Not Cynical, Actually; A Realist

by Don Boudreaux on May 13, 2011

in War

Politico reported yesterday that GOP leaders argue that extending the PATRIOT Act is especially important because the killing of Osama bin Laden might inspire retaliatory terrorist attacks against Americans.

Call me cynical, but had Bin Laden not yet been killed or captured, I’m sure that these same GOP leaders would argue that extending the PATRIOT Act is especially important because Osama bin Laden remains on the loose.

Thus the unique danger of declaring war on “terror”: the enemy – being a method rather than an identifiable group of people – is impossible to eradicate completely.  And so the power-hungry in coalition with the paranoid have available an inexhaustible supply of superficially plausible excuses for keeping citizens in a perpetual state of fear, war, surveillance, and suppression.

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Ryan Vann May 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

File this under the “audacity of duh!”

Ken May 13, 2011 at 10:22 am


I’m shocked, SHOCKED that you doubt the sincerity of such esteemed politicians!


Scott A. Robinson May 13, 2011 at 10:34 am

Power and control. That is all the “leaders” of both parties are interested in. That and money.

Don Boudreaux May 13, 2011 at 10:48 am

Yep. They are stationary bandits, whose predatory reign and reach are enhanced by the pathetic fact that at least 99 out of every 100 people romanticize these bandits and their banditry.

Scott A. Robinson May 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

And they’re building a growing to majority electorate that is paid through transfer payments by these “leaders”. It’s no wonder the general public continues to elect them.

Tom May 13, 2011 at 11:11 am

Indeed. So save for a major financial collapse, it’s hard to see how the system will change.

David May 13, 2011 at 11:12 am

when the productive members finally do rebel it will be by ‘not cooperating’ any longer.

As long as those of us who are productive still feel like we have something to lose that won’t happen, not yet, but we’re getting there fast.

Ryan Vann May 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm

99 out of 100 romanticize them? Tolerate, maybe, but most people I know look at the whole enterprise as a sort of necessary evil. In other words, they like their roads and government bread.

Stone Glasgow May 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm

“Government” is as imaginary an idea as a corporation. In the end it is just individuals telling others what to do, and modern governments behave in the same way as ancient religions. Today, people pray to government to save them from misfortune, to smite their enemies, and to shower them with blessings. A few hundred years ago they prayed to an equally imaginary bearded man in the sky.

Slappy McFee May 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm

*Like* — except for the bearded man in the sky shot — my supreme being isn’t bearded

Methinks1776 May 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm

It’s dispiriting watching people attempt to re-ensurf themselves.

Methinks1776 May 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm


Mesa Econoguy May 14, 2011 at 12:23 am











Ok, enough of that….

Richard Stands May 14, 2011 at 12:54 am

As Frankie V wrote,

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”

Seth May 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

And adorning taxpayer funded landmarks with their names.

Methinks1776 May 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Ugh. That’s particularly nauseating.

brotio May 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Yeah, but Sheets Byrd was a Dimocrap, so it’s OK that he was a Kleagle, and Exalted Cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan.

It’s perfectly fitting that there be a Robert C Byrd Center for Racial Justice, and that it house offices for both the Klan and the NAACP. After all, they’re just opposite sides of the same race-baiting, Statist coin.

Methinks1776 May 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm

uh, that’s Grand Kleagle, Brotio.

So typical of you right-wing, Beck-loving, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, tea-baggers to show no respect for the achievements of fine, upstanding white supremacists in the jackass party.

brotio May 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm


Dan May 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm


Mark May 13, 2011 at 11:46 am
danny May 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Holey moley! $1.5 Billion!?!?! That is more than the cost of the Cowboys new stadium.

Also, why do they need 1 million square feet of space for 200 employees going forward?

Ryan Vann May 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Must be a DOD contract. Those things are always ridiculously fat.

OFF TOPIC CAPS LOCK May 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm

We have met the enemy, and he is us. WALT KELLY.

Deseret means honeybee in Mormonian. What good might have come from Utah and before that from Nauvoo IL if Joseph Smith hadn’t been massacred by a painted mob in Nauvoo IL.

