision of Marx never made much sense (look only to the mutual hatred exchanged between communist Vietnam, C a m b o d i a and China immediately after the American departure), and those contradictions have followed him from Saigon to Providence. There have never been any shortage of whites at Brown who claim to resent their non-inclusion in TWTP, but last fall, when I threw m y hat in the ring, I took a dif­ ferent tactic, pointing out that there is not even a remotelv foundational logic to T W T P ' s philosophy, whether or not its participants happen to enjoy it. There is no intrinsic commonality between Asians, Arabs, blacks and Hispanics that sets them all similarly apart from whites in a 21st cen­ tury United States, and no reason to pretend that one still exists (if it ever did) besides the obviously ideological one of creating an ethnic divide among Brown students - soli­ darity on the one side, resentment on the other - before freshman year even starts. For example, anyone remotely attuned to American cultural trends during my generation k n o w s that, if anything, Asians and blacks have probably had more tensions with each other than either has had with whites. It is also more than a bit ironic that, say, an Indian Hindu and Pakistani Muslim can be told they are brothers in the same vague struggle here on American shores, as it is only on said shores that they are free from the vicious hatreds that envelop their brethren overseas. When I wrote this, however, I did not even k n o w 8

T W T P ' s true origins. I later learned, at lunch with an icon­ oclastic professor dependably beating his boats against the PC current, that the prototype for T W T P w a s a remedial s u m m e r program set up for blacks after implementation o f A A dictates. Blacks admitted to Brown in the w a k e of race preferences had often needed basic emergency training in high school math and elementary writing skills - obvious­ ly a distressing and embarrassing fact anywhere, but galling in particular at an Ivy League institution that prides itself on selectivity and that undoubtedly turns d o w n valedictorians with every year's pool. Whether such a program outlived its usefulness (my sincere hope) or simply b e c a m e too uncomfortable for lib­ eral administrators to continue I do not know. Either way, it was not dissolved but quietly transferred to the ideo­ logues at the Third World Center, w h o gave us the more psychologically palpable notion that ethnic minorities needed extra emotional, and not educational, preparation for B r o w n ' s libraries and lawns. Thus those w h o depend on the racial grievance industry for their livelihood were able to paper over the disconnect that A A perpetuates between Fanon's supposedly wretched. The fact that poor Asians outperform middle class blacks, on average, by every standardized measure, but do not reap any hand­ outs, need not be discussed if a bureaucracy of identity politicians can successfully brainwash each and every nonwhite group into believing that their beloved ethereal "structural racism" has stained them all with the same broad brush. Indeed, I heard from more than a few stu­ dents o f all races w h o attended T W T P and were under­ standably disgusted, that when they politely told their commissars that they could not recall ever feeling that they had been the victims of racism, they were angrily informed that of course they had, they just hadn't realized it. Is it a stretch to surmise that perhaps this makes for the student who will, a few years later, claim to be physically disabled by a n e w s p a p e r advertisement? This is the tvpe of institutional hypocrisy you will find yourselves up against, black or white, male or female. It is particularly important to our c o m m o n academic future that the allegedly crippled museum-piece groups fervently reject the condescending and false attention forced upon them by the administration and professorate and that they declare loudly and in no uncertain terms that they are stu­ dents like anyone else - not mice in a social experiment, not means of assuaging the guilt o f confused white liberals, not symbols of injustice to be paraded around as Park Avenue socialites once paraded around the Black Panthers as a fundraising tool for leftist causes. It is time for blacks to turn a w a y from calling anti-AA voices secret Jesse Helms and Strom T h u r m o n d s (even if that might be true in some cases) and to start c h a l l e n g i n g the i n h e r e n t l y racist

T h e Brown Spectator / August 2003


assumptions behind the white liberal views that created and now nurture A A long past its point of usefulness. Though dismantling AA will onlv be one step, I believe it will lead to parity in minority achievement within several generations, and an American c a m p u s far less Balkanized and racially obsessed than what obtains todav. Your task will not be an easy one. Since the 1960's, American education has been handed over at all levels to mushy psychobabble and bargain-bin liberal ideology. Basic corpuses of learning, the core to any truly educated individual, have been scoffed at and devalued while per­ sonal emotions and "self-esteem" have been elevated to the level of demigod. O u r public schools have nursed genera­ tions of Americans w h o have little in the way of deep liter­ ary, cultural or historical understanding. This not just unfortunate; it is tragic. At Brown specifically, where we still generally reap the cream of the crop, our problems are not quite the same; nevertheless, there are links. It is the same mindset nursing a child's feelings while shrugging off whether he ever learns the basic skills that also takes apart the Western Canon, our most valuable intellectual asset, in the n a m e of modern theoretical fads —whether feminism, racial griev­ ance, psychoanalysis, Marxism or, particularly worthless, insipid French-import post-structuralism. This same mind­ set rejects the central Enlightenment humanist value that true liberty and tolerance require that all be treated the same and not a single idea be unutterable, instead claiming to see said value as a mere veil for r a c i a l / c o l o n i a l / i m p e r i ­ a l / s e x u a l (whatever) exploitation. But there is a conflict of interest intrinsic there, as billions of dollars in tenure track appointments, book sales, and e n d o w m e n t s are on the line, not to mention the entrenched teachers union and school board apparatus at the local level. A return to classical lib­ eral ideals, berthed as they might have been a m o n g con­ tradictions like the slave trade or the British Raj or the oppression of w o m e n , will be in the interest of all. A final e x h o r t a t i o n — e s c h e w d o g m a . B e w a r e o f e n t h u s i a s m s - yours and others'. S t u d y both sides of any question, no matter h o w cut-and-dried it m a y seem. Read y o u r teachers' published work; if it seems to you s o m e ­ one cannot write a coherent or meaningful paragraph, then you are probably right, and should m o v e on. D o not take classes where theories of art seem more valued than the art itself, where m a n ' s vast and a w e s o m e tapestry o f creativity is put to the sword of transient philosophical trends. Be skeptical of those w h o believe the worst about their o w n societv while ignoring or even excusing the evils of others. D o not be c o n n e d by the hucksters w h o trade in grievance ideology o f any sort, whether they are n a m i n g you predator or prey. Reject the canard that eth­ nicity is identity, as that tends to b e c o m e self-fulfilling

prophecy. Reject atomization — the division of naturally interconnected humanities fields into insular fiefdoms touting illusory "expertise." Build bridges b e t w e e n the disciplines, both within the humanities and b e t w e e n them and the sciences. Reconstruct, do not deconstruct. Further Reading (Note: the following will probably seem one-sided. That is because these are books that I h a v e rarely, if ever, seen cited in a college course-list. I do not m e a n to necessarily imply that writers like C o r n e l West, Edward Said and Judith Butler are not worth y o u r time, only that they are already represent­ ed - indeed, unavoidable - in the natural course of a h u m a n i ­ ties education at Brown.) Allan Bloom, T h e Closing of the American M i n d Harold B l o o m , T h e Western C a n o n S t e p h e n L. Carter, Reflections o f an Affirmative Action Baby Dinesh D ' S o u z a , Illiberal Education: T h e Politics o f Race and Sex on C a m p u s Dinesh D ' S o u z a , T h e End o f Racism: Principles For a Multiracial Society Dinesh D ' S o u z a , Letters to a Young Conservative Todd Citlin, Letters to a Y o u n g Activist Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian D a v i d Horowitz, T h e Politics of Bad Faith M y r o n M a g n e t , T h e Dream and the Nightmare: T h e Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass J o h n McWhorler, Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America John McWhorter, Authentically Black: Essays for the N e w Silent Majority Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae Camille Paglia, S e x , Art a n d American Culture (esp. essay "Junk B o n d s a n d Corporate Raiders: A c a d e m e in the H o u r o f the Wolf) Camille Paglia, V a m p s a n d Tramps (esp. essay "No Law in the Arena: A Pagan T h e o r y of Sexuality) T h o m a s Sowell, Controversial Essays T h o m a s Sowell, Inside A m e r i c a n Education Shelby Steele, T h e Content of our Characters: A N e w Vision of Race in America Shelbv Steele, A Dream Deferred: T h e Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom, America in Black a n d W h i t e

Enjoy y o u r four years, but stay vigilant, regardless o f the personal alienation that m a y b e involved in speaking out against conventional w i s d o m . Your o p p o n e n t s h a v e p o w ­ erful tools: no one likes b e i n g called a racist or an a p o l o ­ gist for racism, a sexist or closet rapist, an imperial exploiter, or whatever h a v e you. Basic social viability, counted in friendships and general quality o f life, is on the line. It is truly a n e w M c C a r t h y i s m - notice, though, h o w w e n o w r e m e m b e r McCarthy. W h a t is at stake is more important, ultimately, than any o n e student's psy­ chic comfort. W h a t is at s t a k e is the A m e r i c a n m i n d itself.

The Brown Spectator / A u g u s t 2003

9


FEATURE

Safety First Post-9/11 Security Measures are Necessary and Justified By Alan J. Silverman The people's good is the highest — Marcus Tullius Cicero

law.

By general law life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. — Abraham Lincoln When it comes to a decision by the head of the state upon a mat­ ter involving its life, the ordinary rights of individuals must yield to what he deems the necessities of the moment. — Oliver Wendell H o l m e s Jr.

