Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Statist Anti-Terrorism Act

The extension of the Anti-Terrorism Act being discussed in parliament hoists the Liberals on their own petard, for now they speak out in favour of 'liberalism' defending civil liberties as paramount, while the Conservatives speak in favour of totalitarianism; ie. law and order.

Once upon a time five years ago the Liberals too spoke in favour of totalitarianism, they embraced law and order and to hell with civil liberties.

Former Liberal justice minister Anne McLellan defended them this way: "And that's why preventive arrest is in this package. We have to look at stopping these people before they get on those planes and put them through the World Trade Centre."

Of course the Liberals have a history of defending statist totalitarianism squashing civil liberties in Canada with the War Measures Act. Today they find themselves opposing the extension of their own terrorism act only because they are Her Majesty's Official Opposition, and it is the Gnu Conservative Government that wants to extend the act.

The Liberal shift surprised national-security experts, who were expecting an extension to sail through Parliament. "I'm shocked," said Craig Forcese, an expert in national-security law at the University of Ottawa. "They were pretty enthused about it while in government."

Only the NDP has been principled and consistent on this issue since WWII, taking the unpopular stance of opposing the War as the CCF. Opposing the War Measures Act in 1970 and opposing the Liberals Anti-Terrorism Act. Because they are civil libertarians, and because they do not and have not held state power.

The State can never be truly liberal, for once it is threatened it reveals itself to be what it is armed force in defense of property and the propertied classes. Hence the Law and Order State which is what the Harpocrites are advocating.

Whether crime is really on the increase, it isn't, or whether there really is a terrorist threat in Canada, there isn't. But there is the appearance of crime being out of control, thanks to the government saying so. There is an appearance of a terrorist threat, thanks to the government saying so. That does NOT make it so.

The rule of law, which emanates from the state, has the right then to declare when to pass an “exception” violating the rights of a given number of individuals. And it is at this specific moment that politicians call “practical exception,” when the link and resemblance between totalitarianism and liberalism gets clearer as to develop into the same nature: liberalism becomes totalitarianism.

That the Liberals are hypocrites is a given, for they oppose the very act they introduced, and their actions resulted in the detention and torture of Canadians abroad, the building of the secret prison in Kingston which currently holds three detainees without right to habeas corpus. And when they invoked the War Measures Act in 1970, they claimed it was because 'of an apprehended insurrection', that is the State thought it was facing an insurrection. It wasn't.

Given the armed powers and nature of the State it becomes totalitarian when it feels threatened. Not because it is actually threatened. And it has nothing to do with defending our rights, our property or person, it has to do with the fact that the State itself feels threatened. It is the State which acts to curtail our rights for the good of the State, claiming that this also for the 'public' good for the good for its citizens. It isn't.

while the law wants to prevent and prescribe, security wants to intervene in ongoing processes to direct them. In a word, discipline wants to produce order, while security wants to guide disorder…security imposes itself as the basic principle of state activity. What used to be one among several decisive measures of public administration until the first half of the twentieth century, now becomes the sole criterion of political legitimation.

A state which has security as its only task and source of legitimacy is a fragile organism; it can always be provoked by terrorism to turn itself terroristic…the difference between state and terrorism threatens to disappear…In the end it may lead to security and terrorism forming a single deadly system in which they mutually justify and legitimate each others' actions





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1 comment:

Mike said...

Well said Eugene.