Lots of war propaganda, that religious freedom truly is. YODA

GP Hanner May 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Let’s start turning the tide by disbanding TSA.

Tom May 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Won’t happen. One bomb gets through and it’ll be TSA x10 next time around.

Harold Cockerill May 14, 2011 at 7:31 am

They let would be murderers through all the time. It’s just that lately all them have been really incompetent. Passengers now have no sense of humor when bearded guys yell God is great and rush the cockpit door,

Anotherphil May 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

And who will then have the authority to molest nuns and five year olds in the ongoing effort to catch middle-eastern, radicalized malkes between the ages of 20 and 40?

Scott G May 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Great point Don.

Those that have power, will try to stay in power by coming up with just about any explanation that helps them stay in power.

Will they ever stop trying to get and keep power? If not, we will always have to point out their stupid explanations so that they can’t get too much power.

It’s a real part time job keep up with these f*!&#%s.

danphillips May 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I just read a report that the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled a citizen is not allowed to resist entry into his home – even an illegal entry! – by the police. Your letter, coupled with that report, makes this Friday the 13th seem particularly disheartening.

Anotherphil May 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

There’s an old Latin expression about the judge being “the mouthpiece” of the law.. apparently, the subtext is they just make it up as they go along… after a while, you realize the bar association is corrupt enterprise, and justice is anything that enhances the power, prestige and wealth of lawyers.

But don’t worry, the Fourth Amendment is already dead courtesy of Kelo…

TheMichaelOnline May 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm

“inexhaustible supply of superficially plausible excuses for keeping citizens in a perpetual state of fear, war, surveillance, and suppression”

Secession, non-American militarism, domestic economic restructuring and/or success, domestic and/or foreign communists, economically successful foreigners, domestic and/or foreign anti-U.S. terrorists and so on and on.

Dan May 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Not to mention, the ever expanding definition of what constitutes ‘terror’.

Richard Stands May 14, 2011 at 12:58 am

America: Land of the regulated and home of the terrified.

Mesa Econoguy May 14, 2011 at 12:29 am

The huge libertarian conflict here is 1) Bin Laden apparently was killed using intelligence from rendition, quasi-illegal detention (Guantanamo), and waterboarding, and 2) libertarians, and everyone else, should be extremely wary of a hyperactive and hyper-intrusive state using those same methods on citizen pan am.

Anotherphil May 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm

There is no “quasi-illegal”, there’s only “illegal” or “legal”. Its sort of like being “quasi-pregnant”.

R.P. McCosker May 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Not if you understand that bin Laden wasn’t killed at all, that this is nothing but disinformation propaganda concocted by the U.S. regime.

And that the only purpose of torture by that regime is to extract false confessions so that the regime can pretend to have found evidence of Islamic “terrorism” which was actually done by the regime itself to create an excuse to invade and occupy certain foreign countries.

ArrowSmith May 14, 2011 at 3:03 am

I’ve not heard of one innocent red-blooded American affected by the Patriot Act. What have you got to hide?

Harold Cockerill May 14, 2011 at 7:49 am

War is the health of the state.

John Kenny May 14, 2011 at 8:18 am

True enough. I’ve never liked the term “War on Terror” for the reason noted but also, I’m not in “terror”. Are you ?

Anotherphil May 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Yes, I fear the IRS.

Methinks1776 May 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

You will be when the all-powerful government decides you are, serf.

AlexR May 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I agree, It seems like they are putting the US in a perpetual state of fear towards terrorism, spending all this money on investigating and spying they could spend it on something else. This is like the GOP leaders want every one to stay on edge for a terrorist attack but acts of terrorism are constant and will always be around.

Methinks1776 May 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

The state needs a scary enemy to demand constant sacrifices from the population and to grow its power. Would that it were only the GOP. Note that Barry, who railed against the Patriot Act as candidate, accepted it in full and without changes as his first act as president elect. Did anyone really expect anything else from this power-hungry troll? Naive little fools.

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