L

iberty cannot exist without order to secure it. For all practical purposes, a man's freedom to patronize the local ice c r e a m parlor will b e meaningless w h e n crime is so rampant as to imperil everyone w h o dares step outside. But an excess of order constrains liberty, making life safer but less desirable. G o v e r n m e n t video cameras and miniature m i c r o p h o n e s would not be w e l c o m e addi­ tions to citizens' h o m e s , and for every person to submit thrice daily to strip-searches would make c o m m o n crime lose half its grossness. Were America faced with such extremes, she would have to ask herself w h e t h e r life, of itself, has no value absent the freedom to live without con­ straint. A s matters n o w stand, however, there is no such dilemma. Notwithstanding the complaints o f civil libertar­ ians, our present g o v e r n m e n t has not exceeded the bounds of reasonable wartime security. T h e U S A PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America Act by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) was signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 26, 2001, to address the deficiencies in U.S. intelligence that m a d e 9 / 1 1 possible. T h e obvious solution was to m a k e the nation's intelligence program more efficient. For that purpose, write Jonathan K r i m and Robert O ' H a r r o w Jr. in the Washington Post, the act "gives the government a freer hand to conduct searches, detain or deport suspects, eavesdrop on Internet communication, m o n i t o r financial t r a n s a c t i o n s a n d obtain e l e c t r o n i c records of individuals. At the same time, it reduces the need for subpoenas, court orders or other legal checks to e n a b l e law e n f o r c e m e n t to m o v e m o r e quickly." T h e 10

Federal Bureau of Investigation can n o w request that employers, credit bureaus, banks, libraries, and Internet service providers furnish personal information on e m p l o y ­ ees and clients suspected o f working with terrorists. It can also monitor online c o m m u n i c a t i o n s w h e n people "tres­ pass" on networks (using them without authorization), with the help of a n e w e-mail wiretap program called Carnivore. In addition, the PATRIOT Act does away with a host of bizarre regulations that serve no discernible purpose and hamper law enforcement. Prior to the passage of this act, a bureaucratic wall of separation at the FBI prohibited two agents working in the same office from speaking to each other about an al-Qaeda investigation if one of them were a criminal investigator and the other an intelligence investi­ gator. This bureaucratic insanity prevented FBI agents in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from searching the c o m p u t e r o f "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui for months before 9 / 1 1 . A search would have given connections to the Hamburg, G e r m a n y terrorist cell that planned the terrorist attacks, and to t w o of the 9 / 1 1 hijackers specifically. T h e PATRIOT Act tore d o w n that wall, and now allows federal agencies to share information within and a m o n g them­ selves. It also e m p o w e r s the FBI to track cellular p h o n e calls across state lines, provided that it has been granted a valid p h o n e tap in at least o n e state. T h e dexterity with which modern terrorists have used A m e r i c a ' s technology against h e r makes it all the more important for security laws to reflect twenty-first-century realities —a purpose well served by the act. In brief, this legislation takes the War on Terror seri­ ously. But the Left cries foul, citing an unprecedented and unnecessary breach o f civil liberties. Emily Whitfield, a national spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union, h a s said, "The Bush Administration has presented Americans with a false dichotomy that we m u s t c h o o s e b e t w e e n being safe or free," That assertion is 180 degrees wrong. At no point will a significant fraction of the coun­ try's population be under suspicion o f terrorist activities. T h e necessary resources for intelligence agencies to moni­ tor every person's private life a la O r w e l l ' s 1984 quite sim­ ply will never exist. A n d h o w e v e r well-funded those agen­ cies might be, investigators sworn to protect A m e r i c a n s

T h e B r o w n Spectator / August 2003


will

not

waste

their

time

scrutinizing

people

whom

they

more important to hunt them down,

consider innocuous, since doing so would fritter away

and

opportunities to track actual terrorists. T h e last thing that

restrict certain liberties in the course

investigators need is to be reminded to do their jobs.

of the hunt. A n o t h e r factor that sep­

Finally, o n e c a n n o t o v e r e m p h a s i z e that virtually

any

arates the present cases from crimi­

search or seizure by federal agents still requires authoriza­

nal cases is that here, the chance o f

tion from a federal district court judge. Investigators are

detaining innocents is m u c h small­

not permitted to harass civilians for their personal amuse­

er. Nearly all of those captured and

ment, nor, generally, will they.

detained were criminals to begin

T h e Detentions

with; because they were illegal Courtesv of the aliens, their presence in the United

hence

more

permissible

to

Office Attorney General

States was a c r i m e unto itself. Exacerbating the delays w a s Opponents, in response to these points, call attention to

the

the mass detentions of 2001 and 2002. T h e U.S. Department

Naturalization Service to deport most aliens who c o m m i t ­

of Justice rounded up s o m e 7 6 2 immigrants, almost all o f

ted crimes or overstayed their visas, thus creating a glut of

them illegal, in the w a k e of the terrorist attacks and failed

cases that should have been resolved years ago and that

to deal speedily with them. That failure is nowhere near as

the authorities eventually had to probe.

pronounced as the major media have told their readership. The Los Angeles

Times

editorialized that federal agents

decades-long

refusal

by

the

Immigration

and

Federal investigators have no great desire to prolong the analysis of any particular case. W h e n e v e r they perform

"held most [of the detainees] for months without charges,"

an investigation that turns up no leads, a terrorist moves

citing a report published by the Office of the Inspector

closer to his goal with a smaller c h a n c e of being caught. As

General of the Justice Department. But that report claims

aforesaid, the n u m b e r o f cases will never comprise a major s e g m e n t o f the U.S. population, but that n u m b e r will

Nearly all of those captured and detained were criminals to begin with; because they were illegal aliens, their presence in the United States was a crime unto itself.

always be too high. Even if the FBI were investigating only one-hundredth of one percent of the c o u n t r y ' s population, that w o u l d a m o u n t to nearly 30,000 cases. Investigators must also bear in mind that anything less than a thorough examination of a case increases the likelihood of missing an opportunity to prevent a terrorist attack. T h e authori­ ties are therefore faced with a nightmarish dilemma, and Americans would be wise to leave them to resolve it by

that agents notified 7 3 8 o f the detainees of their charges

themselves, i.e., without

the intervention of lawsuits.

within a month. Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin

Imperfect though their j u d g m e n t s m a y be, no one is better

writes that in the 24 other cases, the selfsame report listed

equipped to m a k e those j u d g m e n t s than these agents —not

"numerous legitimate reasons for delay, such as logistical

the courts, most o f w h o s e m e m b e r s have never performed

disruptions in N e w York City after Sept. 11, including elec­

investigations, and definitely not litigators, w h o s e task is

trical outages, office s h u t d o w n s and mail service cancella­

to serve their clients' welfare, not their country's.

tion that s l o w e d delivery of charging documents." And not

On this subject, Attorney General J o h n D. Ashcroft has been accused of holding illegal i m m i g r a n t s responsible for other p e o p l e ' s crimes, diverting his attention from the real threat to national security. T h e a n s w e r is that it would be impractical and politically infeasible to detain everybody in America, or to expel all Muslims. To justify tracking or detaining individuals, the g o v e r n m e n t needs evidence of suspicious {such as illegal) behavior. Further, there is hard evidence that strict enforcement of immigration rules would help thwart terrorist attacks. Three of the 9 / 1 1 hijackers had o v e r s t a y e d their visas but were never deported: N a w a f al-Hazmi, S a t a m al-Suqami, and Hani Hanjour. 9/11 mastermind Mohammed Atta and fellow

a single allegation by a detainee of verbal or physical abuse resulted in a criminal charge against an agent, Malkin adds —hardly the mark of a civil liberties emer­ gency. Moreover, delays in charging the detainees would be a reason to credit, not to criticize, the Justice Department. G o v e r n m e n t investigators are all well-acquainted with the tension between speed and accuracy. As this is a ubiqui­ tous problem

in garden-variety criminal investigations

(indeed, in all matters of life), o n e could not but expect it to appear in terrorist investigations. Yet terrorists are far more dangerous than c o m m o n criminals. This m a k e s it

The B r o w n Spectator / August 2003

n


hijacker M a r w a n al-Shehhi both failed to maintain their legal visitor status in the United States. M a h m u d and M o h a m m e d Abouhalima, two of the terrorists behind the 1993 bombing o f the World Trade Center, were illegal aliens w h o had received amnesty from our government. H a s h e m M o h a m e d Hadayet overstayed his visa for five years before shooting two people to death at Los Angeles International Airport on J u l y 4, 2002. Millennium b o m b i n g conspirators Abdelghani Meskini, A h m e d Ressam, and Abdel Hakim Tizegha entered the United States illegally. So did N e w York s u b w a y bombing conspirators Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer and Lafi Khalil. Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the Washington, D.C., serial snipers, entered the United States illegally, was arrested by Border Patrol officers, and was released without bond by an immigration court, in a decision directly repugnant to immigration law. So illegal immigrants are not scapegoats. They are either terrorists themselves or h u m a n shields for them, since it is impossi­ ble to k n o w in advance of investigations w h o is or is not a security risk —thus forcing our intelligence agents to waste their time by investigating every suspicious case that they find. Liberals have also cited the 1,073 civil rights com­ plaints filed against the Justice Department between Dec. 16, 2002, and J u n e 1 5 , 2003. But the Office o f the Inspector General found a paltry 34 "credible Patriot Act violations on their face." That expression does not mean that these 34 cases involve probable and real abuses of civil rights, but that they meet the legal requirements merely to b e consid­ ered, according to Heather M a c Donald of the Manhattan Institute. As of this writing, the Office of the Inspector General has opened investigations into only six c o m ­ plaints. It has found two complaints to have even a m o d ­ icum o f substantiating evidence, and neither alleges phys­ ical abuse. N o r do these complaints —or any of the other 32—involve the powers established by the PATRIOT Act. In one case, a prison officer admitted that he had ordered an inmate to "remove his shirt so that the officer could use it to shine his shoes." In the other case, a prison doctor allegedly said, "If I was in charge, 1 would execute every last one of you . . . because o f the crimes you all did," Mac Donald writes. T h e verbal abuse in each case occurred dur­ ing the performance of prison duties unrelated to the Act. T h e strong weight of evidence shows that a good m a n y o f the 34 other complaints are utterly without merit. O n e o f these concerned an immigration official who allegedly "rudely" asked a detainee if the latter "wanted to kill Christians and Jews," the Associated Press reports. In light of the rhetoric put forth by Islamists, the question was certainly within reason. Failure to be sensitive is not

12

an abuse o f power, and in the course o f a terrorist investi­ gation, it will often be necessary. Another complaint, filed by a citizen of Lebanese extraction, maintains that federal agents broke into his h o m e to look for an AK-47 assault rifle. It appears that the agents lacked the psychic capacity to determine, in advance o f the raid that the information on which they acted was false. Let grievances pile up over errors such as this, and see what effect that will have on agents' willingness to follow and act on any leads that do not guarantee their o w n accuracy. T h e cost, in foregone raids that would have borne fruit, will by far exceed the gain in liberty Here we have cases, not of the government wrecking individuals' lives, but o f the individuals' being insulted or inconvenienced. Obviously, this is insufficient to validate any backlash against or pressure upon government agents, whose job is difficult enough. A "chilling effect" on civil liberties is n o w h e r e near as destructive as the same effect on law enforcement. F r e e d o m from o n e a g g r a v a t i n g encounter with the law is not a sine qua non for an enjoy­ able life, but safety m o s t certainly is. Lest the reader respond that the Fourth A m e n d m e n t rejects that marshal­ ing o f values, it must be added that "[t]he right of the peo­ ple to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," does not entail that investigators never m a k e mistakes in this area. It is often perfectly reasonable for agents, w h o must act on limited information, to search or seize one who turns out to be harmless. T h e reasonableness of an agent's decision to search or seize depends on the facts available to him at the time that he m a d e his decision, not on the out­ c o m e thereof. This same principle underlies the require­ ment that "probable cause" precede the issuance of war­ rants. Cause is often "probable" without being correct. In other words, law enforcement does not act unconstitution­ ally every time it errs. A S u r v e i l l a n c e State? If the Fourth or any other Amendment were more restric­ tive o f law e n f o r c e m e n t , then it w o u l d r e n d e r the Constitution a straitjacket and would not deserve o u r def­ erence. Unfortunately much of the population h a s c o m e to fetishize its privacy and to dread any innovation that makes government intelligence more efficient. Particularly disturbing to such people are the provisions of the PATRI­ O T Act that allow the government to monitor online c o m ­ munications and to call on organizations to supply per­ sonal information on employees and clients. T h e United States is a splendid target for terrorists, with a c o m p l e x

