"At a time when we are fighting terrorism abroad," eructated the squalid mass of corruption known as Ted Kennedy, "the United States Senate says, `We are going to fight terrorism, hatred and bigotry here at home.'"
The instrument chosen to carry out this domestic "anti-terrorism" campaign is a "hate crimes" measure appended to the defense authorization bill. In predictably manipulative fashion, the measure was named for murder victim Matthew Shepard, a diminutive college freshman who was savagely beaten to death about a decade ago by a couple of deranged bullies in Laramie, Wyoming. Because Shepard was a homosexual, he has been consecrated as a martyr to the cause of "gay rights," and the hideous crime committed against him depicted as a symbolic indictment of the attitude ignorantly and dishonestly called "homophobia."
Republicans from the White House down opposed the amendment, more out of a desire to palliate the GOP's Evangelical constituency than an honest concern over constitutional principle. The chief complaint was that the amendment endangers the "defense"* bill, since it might trigger a presidential veto. (I know -- I'll wait for the derisive laughter to subside.)
The Republicans understand that they have to pantomime outrage over the bill, but after a news cycle or two they'll almost certainly drop the pretense.
This little melodrama illustrates anew something we can't be too frequently reminded of: There is no material difference between the two branches of the Establishment Party at the wholesale level.
At the retail level -- where earnest but mistaken citizens honestly believe that the Jackass and Pachyderm are mortal enemies divided by irreducible conflicts over tangible principles -- there are significant differences of worldview. Thus anti-war activists invest their hopes in the Democrats, and social conservatives look on the Republicans as all but anointed by God.
When it comes down to cases, however, the Democrats are always willing to fund killing abroad in order to expand the machinery of social engineering at home, and the Republicans are always indecently eager to do the reverse.
The two branches of the Establishment party are joined in a totalitarian entente, one of them promoting militarism abroad and police state coercion at home, the other pushing wealth redistribution and social engineering everywhere. Granted, the dichotomy isn't absolute, and each branch dabbles in the other's metier -- something about which I'll have more to say anon. But as a matter of "branding," the division of labor described above is pretty reliable.
And the dialectical synthesis of these two varieties of statism is a bigger, bloodier, costlier and more invasive welfare/warfare/social engineering state that is literally at war with the American people.
Recall Kennedy's words about the federal hate crimes law: "`We are going to fight terrorism, hatred, and bigotry here at home.'"
This isn't a promise merely to enlist law enforcement in an effort to combat violent crime. That statement should be taken as nothing less than a threat to make war on those of us whose views of homosexuality -- newly enshrined as a protected federal category for the purposes of hate crimes enforcement -- are shaped by the Bible.
The entire hate crimes concept is innately totalitarian, in that it addresses individual values and attitudes and proscribes those deemed unsuitable by society's self-appointed supervisors.
The key distinction between authoritarian and totalitarian states is that despotisms of the latter variety claim jurisdiction over the minds of their subjects. "Laws" enacted by such regimes regulate individual beliefs and attitudes, which are subject to the scrutiny of enforcement bodies. The subjects themselves are liable to punishment and "correction" should they persist in holding opinions deemed to be "anti-social" by those in charge of the regime.
A couple of generations ago, liberal Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter brushed up against that distinction, writing in his dissent from the ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: "Law is concerned with external behavior, and not with the inner life of man."
Defining the motives of a suspect can aid a criminal investigation and convince a jury; this is a proper role for police authorities. Punishing the motive, rather than the crime, is not; it is a task carried out by what C.S. Lewis called "official straighteners" -- agents of a therapeutic totalitarianism, secret police empowered to tear windows into the souls of men through coercion and rearrange their values to suit a ruling elite.
We have reason to believe that "official straighteners" would be plentiful and very busy during the reign of President Rodham-Clinton, should such a fate be visited upon us.
Significantly, while Kennedy and his ilk are expanding the powers of official attitude control here at home, the Bush Regime is doing the same business abroad. The Washington Post has reported that occupation authorities in Iraq are waging war in the "battlefield of the mind" against detainees, seeking to "bend them back to our will," in the words of Gen. Douglas Stone, commander of detention facilities there.
Those who accept "religious enlightenment" are recommended for release, Gen. Stone explains. Those deemed to be "irreconcilables" -- you know, people who take irrational and inexplicable offense over a foreign occupation of their country and don't readily take dictation in religious matters from the invaders -- are to be "put ... away" permanently.
Don't be too surprised if the administration of our next elected dictator tries to adapt the same method for dealing with "irreconcilables" here at home.
Be sure to check out The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.
*"Defense" is a misnomer, of course, given that the present military establishment is not configured to defend the United States, and hasn't been since ... well, 1846 or thereabouts.