Friday, July 08, 2005

Is the Conspiracy Real? Part I

Yesterday, terrorists struck the London subway and a double-decker bus, killing more than 35 {update, 52 as of Wednesday, July 13} and injuring dozens of others. We (at DownsizeDC.org) had a Downsizer-Dispatch email message, dealing with our response to the Kelo/eminent domain decision by the Supreme Court, planned for Tuesday. But we put if off till Wednesday for internal reasons. But as we looked at it for Wednesday, we decided it needed significant work, and so we decided to edit it and release it Thursday.

And the news Thursday morning was dominated by the attack in London. We decided once more, that a hurried re-write of the message was necessary. We couldn’t pretend like nothing happened and we had no idea what to expect in terms of how the public was going to respond to this. For example, would Kelo even matter now that this happened? …would folks still be angry about the Supreme Court's decision?

So we sent a message titled, “Panic and Insanity and Focus.” Most of the message was about Kelo. But here is what I said about the attacks of that morning:
DC Downsizers have asked for action on the Kelo decision and we've been preparing to provide that. I was going to write you about it this morning. Then I turned on the news and learned about the London terror bombings.

It makes me angry. Angry at the terrorists. Angry at what I fear may follow.

The terrorists may win again, just like they did after 9/11. Wait a minute: Did I say the terrorists won after 9/11? Well, I believe they did, because they gave our government an excuse to do violence against the rights and prosperity of the American people.

Nearly everything our government did in response to 9/11 was harmful and ineffective. Airport security is still insecure (shoes screened but cargo not), but travel by air has become a nightmare for millions and airlines are in financial distress. Federal spending and deficits have soared. Vast new bureaucracies have been created. National ID cards and other intrusions have been created, one after another.

And we are no safer than before, neither will we be, because so-called government solutions for anything are nearly always incompetent and destructive, because terrorists, kind of like evil entrepreneurs, will always be quicker and smarter than big governments.

What should government do about terrorism? It should discard all of the un-Constitutional functions it has assumed to itself, and focus on defending us by catching terrorists. Not by curtailing the rights of Americans, but by developing human intelligence and disrupting and capturing terror cells. I think it really is that simple. If the federal government did not do so much, it might be able to do a better job at its core function of national defense.

Do I expect this to happen? Not anytime soon, but I fear such reform will be longer delayed by the response to the latest terror attack. I fear Americans will forget things like the Kelo decision, and once again rush to give more power and money to Washington to use poorly, even destructively.

And we still need to Downsize DC! We must remain focused on that.
From there, the message went on to elaborate about both our Kelo-specific plans and the need to develop a long-term plan for the U.S. Supreme Court.

But what was interesting was the feedback. There was a large amount of it. And one common theme came in again, and again, and again – the belief that elements of our government or a shadow government were responsible for 9-11 and/or the London attacks.

This was interesting to me. I was surprised that so many people believed our government wasn’t just incompetent, but outright complicit. In a future message, I’ll share with you my response to these folks.

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