T h e B r o w n Spectator / August 2003


web of public and private services —loans, welfare pro­ grams, b a n k i n g s e r v i c e s , o n l i n e m e r c h a n t s , c e l l u l a r phones, libraries and Web sites filled with information about vulnerable nuclear power plants and recipes for h o m e m a d e b o m b s —that anyone can turn against the pub­ lic. S o when an individual c o m m i t s an act that arouses suspicion of terror ties, investigators should track his use of these services. If the authorities learned that a 30-yearold male Saudi immigrant was illegally using an Internet service provider, and that he had donated money to "char­ ities" that sponsor terrorism, they would be remiss not to learn w h e t h e r h e were a p p l y i n g to flight school or researching the vulnerabilities o f a local nuclear plant. Whatever freedoms Americans enjoy must be bal­ anced against the population's right to survival. If infor­ mation on how to make b o m b s or disable intelligence agencies' c o m p u t e r programs is readily available in book­ stores, in libraries, or on the Internet, then the government has an obligation not to let civilians access that informa­ tion. It is difficult to understand why anyone besides a potential terrorist would need such knowledge, and no one can pretend that it merits First A m e n d m e n t protec­ tion. While, at first glance, that a m e n d m e n t appears to protect any information that can be labeled "speech" ("Congress shall m a k e no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . ."), devotion to the public safety clearly foreclos­ es the absolutist interpretation. If "no law" literally means "no law," then federal laws against perjury, death threats against elected officials, and libel are unconstitutional. So also would b e the federal law against publicly revealing undercover agents' identities. Freedom o f information must be limited where it might imperil the public safety, or else the s a m e freedom will itself b e insecure. H o m e m a d e b o m b s and "accidents" at p o w e r p l a n t s restrict their victims' freedom o f information a lot more than the PATRIOT Act. J a m e s Bovard, writing in the American Conservative, complains that the act has m a d e it unsafe for Americans to research biochemical w e a p o n s "to keep speed with the War on Terror." W h y on earth would a n y o n e do this in the first place? T h e government may not be doing the best job of preventing terrorist attacks, but for the people to assume that they can do better is unwarranted at best and moronic at worst. T h e people have no special c o m p e t e n c e to thwart biochemical or other attacks, except by reporting suspicious Muslims, thus allowing federal agents to check on their research interests —as thev should. (The FBI will not check e v e r y o n e ' s records: it only follows tips of sus­ picious individuals, or requests information on people who have already caught the FBI's eye.) N o w is not the

time for citizens to b e c o m e well-versed on substances that o u r government dreads. T h e y should be totally ignorant of this topic —leaving fewer suspects for the authorities to deal with. T h i s is a very mild restriction; no one is sug-

Ethnic and racial profiling are not ethnocentric and racist, they are common sense. It is a far greater evil to allow . . . possibly millions of people to be killed in preventable terrorist attacks than simply to . . . upset selected members of a small minority group. Blood is worth more than tears. gesting that people be investigated for sampling the Koran or for buying the "Lawrence of Arabia" D V D on Amazon.com. Bovard also criticizes the Justice Department for refus­ ing to inform Congress h o w m a n y times the FBI has requested library records or performed covert investiga­ tions or Carnivore e-mail checks. He objects, "Freedom has apparently b e c o m e so fragile that citizens can no longer be permitted to k n o w how often their government invades their privacy." Precisely correct. H u m a n beings are apt to react more viscerallv than mentally to every bit of n e w s they receive, making the great bulk of them thoroughly unqualified to pass judgment on intelligence activity o f this sort. Suppose that the people find out that their gov­ e r n m e n t has read 20,000 e-mails (out of all the millions sent daily). Now estimate the proportion of the general public that would be sickened even by this puny intrusion and complain to their elected officials about their lost pri­ vacy. Neither the public nor its elected officials would be able to weigh objectively the gain in security, and hence the gain in freedom w h i c h security m a k e s possible, against the loss of freedom under Carnivore. T h e program would then be cancelled, and U.S. intelligence would be the worse off for the public's being informed about that meager level of intrusion. Often, elected representatives k n o w better than their constituents what is best for the latter. But those con­ stituents can vote out of office a representative w h o s e votes stray too far from their specific policy preferences, and legislators are mindful of this. S o if a security measure would greatly serve the FBI in tracking terrorists, but

T h e Brown Spectator / August 2003

13


would also fail the p u b l i c ' s "puke test" thanks to its per­

Racial Profiling

ceived i n t r u s i v e n e s s , then m o s t legislators w o u l d v o t e to reflect the p u b l i c ' s will on that m e a s u r e , thus p r o t e c t i n g

T h e specters of ethnic and racial profiling have also d r a w n

their jobs. With e v e r y specific security proposal, the c o s t

criticism. D e s p i t e the fact that airport screeners routinely

in liberty is at o n c e apparent, w h e r e a s the gain in securi­

ignore A r a b - A m e r i c a n flyers and instead delay such bla­

ty is not:

n o o n e can d e t e r m i n e h o w m a n y

terrorist

tant security risks as middle-aged white men

wearing

attacks Policy "X", "Y", or "Z" w o u l d prevent i f e n a c t e d .

c o w b o y boots, 80-year-old Irish nuns with blue e y e s , and

S o there is an a u t o m a t i c mental bias against security,

92-year-old black w o m e n in wheelchairs, civil libertarians

e v e n as people insist that the g o v e r n m e n t protect t h e m .

insist that A r a b s are being singled out for searches.

T h e people w a n t c o m p l e t e l y c o n t r a d i c t o r y things d o n e

A s s u m i n g for the sake of argument that this were true, it

on their behalf, and for this reason the g o v e r n m e n t m u s t

would be simple c o m m o n sense. If w e received informa­

t a k e an i n d e p e n d e n t stand if it m e a n s to defend

the

tion that blue-haired fanatics were planning to s m u g g l e

country. In his Nov. 3, 1 7 7 4 , S p e e c h to the E l e c t o r s o f

biological, chemical, or nuclear w e a p o n s into the United

Bristol, E d m u n d B u r k e famously said, "Your representa­

States, it w o u l d be perfectly sensible to subject people o f

tive o w e s y o u , n o t his industry only, but his j u d g m e n t ;

this description to heightened scrutiny, at airports and

and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to

elsewhere. Accurate risk assessment entails judging and

y o u r opinion."

treating everyone consistently with the risk that he poses.

It is no a n s w e r to s a y that A m e r i c a ' s representatives

C o n s i d e r it the price of "diversity." S o m e groups produce

are only a t t e m p t i n g to get the information that they need

terrorists by the truckload, and others do not. Today the

for informed j u d g m e n t , and that such j u d g m e n t does not

major threat to our survival c o m e s not from disgruntled

entail reflexivelv voting in favor o f security proposals.

white

T h e public, w h o s e m e m o r i e s o f 9 / 1 1 a r e disturbingly d i s ­

Islamic Arab males. Since M u s l i m s do not wear tags iden­

tant, is a c c u s t o m e d to a l m o s t unrestrained

liberty. In

tifying them as radicals or loyalists, one and all must be

such an a t m o s p h e r e , it would be a l m o s t i m p o s s i b l e for

searched. A s to the "safe and free" argument, to e x e m p t a

elected representatives to exercise i n d e p e n d e n t

judg­

whole ethnic group from reasonable examination is not an

ment, so long as they v a l u e staying in office —as a l m o s t

absolute prerequisite of freedom. To be inconvenienced is

all of t h e m do. B u t federal a g e n t s d o m o r e c l a n d e s t i n e

not to be deprived of essential liberty.

males ( a p o l o g i e s to C h a r l e s M o o s e ) but

from

work and d o not face reelection, a n d h e n c e they are

Many, if not most, w h o are profiled would turn out to

m u c h less likely to sacrifice n e c e s s a r y intelligence p r o c e ­

be innocent, and this w o u l d no doubt cause e m b a r r a s s ­

dures on the altar o f p u b l i c taste. It is they w h o hold o u r

ment. But it is contestable whether profiling is, on balance,

futures in their h a n d s , and rightly s o . As stated earlier,

harmful

a n y o n e e l s e w h o g i v e s a d v i c e to federal a g e n t s or b r i n g s

s m u g g l e a nuclear b o m b into this country because no one

pressure to bear upon them is infinitely more likely to be

thought fit to search them, and they detonate the b o m b ,

wrong. An a c q u a i n t a n c e once asked this author w h a t the

killing 10 million, the innocent M u s l i m s in A m e r i c a w h o

population should do d u r i n g the War on Terror, and the

are killed in the blast will not be grateful for our c o w ­

response was, "Nothing." Nothing, that is, e x c e p t tip off

ardice. And while profiling is an imperfect science (non-

to those innocents. When Muslim extremists

the authorities w h e n s o m e t h i n g looks s u s p i c i o u s . A n y

Muslims with dark skin, for e x a m p l e , would more likely

further i n v o l v e m e n t on the part of the m a s s e s —who

be searched if w e profiled), this is no reason to turn our

have no idea h o w to defend a nation —could be disas­

backs on easily identifiable Islamists. To ignore them all

trous. This is all the more true b e c a u s e they get their

simply because s o m e o f them may actually be R o m a n

information from media that w i l d l y e x a g g e r a t e w h a t e v e r

Catholics from Central America, and to search instead

limits the g o v e r n m e n t d o e s place o n freedom, a s w e h a v e

those w h o are still less likely to be terrorists would serve

already seen.

no purpose. It is idiotic to elevate cultural sensitivity a b o v e h u m a n life. Ethnic and racial profiling are not eth-

Join the Spectator EDITORS, W R I T E R S , CARTOONISTS, GRAPHIC D E S I G N E R S , B U S I N E S S MANAGERS.

