JEREMIAD

By William Markiewicz

Congress Gives Bush Broad New Powers
Many Rights in US Legal System Taken Away in New Bill
House Approves Warrantless Wiretap Law
(Antiwar.com Sept.29)

It is well known, and nobody objects, that in all systems during wartime many of freedom's privileges go into storage. War and democracy simply donít coexist well. In wartime, restrictions imposed for the security of the country automatically diminish civil rights; one feels less secure if by saying or doing this and that you may become an enemy of the state. In authoritarian countries, obedience to power is the number one duty of each citizen. The difference between a citizen in a dictatorship and a citizen in a democracy at war is minimized. Uneasiness about breaking the law hangs over everyoneís head.

Citizens in free countries are so used to their freedoms that they take them for granted and are less vigilant and less propense to rebel. Nobody revolted during McCarthyism and millions who demonstrated throughout the free world against recent wars didnít move a little finger when their demonstrations were just ignored by the authorities.

The Bush administrationís growth in power is probably unprecedented in the history of the USA. Bush wants to govern by fear. He induces fear in his enemies when he legally deprives them of human and civil rights and imperceptibly the fear may boomerang to the rest of society. Right or wrong, I assume that the desire for liberty is just ebbing, as in domesticated cattle. New dangers are appearing on the horizon; we hear constantly about global warming and pollution, we're warned about genetic engineering. As it isnít a fast acting poison, people just get used to it. So death and ill health become more and more a matter of statistics and less a matter for rebellion.

We donít really know how or why the Roman Empire declined. History drastically changed its course, and other younger, more primitive civilizations took power. Today's growth of authority may signify the start of a slow fall of the great and powerful toward we don't know yet what. Can we ever go back to the Enlightenment and its freedoms? Each generation gains something new through technology, and loses something in many aspects because of the declining freedom, climatic changes, pollution, genetic engineering with its highly uncontrollable and unpredictable results. We know it but we become used to it. What will be the final result? Planet of the apes? Science fiction has a great opportunity to go wild. For instance, the unbelievable compositions in genetic engineering; by putting genes together where they have never been before, including human genes into plants, etc., it may finally explode in some anarchic genetic combinations. Maybe creatures that didnít exist before will appear; maybe everything can mix with everything; plants with animals, humans with animals and plants... Hieronymus Bosch himself could be left behind. Probably no intelligence can appear in this mixture.

With humanity partly sluggish in one place, fundamentalist in other places, dictatorships unknown since Caligula and prince Dracula of Transylvania may arise. All this starting now, catalysed by the noble fight against global terror....!

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