Sour Grapes
Of course we're Fair and Balanced!


We have been warned!

From today's News Dissector weblog:

Bill D asks from Barcelona: "I'd like to know one thing: with all the murdering and maming [sic] that happens in the USA as a matter of course, thanks to the liberal gun laws, why have there not been ANY drive-by shootings, mall bombings, carjackings, muggings, arsons, etc in the name of international terrorism? One wonders, with the brilliance of Usama Bin Laden's NY attacks, were there NO follow-ups? It would be a logical expectation. What would sow more terrorism than random attacks on schools, malls and other public places than a lone ('suicide' even) terrorist's attack?

I've wondered for a long time why we haven't seen more attacks. Once several people are willing to die, and others are willing to make relatively small investments — of say a few tens of thousand dollars — it seems like it would be almost trivial to create a lot of terror.

Sometime in the summer of 2002 I said, mostly to myself, but also to at least a couple of family members, "If we get through the coming 9/11 without another attack, I don't see how we can treat terrorism as any more of a threat than it has been prior to 9/11 of 2001." Of course, 9/11/2002 came and went without incident. True, we had 3/11 in Spain, but surely no one believes we can totally eliminate all terrorism any time in the near future! And although the State Dept. may have misled the public for political reasons in alleging that terrorism declined in 2003, I expect when the report is, as promised, revised, we'll see — assuming we ever find out something even close to the truth — that it hasn't gone up a great deal.

I think the so-called War of Terror is actually evidence of phenomena predicted by several [mostly] well-known persons:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

Americans have squandered an enormous amount of liberty, and we didn't even get any temporary safety in return. – Bruce Schneier, on the U.S. government's response to the events of 9/11

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts. – Edmund Burke

Most people want security in this world, not liberty. – H. L. Mencken

History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure. – Justice Thurgood Marshall

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. – David Hume

When the government fears the people, we have liberty. When the people fear the government, we have tyranny. – Unknown

The average age of the world's greatest civilization has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence. From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage. – Alexander Tyler, on the fall of the Athenian Republic

With the first link, a chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. – Jean-Luc Picard

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. – Thomas Jefferson

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. – Justice Louis D. Brandeis

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. – Thomas Paine

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. – Thomas Jefferson

As a means of espionage, writs of assistance and general warrants are but puny instruments of tyranny and oppression when compared with wiretapping. – Justice Louis D. Brandeis

When any government... undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. – Robert A. Heinlein

Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. – Woodrow T. Wilson

Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. – John Quincy Adams

Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. – William Pitt

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams

Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad. – James Madison

Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America's problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God. – Norman Vincent Peale

Liberty for security is a fool's bargain. You get neither. – Mr Lizard

There is nothing so permanent as a temporary emergency. – Robert A. Heinlein

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.... [T]hose who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. – C. S. Lewis

We grow tyrannical fighting tyranny. The most alarming spectacle today is not the spectacle of the atomic bomb in an unfederated world, it is the spectacle of the Americans beginning to accept the device of loyalty oaths and witchhunts, beginning to call anybody they don't like a Communist. – E. B. White [Or a terrorist. &ndash Ed]

Experience hath shewn that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. – Thomas Jefferson

The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it. — Woodrow T. Wilson

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.... Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretenses of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice. – John Adams

[I]n the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, 'Make us your slaves, but feed us." – Fyodor Dostoevsky [or "Make us safe." &ndash ed]

Most [revolutions] have been [ended] by a subversion of that liberty [they were] intended to establish. – Thomas Jefferson

[T]here is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. – Ronald Reagan

By way of contrast, here's one from our current President.

There ought to be limits to freedom. – George W. Bush

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