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14

The Brown S p e c t a t o r / A u g u s t 2003


nocentric and racist, they are c o m m o n sense, it is a far

good reason to divert attention and resources from the

greater evil to allow thousands and possibly millions of

fight.

people to be killed in preventable terrorist attacks than

O p p o n e n t s also argue that, by forestalling a trial and

simply to disturb and upset selected m e m b e r s of a small

holding these men without access to counsel, the presi­

minority group. Blood is worth more than tears.

dent has neutered the adversary system of justice and actually disserved the public. T h e theory underlying this argument is that the detainees' having a vigorous defense

Prisoner Treatment

sets a high standard for g o v e r n m e n t prosecutors, which Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the present war

ensures that the latter will be forced to improve their argu­

has been the treatment o f suspected terrorists w h o m the

ments, closely analyze the evidence, and present

g o v e r n m e n t has captured. Abdullah al-Muhajir, a.k.a. Jose

strongest possible cases. Yet the purpose of having a legal

Padilla, and Yaser E s a m H a m d i are two cases in point.

system is not to create a class of super-intelligent lawyers

Both are A m e r i c a n citizens w h o h a v e w a g e d w a r against

but to defend the population, and the adversary system

the United States, the former by plotting to explode a

does a very poor job of this. Perhaps the authorities are

radioactive "dirty bomb" on American soil, the latter by

holding Padilla and H a m d i without trial because they

serving in a Taliban military unit in Afghanistan. T h e gov­

cannot make a winning case to a court, though they k n o w

e r n m e n t has classed them as e n e m y combatants for their

them to be guilty. If this is true, and the terrorists had to be

actions. President Bush is o f the opinion that it would be

released for that reason, then no benefit w o u l d redound to

the

safer to detain them, and e n e m y c o m b a t a n t s generally, for

the public. Two terrorists would be free, one of w h o m had

an indefinite period {without access to counsel) than to try

attempted to detonate a nuclear b o m b and w o u l d

them immediately for their crimes, at least in part because

doubt do so again. An adversary system tends to produce

they are believed to have important information. Wartime

an acquittal where the g o v e r n m e n t ' s case is weak, even

necessity is the rationale. W h e n a president qua c o m ­

though the suspect may well be guiltv. We cannot take that

mander-in-chief orders the military to detain a combatant,

risk when it c o m e s to terrorists.

no

the rules and rights of criminal justice do not apply. T h e need for information on possible future acts of terrorism

Conclusion

justifies detention until the g o v e r n m e n t is satisfied that it has learned e n o u g h . T h i s is a perfectly sensible approach.

If, as his o p p o n e n t s charge, the president has arrogated to

Congress gave the president the authority to handle

himself the p o w e r s of a monarch, then long live the King.

terrorists with "all necessary and appropriate force," and

T h e g o v e r n m e n t has n o more pressing duty than to ensure

he has exercised this authority entirely within the bounds

the safety o f the American people, and the

of tradition and law. A president's authority to order the

understands this. Even so, his a b r i d g m e n t s o f civil liber­

detention o f an e n e m y combatant without trial and for the

ties are miniscule, c o m p a r e d to those of past presidents

duration o f hostilities is well-settled. T h e reason is to pre­

w h o faced crises far less serious than o u r o w n . T h e Great

clude the detainees' murdering civilians while the country

Emancipator, A b r a h a m Lincoln, locked up 13,000 people

is distracted by the task o f fighting the war. It would be

(the modern equivalent would be approximately 167,000)

president

possible to try them now, but it would not be practical.

for suspected disloyalty to the government. Yet America

There are m o r e pressing needs than the formal disposition

lives on. And m o m e n t o u s as the Civil War was, it was not

of these cases, and this priority b e c o m e s all the clearer as

a w a r of extermination. T h i s war is. Never has there been

the authorities capture more and more terrorists.

Every

a more dangerous time to err against caution. Merely to

agent e m p l o y e d by the government should spend his time

establish an intelligence program is to alter the nation's

trying to prevent future terrorist attacks, not ministering

balance of liberty and order for purposes thought desir­

to the worries o f those w h o tried to slaughter Americans

able. And it is too plain for argument that the balance

en masse. T h e r e are 285 million people whose needs c o m e

must be reset for the United States to avoid another 9 / 1 1 .

before those of Padilla and Hamdi. M a n y have expressed

Let the president set it h o w e v e r he wants. For if the

concern that the indefinite length of this war will lead to

Executive Branch does not have the strong h a n d that it

overlong, and perhaps unending, detentions. Indeed it

needs to fight this war, w e will die and our freedoms will

may, but this is a reason to tighten, not to slacken, the

die with us.

usual wartime limits on prisoners' rights. We are fighting for our survival. That the fight may go on forever is not a T h e Brown Spectator / August 2003

15


FEATURE

Unpatriotic Acts How the Bush Administration has Endangered Our Freedoms By Christopher McAuliffe

J

ust h o w

t e n a c i o u s are our civil liberties a n d

our

Constitution in t h e face o f a c o n c e r t e d , e m o t i o n a l , ide­

obfuscation in the face of q u e s t i o n s a b o u t the use of his domestic anti-terrorism

authority.

The most

blatant

ological a s s a u l t ? T h e a n s w e r is v a r i a b l e , and far from

i n s t a n c e o f such s t o n e w a l l i n g is the J u s t i c e D e p a r t m e n t ' s

clear. D u r i n g World War II, an entire e t h n i c p o p u l a t i o n

refusal to d i v u l g e a n y information on s o m e 1,200 alien

w a s harassed a n d d e p r i v e d of liberty, property, and d u e

"detainees" arrested after the terrorist attacks of 2 0 0 1 .

p r o c e s s in the n a m e o f national security. Certainly, w e

F u r t h e r m o r e , Ashcroft h a s insisted that his n e w p o w e r s

s h o u l d all r e c o g n i z e that n o t h i n g r e m o t e l y c o m p a r a b l e

are vital, and a m o u n t m e r e l y to an e x p a n s i o n o f his exist­

h a s h a p p e n e d , or is a b o u t to h a p p e n to M u s l i m s and

ing l a w - e n f o r c e m e n t a u t h o r i t y into the arena o f terror­

A r a b s in the w a k e of S e p t e m b e r 1 1 , 2 0 0 1 . Yet m o s t

ism.

a t t a c k s on civil liberties take a far m o r e b e n i g n form in

m e n t s do not c o m e c l o s e to a c k n o w l e d g i n g the true

their incipient s t a g e s .

nature o f the p o s t - 9 / 1 1 e x p a n s i o n o f g o v e r n m e n t power.

A s the following e x a m i n a t i o n will show, t h e s e c o m ­

In light o f r e c e n t e v e n t s , c o n s e r v a t i v e s should realize

The issue o f d e t e n t i o n s is significant in and o f itself.

that leftists m a y n o t be the only o n e s in n e e d o f a thor­

A l l e g e d d i r t y - b o m b e r J o s e P a d i l l a m a y be guilty, b u t is it

ough

undeclared

really r e a s o n a b l e to indefinitely i m p r i s o n an A m e r i c a n

"War on Terror" h a s s e e n the B u s h A d m i n i s t r a t i o n as w e l l

citizen w i t h o u t a c c e s s to an a t t o r n e y and w i t h o u t charg­

re-reading o f the C o n s t i t u t i o n . T h e

as the c o n g r e s s r e p e a t e d l y disregard or g l o s s - o v e r civil

ing h i m w i t h a c r i m e , just b e c a u s e he m a y be found inno­

liberties c o n c e r n s in w a y s that, though not indicative of

c e n t in a civilian (or military) c o u r t ? T h e c o n c e r n s with

a rising police state, are c o n c e r n i n g in the p r e c e d e n t they

the U S A Patriot Act are l i k e w i s e major: i n c r e a s e d wiretap

set. T h r o u g h o u t the past t w o y e a r s , the g o v e r n m e n t has

authority, i n c r e a s e d ability to d e m a n d records from third

e s t a b l i s h e d a w o r r i s o m e b e h a v i o r a l p a t t e r n in its d o m e s ­

parties, and i n c r e a s e d use o f g o v e r n m e n t d a t a b a s e s to

tic response to t e r r o r i s m : the e x e c u t i v e b r a n c h d e m a n d s

k e e p records on private citizens. F u r t h e r m o r e , there is no

m o r e p o w e r to fight terror, w h i c h is p r o m p t l y granted by

g u a r a n t e e that these p o w e r s will b e u s e d solely in the

a legislature e a g e r to e s c a p e all r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for terror­

p r e v e n t i o n and prosecution o f terrorist acts. R e m e m b e r ,

ist attacks, p r e s e n t or future. A t t o r n e y G e n e r a l J o h n

if Bush and Ashcroft are c a p a b l e of u s u r p i n g this k i n d of

Ashcroft, then, in r e p e a t e d inquiries as to his use o f t h e s e

power, so a l s o are any of their s u c c e s s o r s - just i m a g i n e

n e w p o w e r s , refuses to p r o v i d e c o n c r e t e a n s w e r s and

the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f s u c h authority in the h a n d s o f Bill

insists on their usefulness and his g e n e r a l g o o d faith in

C l i n t o n and J a n e t R e n o . Civil l i b e r t a r i a n s are u n d e r s t a n d a b l y

h i s application o f t h e m . It is u n d e r s t a n d a b l e

that the g o v e r n m e n t

should

face o f such h u g e o b s t a c l e s .

v e x e d in the

M u c h o f the w o r r y arises

require a n e w l a w - e n f o r c e m e n t f r a m e w o r k in the after­

from c o n c e r n s o v e r the increasing e a s e with w h i c h the

math of an attack as d e v a s t a t i n g as the o n e on S e p t e m b e r

g o v e r n m e n t is able to a c c u m u l a t e a n d c o m p i l e records

11.

