Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo, a Republican presidential hopeful, is the House's most conspicuous advocate of border enforcement. He is also a stalwart defender of the Warfare/Homeland Security State.
Last September, Tancredo voted in favor of both the Military Commissions Act – which destroyed the habeas corpus guarantee – and a “reform” of the Insurrection Act that gives the president the power to use the National Guard as his personal army. Interestingly, Tancredo is also a devoted supporter of Iran's so-called Iranian People's Mujahadeen (MEK), a bizarre terrorist cult whose official ideology is a fusion of Marxism and Sufism. The Warmakers in and around the Bush Regime have embraced the MEK as an ally in the low-intensity war underway between Washington and Tehran.
It seems to me that people genuinely concerned about border security would be wary of cultivating foreign wars, which inevitably generate streams of refugees and an appetite for retaliation – both of which are bad for the cause of secure borders. Thus it appears to me, at least, that Rep. Tancredo's positions are in conflict – unless his focus is on empowering Washington at all hazards, in which case his apparently contradictory positions would make some sense.
I've made this point before, but it bears repeating: The movement-wide conservative obsession with immigration reflects a successful effort to seduce “limited government” activists into supporting the creation of a garrison state -- and Tom Tancredo embodies that order of priorities perfectly.
Former Congressman Bob Barr recently made the same point in a Washington Times op-ed column referring to efforts by Tancredo and other House Republicans to pass legislation “prohibiting financial institutions from extending mortgages to anyone who cannot establish their bona fides by producing a valid Social Security number.”
Does anybody else remember – perhaps through a glaze of sepia-tinted nostalgia – that bygone era when conservative Republicans opposed the use of Social Security numbers as a de facto national identification number? Barr does, and he criticized Republican congressmen for trying to compel “private financial institutions to do the heavy lifting of combating illegal immigration because government has failed in its responsibility to properly police and monitor our borders.”
“Where, for example, will the mandates they seek – forcing businesses to determine if a person is in this country lawfully before extending credit or selling a product for which that person is otherwise eligible – be next applied?” continues Barr. “Will a bill be introduced that prohibits automobile dealers from selling a motor vehicle to anyone who cannot produce a valid Social Security card? Will landlords be forced to rent their property only to those who possess a Social Security card? Would it not make just as much sense for these advocates to require presentation of a Social Security card prior to bedding down for the night at a local Marriott?”
What Barr is describing through illustration here is a foundational principle in every surveillance society: The government must compel its subjects to act as the eyes and ears of the State. Embraced with a passion by most of the Establishment-led Right after 9-11, that principle is attracting new converts now thanks to concerns over border security.
Likewise, many of those limited government conservatives who kept their wits about them when 9-11 inspired calls for creation of an even larger “national security” leviathan have surrendered now that the police state pretext du jour is the immigration crisis.
The Denver Post points out that the new “immigration control” campaign has led to “the biggest border prison boom in decades [and created] the federal government's larges enforcement arm” -- the latter being the expanded Border Patrol, which is now an appendage of the Department of Homeland Security.
Dozens of new federal prosecutors are being hired to prosecute immigration cases. Thousands of armed federal enforcement agents are being hired and trained. Huge sums of taxpayer money are being sluiced into the coffers of the Corrections Corporation of America, Geo Group Inc., and other penal system profiteers.
All of these assets and personnel, it should be remembered, are fungible. The newly hired federal prosecutors targeting Mexican agricultural workers today could very easily be tasked tomorrow to prosecute American citizens for violating some arcane provision of the tax code or some exotic permutation of the Patriot Act. Border Patrol Agents could be seconded to other federal agencies – say, the Marshals Service in the event that muscle is needed to back up the Selective Service when the draft is reinstated. Prison spaces now filled by immigrant families could come in quite handy if the Regime decides it needs to deal roughly with dissidents or draft resisters.
For supporters of the new border initiatives, “it's a long-overdue effort to establish the rule of law,” notes the Post; “for foes, it's a slow militarization built on prison shackles and razor wire.”
Which view is accurate? That depends on whether we assume that it's possible to cast out Beelzebub by the power of Beelzebub, since the same regime that has brought us torture, military tribunals, executive rule through “signing statements,” illegal domestic surveillance, and other garrison state innovations is building the new “border security” regime.
Not your Daddy's idea of Border Security: U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit 311 trains at Camp Lejune, N.C.
It is irrational to believe that the same Leviathan state that waging war on liberty both at home and abroad can be trusted to use these expanded powers only for the purpose of securing our borders. We should view the DHS as America's embryonic Cheka, an assumption fully warranted by both its structure and widespread corruption. It's worth recalling, once again, that the Soviet Cheka had a large, well-armed, and very competent Border Guards Directorate – and the Soviet Union had no problem with illegal immigration.
Too many on the Right – I'm irresistibly tempted to call them Chekist Conservatives – are abetting our descent into unalloyed despotism in the name of border security. That cohort includes, alas, some people for whom I've had great respect and affection.
Shortly before I underwent an involuntary career change last October, one of my associates – a JBS official who is involved in defining that organization's agenda – explained to me in an e-mail why fighting the creation of an American Reich simply wasn't a priority for the Society:
“If a police state happens in America, and we are unable to stop it, which version do you think will be worse: 100 million Americans armed to the teeth within a walled-in country fighting against a corrupt regime? Or a tri-national police state [through the so-called North American Union] that has folded in the Mexican government and drug cartels ... into the Department of Homeland Security, with more terrorists flowing in across Latin American borders from elsewhere? Which one would you prefer taking your chances with? We don’t want either, but I go back to what I said to you elsewhere. We have a chance at winning the immigration issue and in the process drawing a lot of people to our ranks (even if the Repubs are cynically exploiting it to their own advantage), which will allow us to have more influence to stop the police state from fully blossoming.”
Why a "walled-in" police state would permit us to keep our firearms to fight the "corrupt regime" it was created to protect, my friend didn't say. Nor did he explain how it would be possible to "win" on "the immigration issue" -- as "victory" is currently defined -- without actively abetting the growth of the very police state that would suffocate what remains of our liberty. If we lose on the police state "issue," we get all of the horrors my friend describes -- and others too gruesome to describe.
It must be said: The statement quoted above (which wasn't shared with the Society's membership at large) is the authentic voice of collaboration. Every collaborator insists that he is working within the system to bring it down, and disavows the actions of more radical elements who actually take the fight to the enemy.
Most collaborators have surrendered after the State has begun to exercise its consolidated powers; in this case we see preemptive capitulation as a cynical marketing strategy. What is really painful about this particular example is that we still have a chance (an infinitesimal one, to be sure) to abort the creation of an American Reich before it comes to term, and the only alternative to outright servitude would be a gallant but doomed recourse to arms.
Chekist conservatives are more interested in building up the State than in preserving constitutional freedom. And the sad truth is that you can't expect leadership for freedom from collaborators.
Please be sure to visit The Right Source -- a collaborator-free zone for freedom-centered news, commentary, Kevin Shannon's radio program, and -- brand new! -- our Action Agenda for citizen activism.