This is the Kind of Argument That Drives Libertarians Nuts

I was just floored at Glenn Greenwald's defense of the recent DHS report that

defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

His defense of this report is apologetically that you did it to us, now we are going to do it to you.  Or, more succinctly as he put it in the title of his post, that conservatives reap what they sow.  Or even more simply, in the language of a student explaining a fight to a teacher, "they started it."

This is just unbelievably cynical.  What happened to principled opposition of infringements of individual rights?  What about us libertarians, who are singled out equally as terrorism suspects for holding beliefs similar to those of Thomas Jefferson, but who did criticized Bush as well?  Jeez, this is just so schoolyard, like a bunch of silly kids shouting that the other guy dissed them first.  Do you Democrats and Republicans ever listen to yourselves?  I could take Greenwald's rant on whiny Republicans and substitute only the words "republican and conservative" with "democrat and liberal" and get an identical Free Republic post.  Do you really think this kind of response really answers the issue?

And really, all this is just window dressing for the real issue, the fact that the DHS is spending millions of man-hours creating virtually content-free publications.  I have only skimmed the report, but is there anything here a state or local law enforcement official would find remotely useful?

  • http://evilredscandi.blogspot.com EvilRedScandi

    You have a good point as far as this applies to libertarian-minded folk, but I have enjoyed rubbing the noses of some of my Republican friends in all of this - especially the ones who have supported the various suspensions of civil liberties and privacy rights in the name of the War on Terror or the War on Drugs or whatever. Hint: if you really want to tweak them, use the phrase (in a booming preacher voice) "And now The Chickens.... Are coming home.... to roost!"

  • A. Flood

    I read the article by Greenwald because the last segment of the quotation above scared the shit out of me - "groups that reject federal authority in favor of state/local".

    After reading it the article, I get a totally different impression from the him than your post gave me. I don't think he is defending the report at all and I don't think he is saying "you did it to us, now..." either. This is what I interpreted...

    Explicitly he is drawing attention to the political hypocrisy displayed by the political gasbags, cited in the 2nd ppgraph, now that their party isn't at the wheel. In other words, calling them out because under the last Admin, they supported exactly this kind of bs.

    And implicitly, he is saying...well, wtf did you think was going to happen when you rallied behind Big Brother and the Surveillance State.

    In short, I think Greenwald is on our side.

  • Phil

    Coyote, I am rather surprised and shocked that you took this position. It seems to echo the sentiments you expressed in Statism Comes Back to Bite the Technocrats. This is evidenced by this line:

    When you cheer on a Surveillance State, you have no grounds to complain when it turns its eyes on you. If you create a massive and wildly empowered domestic surveillance apparatus, it's going to monitor and investigate domestic political activity. That's its nature. I'd love to know how many of the participants in today's right-wing self-victim orgy uttered a peep of protest about any of this, from 2005

    This seems very similar to your criticism of the left for supporting the ban on breast implants while opposing the ban on RU-485. It is also very hypocritical of conservatives to cheer on the DHS, FBI, etc. when they were only harassing towelheads and start hissing when it targets wingnuts.