It is e q u a l l y true that m a n y o f the p r o v i s i o n s o f

and d a t a b a s e s o f its c i t i z e n s ' private information in a dig­

President B u s h ' s military o r d e r and o f the U S A Patriot

ital era. S o m e o f the p r i v a c y c o n c e r n s m a y be q u i x o t i c ;

Act

the c i r c u m s t a n c e s .

after all, the I R S has long kept track of our financial

Perhaps the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n even c h e r i s h e s civil liberties,

records. T h e e x p a n d i n g welfare state, not a n e w p h e n o m ­

and is e m i n e n t l y respectful o f them in its a p p l i c a t i o n o f

e n o n by a n y m e a n s , h a s also (naturally) required i n c r e a s ­

its c o n s i d e r a b l e anti-terrorism p o w e r s . C o n s e r v a t i v e s ,

ingly m o r e information from its c i t i z e n s , in the form of

are q u i t e

reasonable

under

however, s h o u l d reflect on the fact that these p o w e r s are

medical, e c o n o m i c , a n d legal records, as well as other

broad, precedent-setting, and subject to m i s u s e , w h e t h e r

personal information. W h a t is different now is the e a s e

in the h a n d s o f B u s h and Ashcroft, or a n y of their s u c ­

w i t h w h i c h these records can b e a c c e s s e d and cross-refer­

cessors.

e n c e d by m a n y different g o v e r n m e n t a g e n c i e s , i n c l u d i n g

W h a t is m o s t w o r r i s o m e

16

is A s h c r o f t ' s

repeated

l a w e n f o r c e m e n t . E v e r y t i m e w e place o u r social security

The Brown Spectator / August 2003


n u m b e r on a m e d i c a l form, e m p l o y m e n t application, or

period. T h e m y t h that this w a s s o m e sort of a R e p u b l i c a n

tax return, w e rarely pause to think w h a t will be d o n e

p o w e r - g r a b s h o u l d be e a s i l y dispelled by a glance at this

with this i n f o r m a t i o n , or in w h o s e h a n d s it m a y e n d up.

legislative

Indeed, the social security n u m b e r has quietly e s t a b ­

D e m o c r a t s s o m e h o w care m o r e for o u r civil liberties

record.

It

is

ludicrous

to

suggest

that

lished itself as a k i n d o f n a t i o n a l identification number,

than do R e p u b l i c a n s ; if they had any q u a l m s at all, they

serving as a p a s s w o r d

were

to vast d a t a b a s e s of personal

with

significant

powers

in

the

hands

of

a

information that w e routinely d i v u l g e w i t h o u t thinking

R e p u b l i c a n a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , not with the s a m e p o w e r s in

twice.

the h a n d s o f the g o v e r n m e n t . I n d e e d the only s e n a t o r to

It w o u l d not n e c e s s a r i l y be desirable, nor w o u l d it in

see the Patriot A c t in the c o n t e x t o f the big picture of

any c a s e b e practical, to turn b a c k the clock on most of

g o v e r n m e n t power, and w h e r e it all might lead, was

these d e v e l o p m e n t s . After all, digital record k e e p i n g h a s

R u s s F e i n g o l d , the D e m o c r a t from W i s c o n s i n . In c a s t i n g

been i m m e a s u r a b l y c o n v e n i e n t in t e r m s o f increased

the l o n e vote a g a i n s t the legislation, S e n a t o r F e i n g o l d ' s

productivity and decreased h u m a n error. It is, however,

e x p l a n a t i o n o f his d e c i s i o n d e s e r v e s our attention:

worth t h i n k i n g a b o u t in the c o n t e x t o f just w h a t infor­ mation w e allow the g o v e r n m e n t to access, and e s p e c i a l ­

If w e lived in a c o u n t r y that a l l o w e d the police to

ly w h a t w e a l l o w the g o v e r n m e n t to do with this infor­

search y o u r h o m e at a n y time for a n y reason; if w e

mation o n c e it is legally accessible. T h e

fundamental

lived in a c o u n t r y that a l l o w e d the g o v e r n m e n t to

flaw with the n e w anti-terrorism p a r a d i g m is that it h a s

open y o u r mail, e a v e s d r o p on y o u r p h o n e c o n v e r s a ­

not given p a u s e to c o n t e m p l a t e these c o n c e r n s , let a l o n e

tions, or intercept y o u r e-mail c o m m u n i c a t i o n s ; if we

to p r o v i d e a n s w e r s to them.

lived in a c o u n t r y that a l l o w e d the g o v e r n m e n t to

T h e U S A Patriot Act and President B u s h ' s military

hold p e o p l e in jail indefinitely b a s e d on w h a t they

e x e c u t i v e o r d e r both find their roots in the i m m e d i a t e

w r i t e or think, or b a s e d on mere s u s p i c i o n that they

aftermath o f S e p t e m b e r 11, 2 0 0 1 . In just five w e e k s , the

are up to no g o o d , t h e n the g o v e r n m e n t w o u l d no

U S A Patriot Act m a d e its w a y from an a d m i n i s t r a t i o n

d o u b t d i s c o v e r and arrest m o r e terrorists.

draft into full law. T h e r e is little in the w a y o f a legisla­

p r o b a b l y w o u l d n o t b e a c o u n t r y in w h i c h w e w o u l d

tive r e c o r d , and

w a n t to live.

less still in the w a y

of c o m m i t t e e

But that

A n d that w o u l d not b e a c o u n t r y for

records. In fact, the H o u s e J u d i c i a r y C o m m i t t e e h e l d

w h i c h w e c o u l d , in g o o d c o n s c i e n c e , ask o u r y o u n g

only o n e h e a r i n g on the bill, and called o n l y o n e w i t n e s s :

p e o p l e to fight and die. In short, that w o u l d n o t be

J o h n Ashcroft. T h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ' s inclination toward

America.

p a i n t i n g all o p p o s i t i o n to the m e a s u r e as unpatriotic is clearly reflected in the title of the bill, as well as the attor­

F e i n g o l d ' s rejection o f the anti-terrorism o r t h o d o x y

ney g e n e r a l ' s telling r e m a r k s to a S e n a t e c o m m i t t e e a

of s e e i n g all public p o l i c y in terms of a zero-sum g a m e

mere few w e e k s after its final p a s s a g e : "To those w h o

b e t w e e n liberty and s e c u r i t y is actually quite a c o n s e r v a ­

scare p e a c e - l o v i n g p e o p l e with p h a n t o m s of lost liberty,

tive position. It scoffs at the notion that the g o v e r n m e n t

m y m e s s a g e is this: y o u r tactics only aid terrorists, for

can s o m e h o w use its s u p e r n a t u r a l p o w e r s to s o l v e all o f

they e r o d e o u r n a t i o n a l unity and d i m i n i s h o u r resolve.

o u r p r o b l e m s , or to p r o t e c t us from all h a r m . It a c k n o w l ­

T h e y give a m m u n i t i o n to A m e r i c a ' s e n e m i e s , and pause

e d g e s the g o v e r n m e n t ' s instinct to b l a m e o u r freedoms

to A m e r i c a ' s friends."

for a p r o b l e m that w a s u n a v o i d a b l e , and most likely n o t

It w a s u n d e r t h e s e c o n d i t i o n s that the Patriot A c t sailed t h r o u g h the h o u s e b y a vote of 3 5 7 to 6 6 , f o l l o w e d

predicted or prevented d u e to the g o v e r n m e n t ' s

own

inefficiency and i n c o m p e t e n c e . A n d finally, it r e c o g n i z e s

by a d e c i s i o n o f 9 8 to 1 in the S e n a t e . T h e r e a s o n s for this

the g o v e r n m e n t ' s p a t h o l o g i c a l inability to hold

should b e c l e a r e n o u g h . T h e President, likely to be the

a c c o u n t a b l e for the c o n s e q u e n c e s of its increased p o w e r

itself

o n e h e l d a c c o u n t a b l e for any future terrorist attacks, a n d

W h y m o r e c o n s e r v a t i v e , or for that m a t t e r liberal, l a w ­

k n o w i n g he c o u l d e x p e c t no h e l p from legislators, tried

m a k e r s have not r e c o g n i z e d the e m i n e n t sensibility o f

to shield h i m s e l f

as

this position can o n l y b e e x p l a i n e d by their desire to

m u c h p o w e r as p o s s i b l e to p r e v e n t m o r e attacks, or at

e s c a p e all b l a m e by w a s h i n g their h a n d s of the m a t t e r

least to give the i m p r e s s i o n that he had d o n e all he

entirely.

from criticism by a c c u m u l a t i n g

could. C o n g r e s s , k n o w i n g that the only w a y they c o u l d

W h a t is m i s s i n g at the front end o f the g o v e r n m e n t ' s

be h e l d c u l p a b l e w a s by not g r a n t i n g his requests, will­

effort to p r e v e n t t e r r o r i s m is an h o n e s t a s s e s s m e n t o f

ingly a c c e d e d to his d e m a n d s in the post-disaster g r a c e

w h a t g o v e r n m e n t has b e e n able to do in the past in this

T h e B r o w n Spectator / A u g u s t 2003

17


field, and w h a t it is able to do now. S e p t e m b e r 11 and the 1 9 9 5 O k l a h o m a City b o m b i n g —the t w o largest terrorist a t t a c k s on o u r c o u n t r y to date, h a v e both s u c c e e d e d in p r o d u c i n g i m m e d i a t e , knee-jerk reactions from l a w m a k ­ e r s — w i t h o u t a n y e v i d e n c e that w e are a c t u a l l y safer. T h e

"our l a w e n f o r c e m e n t officials . . . tough n e w t o o l s to s t o p terrorists before they strike." T h e fact o f t h e m a t t e r is that terrorism is simply n o t u n i v e r s a l l y p r e v e n t a b l e . F o r e v e r y terrorist attack w e suffer, o u r instinct will d o u b t l e s s be to b l a m e the terror­ ists' s u c c e s s e s on t h e o p e n n e s s and freedom o f o u r s o c i ­ ety, and d e m a n d a n o t h e r huge, p a n i c k e d , piece o f l e g i s ­ lation to i n s u r e that such a thing never h a p p e n s again. T h e truth, h o w e v e r , is that there is n o t h i n g w e can do to s t o p it from h a p p e n i n g again; there must c o m e a point w h e n w e d e c i d e that the g o v e r n m e n t has e n o u g h power, and

needs

to m a k e

Furthermore,

there

do

with

what

it a l r e a d y

has.

is a m p l e r e a s o n

to b e l i e v e

that

S e p t e m b e r 11 r e p r e s e n t s an a n a l y s i s failure m o r e than an i n t e l l i g e n c e failure. J a m e s D e L o n g o f the C o m p e t i t i v e E n t e r p r i s e I n s t i t u t e n o t e s that F B I p e r s o n n e l , "given a specific report from a flight s c h o o l that a man

with

k n o w n links to terrorists w a n t e d lessons on h o w to steer a 7 6 7 , but n o t to t a k e off or land, h a d no c o n t e x t in w h i c h h i s o d d r e q u e s t m a d e sense."

The government's vora­

c i o u s a p p e t i t e for i n f o r m a t i o n will do us n o good in the a b s e n c e of c o m p e t e n t u s e o f a l r e a d y a v a i l a b l e i n f o r m a ­ tion, and as l o n g a s it c o n t i n u e s to b l a m e all o f its failures on "insufficient p o w e r and m o n e y " W i t h all o f t h e s e g o v e r n m e n t failures and follies in m i n d , I can identify three b r o a d areas in which the B u s h administration,

with congressional approval,

should

i m p r o v e its a n t i - t e r r o r i s m policy. T h e g o v e r n m e n t must: 1) clarify, restrict, and s e e k c o n g r e s s i o n a l a p p r o v a l for its p o l i c y on d e t e n t i o n s and tribunals; 2) clarify and restrict its i n c r e a s e d w i r e t a p and s u r v e i l l a n c e authority; and 3 ) s t r i v e for m o r e t a r g e t e d and open legislation, s u r v e i l ­ lance, and i n v e s t i g a t i o n s . 1. Clarify, restrict, a n d s e e k c o n g r e s s i o n a l a p p r o v a l for a d m i n i s t r a t i o n policy on d e t e n t i o n s a n d t r i b u n a l s . E v e n if e v e r y s i n g l e person arrested or d e t a i n e d to date as part of the "War on Terror" is, in fact, guilty, the status q u o is u n a c c e p t a b l e b e c a u s e o f its flagrant d i s r e g a r d for d u e p r o c e s s . T h e p r o b l e m b e g i n s with the 1,000-plus aliens, legal a n d illegal, d e t a i n e d after the initial a t t a c k s . All o f t h e s e p e o p l e were arrested in the United States, all w i t h o u t w a r r a n t s . T h e U S A Patriot A c t a l l o w s the attor­ ney general to detain n o n - c i t i z e n s s u s p e c t e d o f terrorism C o m p r e h e n s i v e Terrorism P r e v e n t i o n Act of 1 9 9 5 p l a c e d restrictions on the writ o f h a b e a s c o r p u s , and a l l o w e d the President to b a n trade with nations w h i c h he d e e m e d n o t fully c o o p e r a t i v e w i t h A m e r i c a n a n t i - t e r r o r i s m efforts. Still, P r e s i d e n t C l i n t o n proved to be a n y t h i n g but prescient when he declared that the n e w legislation g a v e 18

for up to s e v e n d a y s . T h i s is e m i n e n t l y r e a s o n a b l e in the c o n t e x t of the p r o b l e m s w e face. T h e J u s t i c e D e p a r t m e n t , h o w e v e r , h a s b e e n less than f o r t h c o m i n g w h e n p r e s s e d with q u e s t i o n s as to the identity and status of these d e t a i n e e s . N e a r l y a year after the S e p t e m b e r 11 attacks, the Justice D e p a r t m e n t w o u l d say only that there w e r e

T h e Brown Spectator / A u g u s t 2003


fewer than 4 0 0 detainees r e m a i n i n g in custody, 1 0 0 o f w h o m had been c r i m i n a l l y c h a r g e d . It is o n e thing to detain a hostile c o m b a t a n t on the battlefield, and quite a n o t h e r t h i n g entirely to detain an i m m i g r a n t , legal or illegal, o n c e he or she has e n t e r e d the U n i t e d States, based solely on suspicion. P r o v i s i o n s o f the Patriot Act a l l o w the attorney general c o n s i d e r a b l e latitude to detain b e y o n d the initial s e v e n day period. After that time h a s e l a p s e d , the d e t a i n e e m u s t technical­ ly b e released unless deportation or criminal p r o c e e d ­ ings h a v e c o m m e n c e d . 1 lowever, Ashcroft h a s been able to i m p r i s o n m a n y p e o p l e for m o n t h s or even years by s i m p l y charging n o n - d e p o r t a b l e illegal i m m i g r a n t s with a technical i m m i g r a t i o n violation. If an alien receives this status, the attorney general n e e d o n l y certify e v e r y six m o n t h s that national security is at stake. It is clear from p r e c e d e n t that this practice does not pass constitutional muster. T h e S u p r e m e Court ruled in Zadvydas v, Davis that i m m i g r a n t s , e v e n illegals, are enti­ tled to due process and m a y not be detained indefinitely. T h e Court did leave r o o m for a l l o w i n g different proce­ dures for i m m i g r a n t s s u s p e c t e d o f terrorism. It should b e clear, h o w e v e r , that a l l o w i n g the e x e c u t i v e b r a n c h to act as j u d g e , jury, and p r o s e c u t o r for terrorist s u s p e c t s is not an a c c e p t a b l e alternative procedure. At the v e r y least, C o n g r e s s m u s t get involved by setting a firm, rea­ s o n a b l e t i m e frame for all d e p o r t a t i o n p r o c e e d i n g s . Certainly, if there is not e n o u g h e v i d e n c e to c h a r g e an i m m i g r a n t with a c r i m e within a few m o n t h s , he or she should be d e p o r t e d or released. M o r e w o r r i s o m e still is the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n ' s policy on detentions of U.S. citizens. Because of the i n c o n s i s t e n c y in the treatment o f U . S . detainees, one is often left to g u e s s at just what this policy is. For e x a m p l e , Yaser Esam H a m d i has been detained for m o r e than a y e a r without access to an attorney a n d w i t h o u t being charged with a crime. Hamdi, an A m e r i c a n citizen, was caught, A K - 4 7 in hand, fighting for the e n e m y in Afghanistan. With that k n o w l e d g e , it is difficult to garner much s y m p a t h y for the man, but his c i r c u m s t a n c e s still beg a principled examination. H a m d i c a n n o t be charged before a military tribunal, because President B u s h ' s military order allows that option only for non-citizens. If, however, military justice is suitable for m e m b e r s of the A m e r i c a n a r m e d services, why s h o u l d it not be for H a m d i ? He clearly fits all the criteria as an unlawful c o m b a t a n t , and the circum­ stances of his capture leave no gray area as to what h e was up to. Under international law, military tribunals for unlawful c o m b a t a n t s are perfectly legal in the case o f the "War on Terror," but n o w that H a m d i is on A m e r i c a n soil,

h e should b e criminally charged in a civilian court. In any event, w h y hasn't the administration provided an ade­ quate explanation as to why they went this route with J o h n Walker Lindh, caught in similar c i r c u m s t a n c e s , while H a m d i waits in legal l i m b o ?

As I have noted, there is ample reason to believe that pre-9/11 intelligence failures had far more to do with faulty government procedure than with a lack of intelligence information. Still, provi­ sions of the Patriot Act go to huge lengths to gut due process and consti­ tutional protections in pursuit of yet more information. T h e c a s e o f J o s e Padilla raises even m o r e red flags. Like H a m d i , Padilla is a U.S. citizen, b u t unlike H a m d i , he w a s arrested on U.S. soil - at C h i c a g o O ' H a r e airport, in fact. T h e g o v e r n m e n t h a s a c c u s e d Padilla o f i n v o l v e ­ m e n t in a plot to detonate a r a d i o l o g i c a l "dirty bomb." To date, he h a s been held i n c o m m u n i c a d o at a military brig, w i t h o u t a c c e s s to an attorney, a n d without h a v i n g been formally c h a r g e d with any c r i m e . Flolding Padilla as an illegal c o m b a t a n t is a b o l d affront to due process. S i n c e he was not c a u g h t on a foreign battlefield, the govern­ ment m u s t surely have sufficient e v i d e n c e to c h a r g e him with treason or terrorism. Still, this h a s not h a p p e n e d — and if the only reason Padilla is still b e i n g held is for lack of e v i d e n c e , he m u s t be released i m m e d i a t e l y . A n o t h e r possibility is that the g o v e r n m e n t is afraid of the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f holding o p e n trials for terrorist s u s p e c t s . Intelligence sources c o u l d b e revealed, or ter­ rorists c o u l d c o m m u n i c a t e through their l a w y e r s . S o m e of these w o r r i e s border on paranoia, but still, they m a y be l e g i t i m a t e in s o m e cases. W h a t is perfectly c l e a r is that the "Great Writ" of H a b e a s C o r p u s is not subject to the w h i m s o f the e x e c u t i v e b r a n c h . T h e S u p r e m e Court, in Ex Parte Milligan, rejected President L i n c o l n ' s suspen­ sion o f certain provisions o f the Bill of Rights, and that was under c o n d i t i o n s of o p e n rebellion and declared war. P e r h a p s a new legal f r a m e w o r k a l l o w i n g for more secrecy and e x p e d i e n c y is n e c e s s a r y in a "War on Terror," but in that case, C o n g r e s s m u s t a p p r o v e that framework, and it m u s t not allow for indefinite c o n f i n e m e n t w i t h o u t counsel of A m e r i c a n citizens arrested on A m e r i c a n soil.

T h e B r o w n Spectator / August 2003

19


2. Clarify a n d restrict law e n f o r c e m e n t ' s i n c r e a s e d

traditional civilian s t a n d a r d for freedom from u n r e a s o n ­

w i r e t a p a n d s u r v e i l l a n c e authority. A s I h a v e noted,

able search and seizure. Still, this is u n d e r s t a n d a b l e , as

there is a m p l e reason to believe that p r e - 9 / 1 1 intelli­

d o m e s t i c l a w e n f o r c e m e n t a g e n c i e s need s o m e w a y to

g e n c e failures h a d far m o r e to do with faulty g o v e r n ­

e n g a g e in c o u n t e r - e s p i o n a g e targeted at p e o p l e w h o are

m e n t p r o c e d u r e than with a lack o f i n t e l l i g e n c e informa­

a l r e a d y in the country. T h e flip side o f this is that previ­

tion. Still, p r o v i s i o n s o f the Patriot Act go to

huge

ously, information o b t a i n e d u n d e r FISA has n o t b e e n

lengths to gut due p r o c e s s and constitutional p r o t e c t i o n s

a d m i s s i b l e in civilian c o u r t s o f law, due to the q u a s i -

in pursuit of yet m o r e information. T h r o u g h it all, the

c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s u n d e r w h i c h that i n f o r m a ­

American

ambivalent

tion w a s g a t h e r e d . U n d e r its v a u n t e d "intelligence-shar­

Perhaps many Americans

ing" provisions, the Patriot A c t quietly r e m o v e d this

public has been distressingly

about t h e s e d e v e l o p m e n t s .

believe that they will never personally be targets o f g o v ­

restriction, t h u s a l l o w i n g c o m m u n i c a t i o n s

e r n m e n t a l p r i v a c y i n v a s i o n s , or p e r h a p s they feel that a

g a t h e r e d by d u b i o u s m e a n s to be used in civilian c r i m i ­

few h u n d r e d years o f liberal tradition is a s m a l l a n d

nal p r o s e c u t i o n s .

abstract sacrifice to m a k e in e x c h a n g e for a p e r c e i v e d increase in security. However, the g o v e r n m e n t ' s

intercepts

If the g o v e r n m e n t d e c i d e s that it truly n e e d s m o r e

new

intelligence i n f o r m a t i o n in o r d e r to p r e v e n t a m a s s i v e

s n o o p i n g p o w e r s have very real i m p l i c a t i o n s for h o w

and d e a d l y attack, it should h a v e access to this i n f o r m a -

l a w e n f o r c e m e n t will o p e r a t e in this c o u n t r y in the future. T h e Patriot Act a l l o w s law e n f o r c e m e n t

officials

m u c h greater e a s e o f a c c e s s to information that they c o u l d already obtain w i t h a w a r r a n t s h o w i n g p r o b a b l e cause. For example, section 215 grants

the

Department

third-party

the

authority

to

subpoena

Justice

records on terrorist s u s p e c t s w i t h o u t a w a r r a n t . T h i s broad n e w authority c o v e r s e v e r y t h i n g from b u s i n e s s and medical records to library records and web-site v i s ­ its. It is not difficult to fathom h o w this c o u l d b e a seri­

Feingold's rejection of the anti-terror­ ism orthodoxy . . .is actually quite a conservative position. It scoffs at the notion that the government can some­ how use its supernatural powers to solve all of our problems, or to protect us from all harm.

o u s First A m e n d m e n t c o n c e r n : w i t h o u t h a v i n g to s h o w p r o b a b l e c a u s e that a person is e n g a g i n g in c r i m i n a l

tion. Still, s u c h efforts at terror p r e v e n t i o n s h o u l d n e v e r

activity, the FBI can now find out w h a t b o o k s she h a s

c o m e at the e x p e n s e o f the constitutional p r o t e c t i o n s

been reading, w h a t w e b - s i t e s she has b e e n visiting, a n d

that A m e r i c a n c i t i z e n s h a v e long enjoyed. Indeed, in

w h a t p u r c h a s e s she h a s b e e n m a k i n g . Yet, e v e n this

e m e r g e n c y situations, it m a y be c o m p l e t e l y n e c e s s a r y

e x t r a o r d i n a r y p o w e r is a p p a r e n t l y n o t e n o u g h for the

for the a t t o r n e y general to h a v e s o m e broad s u r v e i l l a n c e

a t t o r n e y general, w h o under the P r e s i d e n t ' s n e w p o l i c y

p o w e r s , but t h e s e p o w e r s m u s t be restricted in key

n o w has the a u t h o r i t y

w a y s , so as to p r e s e r v e d u e p r o c e s s . For i n s t a n c e , infor­

to, w i t h o u t judicial

approval,

e a v e s d r o p on c o n v e r s a t i o n s b e t w e e n s u s p e c t e d terrorists

mation

and their l a w y e r s . It is interesting that P r e s i d e n t B u s h

used for p u r p o s e s of terror p r e v e n t i o n only; it w o u l d

did not i n c l u d e this blatant affront to the tradition o f

only be a d m i s s i b l e in c o u r t if the g o v e r n m e n t were to go

attorney-client p r i v i l e g e in the Patriot Act, w h i c h w a s

t h r o u g h proper judicial c h a n n e l s to obtain a warrant.

gathered

under emergency powers could

be

subject to c o n g r e s s i o n a l approval, b u t rather by e x e c u ­ tive order in the form of a "rule" g o v e r n i n g internal oper­ ations in federal prisons. Another

worrisome

3. S t r i v e for m o r e t a r g e t e d a n d o p e n legislation, surveillance, and investigations. Our

provision

o f the Patriot A c t

r e s p o n s e to major terrorist

government's

attacks has not b e e n

to

a l l o w s the g o v e r n m e n t greater access to w i r e t a p s by

e n c o u r a g e a free and open discussion about w h a t o u r

modifying

parts

of

the

1978 Foreign

Intelligence

r e s p o n s e s h o u l d be, but rather to force broadly-targeted

S u r v e i l l a n c e Act ( F I S A ) . Under F1SA, the

government

l a w s onto the b o o k s w h i l e d e n y i n g their r a m i f i c a t i o n s .

has been able to m o n i t o r the c o m m u n i c a t i o n s o f p e r s o n s

T h o u g h attorney g e n e r a l Ashcroft repeatedly insists that

if they are a g e n t s o f a foreign power. Warrants for such

the Patriot Act does little b e y o n d giving him the author­

s u r v e i l l a n c e are g r a n t e d by a secret, r u b b e r - s t a m p F I S A

ity to fight terror as he w o u l d o t h e r crimes, the act itself

court, a p r o c e d u r e w h i c h o b v i o u s l y does n o t o b s e r v e the

is unspecific in m o s t a r e a s , leaving h u g e q u e s t i o n s as to

20

The B r o w n Spectator / A u g u s t 2003


w h a t l a w e n f o r c e m e n t officials m a y do with their n e w

o g n i z e that racial profiling is a c o m m o n - s e n s e l a w

p o w e r s . For e x a m p l e , o n e p r o v i s i o n o f the Patriot A c t

e n f o r c e m e n t tool. E v e n t h o u g h T r a n s p o r t a t i o n S e c r e t a r y

a l l o w s the g o v e r n m e n t to d a t a b a s e D N A from any per­

N o r m M i n e t t a b e l i e v e s that w e s h o u l d be c o m f o r t e d by

son c o n v i c t e d o f a "crime o f violence." E v e n if y o u think

equally

this is a g o o d idea, w h y s h o u l d it be i n c l u d e d in "emer­

J a p a n e s e w o m e n , this sort of i n d i s c r i m i n a t e p o l i c y cer­

tough

airport

scrutiny

for A r a b

men

and

gency" anti-terrorism l e g i s l a t i o n ?

tainly d o e s not m a k e us safer.

T h e w i r e t a p p r o v i s i o n s o f the Patriot A c t are also quite b r o a d . B e c a u s e the law m a k e s w a r r a n t

require­

CONCLUSION

m e n t s so lax and l o w e r s the s t a n d a r d s for a l l o w i n g sur­ veillance, there is n o reason to believe that the g o v e r n ­

D e s p i t e w a r n i n g s raised in the p r e c e d i n g

points,

ment will restrict its use of such b r o a d p o w e r s to fight­

there are g o o d r e a s o n s for o p t i m i s m in this t o u g h time

ing t e r r o r i s m .

for the A m e r i c a n R e p u b l i c . O u r s y s t e m g e n e r a l l y pro­

Indeed,

the a n n u a l

"Wiretap R e p o r t " that

vides us with s u c h sufficient c h e c k s that the p e n d u l u m

fewer than a fifth o f o n e percent of all wiretaps are for

s w i n g s the o t h e r w a y before too long. O u r P r e s i d e n t and

detailing d o m e s t i c electronic s u r v e i l l a n c e s h o w s

any offense that c o u l d b e c o n s i d e r e d related to terror­

most o f his a d m i n i s t r a t i o n have, to all o u t w a r d

ism, w h i l e a b o u t 75 percent are for drug cases. T h i s is

ances, handled

exactly the s u r v e i l l a n c e authority that the Patriot Act

p r i n c i p l e in the face of an e x t r e m e l y difficult set o f cir­

has e x p a n d e d .

transfer

c u m s t a n c e s . Yet w e m u s t realize that w e are setting the

service, has b e e n put on n o t i c e by a Missouri p r o s e c u t o r

t o n e for y e a r s to c o m e , a n d that the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l issues

that it is n o w in v i o l a t i o n of the Patriot A c t b y p r o c e s s ­

w e deal with are not distant and theoretical, b u t v e r y

ing funds from o n l i n e g a m b l i n g operations. A s D a v e

real, w i t h v e r y real i m p l i c a t i o n s for h o w w e live our

Kopel o f the I n d e p e n d e n c e Institute rightly w a r n s on

lives. W e s h o u l d a l s o fall b a c k on the c o n s e r v a t i v e prin­

National R e v i e w O n l i n e , "If w e w a n t to give the federal

ciples that h a v e taught us that m o r e g o v e r n m e n t is not

government

a l w a y s the a n s w e r (in t i m e s o f crisis or n o t ) , and that

E v e n P a y p a l , an online cash

vast n e w s u r v e i l l a n c e p o w e r s for

drug,

appear­

t h e m s e l v e s with e x t r e m e resolve and

pornography, and g a m b l i n g l a w s , then let us h a v e a full

good intentions d o not n e c e s s a r i l y m a k e for g o o d l a w s .

and o p e n d e b a t e on the subject, and n o t d e c e i v e our­

In a n y event, a p r i n c i p l e d , un-frenzied d e b a t e on the

selves with the n o t i o n that this e x p a n s i o n is part o f

i m p l i c a t i o n s of g o v e r n m e n t anti-terror p o l i c y s h o u l d

fighting terrorism."

insure that w e c o n t i n u e to live u n d e r a g o v e r n m e n t o f

Furthermore,

we

must

adopt

a

targeted

and

laws, and not o f men.

approach to terror m a n a g e m e n t when it c o m e s to m a t ­ ters o f i m m i g r a t i o n and s u r v e i l l a n c e of c e r t a i n ethnic groups. T h i s d o e s not m e a n militarizing the U . S . - M e x i c o border, a p r o p o s i t i o n that would u n d o u b t e d l y end up an expensive

failure, n o t to m e n t i o n

a bloodbath

for

M e x i c a n illegals. N o r d o e s it m e a n h o l d i n g INS d e p o r t a ­ tion h e a r i n g s in secret while s o m e are detained

for

months or even y e a r s on technical i m m i g r a t i o n v i o l a ­ tions. It requires s i m p l y that i m m i g r a t i o n officials

do

their j o b by k e e p i n g track o f p e o p l e from at-risk c o u n ­ tries w h o e n t e r the U n i t e d States, and m a k i n g sure these people are d o i n g w h a t they c l a i m . T h i s requires no n e w legislation; i n d e e d , m o s t o f the S e p t e m b e r 11 hijackers should h a v e b e e n d e n i e d visas based on the i n c o m p l e t e information in their a p p l i c a t i o n s . Finally, w e s h o u l d rec­

Conservative? Liberal? Questioning?

Write for the Spectator. Spectator @ B rown.edu T h e B r o w n Spectator / August 2003

21


FEATURE

The Myth of the Wealthiest One Percent The Fundamentals of Supply-side Economics By Eric Neuman

for tax collectors and bureaucrats. These people do not

A rising tide lifts all boats. - Jack K e m p

significantly contribute to society's well-being. Instead, President B u s h ' s tax plan has been routinely criticized for

every bureaucrat supported by tax dollars means that

giving tax cuts to the rich —especially the "wealthiest one

society has fewer goods that make people's lives more

percent." W h i l e both sides of the political divide continue

comfortable and fewer technologies that allow people to

to argue as to exactly w h o gets the largest break by

pursue other goals that enrich our lives.

B u s h ' s tax cuts, the central issue is often missed: a tax cut

T h e second reason why private spending is preferable to

given to any group ultimately benefits all groups.

government spending is because government spending is

First, it should be noted that the government cannot give

not efficient. This claim is rarely disputed. On the whole,

w h a t it first has not taken away. This point calls for a revi­

individuals are going to look after their m o n e y better

sion of the language we employ in our tax-cut d e b a t e s -

than s o m e o n e else w h o is spending another person's

according to this reasoning, government is not giving

m o n e y on yet another third person. Nearly everyone

a n y o n e a tax break; instead it is simply taking less away.

understands that the incentives are such that government

W h e n the people have more of the m o n e y they have

wastes more money than private individuals.

earned, they have t w o choices of h o w they spend it — the t w o choices are simply either to s a v e or c o n s u m e . And when the people save, they buy s o m e good that gives a promise to have s o m e future price, which fluctuates with s o m e risk. T h e buyer is better off because he n o w o w n s the good. Also, if the seller using the product is saving as well, he is better off because he has taken risk at s o m e time in the past and has now money to dispense as he

Finally, if the government is not spending the money, it is

pleases. If the seller is a c o m p a n y trying to raise funds,

redistributing it through welfare and other social service

the c o m p a n y is better off because it is now allowed to join

programs, engendering a form of radical egalitarianism

in a n e w venture, which could mean employing more

that does little to inspire individual initiative. The lower-

people and creating more wealth.

taxes approach helps productivity by encouraging people

On the other hand, when people consume, they increase

to work longer. People who make more money per h o u r

demand. T h i s increased d e m a n d temporarily raises

have more incentive to work more. In other words, tax­

prices, which encourages c o m p a n i e s to expand their pro­

ing people less is equivalent to paying them more, there­

duction, thereby encouraging more production and more

by encouraging them to work harder.

employment.

Whatever society identifies as its objectives, increased

This argument is normally answered with the retort that

productivity resulting from lower taxes creates more

government spending can also increase demand. In a

wealth for society to allow it to pursue these goals.

sense, this is true. Government spending can encourage

Greater wealth not only enhances the financial well-being

production and employ many people. Private spending,

of its direct beneficiaries, but it also reinforces the eco­

however, is better than government spending for two rea­

nomic standing of those whose jobs derive from healthy

sons: the creation of wealth and efficiency. When govern­

levels of consumption and saving. But the advantages of

ment spends other people's money, m a n y of the jobs that

lower taxes, a smaller government, and accelerated pri­

are created do not involve producing economic goods

vate-sector e c o n o m i c activity ultimately extend to the

that make people better off. In the private sector, the jobs

most important purposes of social organization. For eco­

produce food, entertainment, clothing and other things

nomic prosperity translates into p o w e r —the p o w e r for a

that make people wealthier. W h e n g o v e r n m e n t spends

society to act on its conceptions of order and justice and

other people's money, many of the new job positions are

fulfill its sense of destiny in world affairs.

22

T h e B r o w n Spectator / A u g u s t 2003


What Lies Beneath South America and the War on Terrorism By Matthew W. Jackson

A

s the world's attention draws a w a y from the Iraqi conflict, South America may loom large on the horizon for terror­ ist g r o u p s or other countries intent u p o n proliferating ter­ rorism by strengthening their ties to certain political regimes on the continent. Allies o f S a d d a m Hussein, Libya, Cuba, terrorist groups, or S o u t h A m e r i c a n guerillas may use terrorism and polit­ ical unrest to maintain p o w e r in 2003 and destabilize m u c h of South A m e r i c a in the process. Take the current political situation in Venezuela as an e x a m ­ ple. Since his election as president of Venezuela in 1 9 9 9 , Hugo C h a v e z took m e a s u r e s to e x p a n d his presidential p o w e r s by diluting the legislative and judicial powers o f Venezuela. Despite an attempted military coup and a general, nation-wide strike last­ ing two months, C h a v e z maintained his control over Venezuela as his popularity p l u m m e t e d along with the e c o n o m y - h i s only support c a m e from the urban poor, a relatively n e w and signifi­ cant c o m p o n e n t of the electorate. His o p p o n e n t s are attempting to bring about a referendum on his rule this fall, and rather than face an election, C h a v e z may i m p o s e an autocratic rule on Venezuela and use his ties to hostile countries and terrorist groups as political leverage to remain in power. T h e Venezuelan National A s s e m b l y started negotiations for an early recall election in N o v e m b e r as a referendum to deter­ mine whether or not C h a v e z should remain in power; however, as the Wall Street journal reported this past March, m a n y fear that "the debate could go on indefinitely, postponing hopes for elec­ tions." While G r a v D a v i s may have the Terminator to contend with in his own recall battle, the fragmented opposition in Venezuela has neither charismatic candidates nor a united front for future elections. Despite the s e e m i n g c h a o s unfolding in the California recall, Californians have an ultimate recourse absent in Venezuela, the rule of law. C h a v e z insists he won't resign, regard­ less of the election's outcome, and he claims his presidency advances a "Bolivarian revolution" that is a "military-civilian regime whose purpose is to break decisively with representative democracy." S u c h o m i n o u s statements d o n ' t bode well for Venezuelan democracy, but C h a v e z ' s ties to terrorist groups and their sponsor states could prove dangerous to the United States and stability in the Western Hemisphere. C h a v e z ' s "Bolivarian revolution" e m p l o y s "Bolivarian cir­ cles," d e a d l y paramilitary groups armed by C h a v e z . International terrorist g r o u p s a l s o r e c e i v e s u p p o r t from Venezuela; a V e n e z u e l a n tourist Island in the C a r i b b e a n , Margarita, may be used to shelter and raise funds for terrorist groups such as H a m a s and Hezbollah, according to the Economist. Venezuela declared itself neutral in C o l o m b i a ' s ongoing civil war with leftist revolutionaries such as F A R C and ELN amid rumors such guerilla groups operate and train in Venezuela with little resistance from the military and intelligence services. Infuriated locals along the Venezuela-Columbia border m a k e claims that, at best, the g o v e r n m e n t turns a blind e y e to nefarious activities along the border and, at worst, assists leftists revolutionaries against right-wing paramilitaries.

If C h a v e z resists both a referendum and calls to resign, he m a y implement his "Bolivarian revolution" to remain in power. Rather than following the e x a m p l e of a fellow leftist and peaceful reformer in Brazil, Lula da Silva, it is likely that C h a v e z m a y e m p l o y various military, intelligence and educational m e t h o d s to transform his g o v e r n m e n t into a despotic regime with help from agents of Cuba, Libya, and Iraq according to the Wall Street journal's report. (With the fall of the Hussein regime, Iraqi agents may be w e l c o m e to stay in Venezuela indefinitely, teaching m o r e lessons in brutal statecraft.) C u b a n teachers, doctors, and sports instructors, sent by Castro in return for favorable oil exports, n o w "volunteer" around the country. In the face of large n u m b e r s of unemployed professionals, Caracas claims that domestic profes­ sionals lack the c o m m u n i t y spirit necessary to work a m o n g the impoverished. C o m m u n i t y spirit aside, what Venezuela needs least is a tutorial in e c o n o m i c s from the Cubans. Yet they are receiving just that. All e c o n o m i c indicators show a contracting economy, decreased oil exports, price and w a g e controls forcing business to sell at less than cost, and a miserable e c o n o m y that only s e e m s c a p a b l e o f declining into misery. r

As discord and strife slow ly unfold into a h u m a n tragedy in South A m e r i c a , the United States must realize that threats to its security can arise anvwhere poverty, failed e c o n o m i c reform, and angry populist ideals flourish. Instead of viewing us as a nation of infidels, C h a v e z and his cronies typecast A m e r i c a as lousy imperialists. Unfortunately such attitudes have not g o n e unno­ ticed by g r o u p s with no q u a l m s about violence or the American deaths. T h e proliferation of terrorism in South A m e r i c a , fueled by a lucrative drug trade, cannot be ignored as g o v e r n m e n t s else­ where a t t e m p t to hunt terrorists in collusion with A m e r i c a n forces. If such groups follow the past of least resistance, they may take refuge in Venezuela. Just as the S e p t e m b e r 11 hijackers plot­ ted in cities across Europe, the planning of future attacks could occur in Caracas. T h e possibility of such cannot be ignored by an American g o v e r n m e n t claiming to be vigilant in the face of con­ tinued terrorism. C h a v e z could threaten to expand ties to terror­ ist groups and their state sponsors as leverage against diplomat­ ic interventions by the United States in addition to any threats he could m a k e regarding our oil supply from his country. Such actions would greatly complicate the United States' war on terror beneath the equator and destabilize m u c h of South America, n o w in a precarious financial and political situation, create an entire region of failed governments, and turn South A m e r i c a into a con­ tinent of chaos. Further Reading " A m a z i n g S h r i n k i n g President," Vie Economist, D e c e m b e r 14, 2 0 0 2 " W h y Can't the CIA Tell U s M o r e A b o u t Hugo's Plotting?" Wall Street Journal, March 1 4 , 2 0 0 3 "A lack of clarity o n terror," Tlw Economist, March 15, 2 0 0 3 "Another Cuba?" Tlie Economist, July 10, 2 0 0 3

T h e B r o w n Spectator / August 2003

23


UBI DUB1UM IBI LI BERT AS

The Brown Spectator: August 2003  

Featuring: A Letter to the Incoming Freshman, Safety Post-9/11, Unpatriotic Acts, The Myth of the Wealthiest 1%, and The War on Terrorism in...

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