Here They Go Again: The French Government Has Declared A State Of Emergency
07 December 2015
By Jacob G.
It's all so predictable. In response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, the
French government has declared a state of emergency and French President
Francois Hollande is calling for a constitutional amendment to provide him
with extraordinary powers to ''eradicate'' the threat posed by the Islamic
State. He is seeking quick legislation that would enable government officials
to conduct warrantless raids on homes and take suspects into custody. He's
seeking wider surveillance powers over the citizenry. According to the New
York Times, Hollande is also calling for ''constitutional amendments that
would enable the state to take exceptional security measures without having
to resort to the most drastic options currently in the Constitution.''
Hollande is making it clear that his state of ''emergency'' is only
''temporary,'' which is why he's asked that the current state of emergency be
extended only three months.
Now, doesn't all this sound familiar? Where have we seen this before?
Oh yes, I've got it! Germany! The same thing happened on February 27, 1933,
soon after Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. The event has
gone down in history as the Reichstag Fire. Although no people were killed in
the attack, it was as big an event in Germany as the recent terrorist attacks
The responses by Hitler and Hollande to the terrorists attacks were exactly
the same — a state of emergency and extraordinary emergency powers exercised
by government officials, to be exercised only ''temporarily'' of course.
Like Hollande, Hitler went to the Reichstag and requested that he be granted
temporary emergency powers in order to wage his wars on terrorism and
That's what Hollande is saying too. Appearing before a joint session of
Parliament, he declared, ''France is at war.''
The Reichstag granted Hitler's request. The resulting law has gone down in
history as the Enabling Act. It enabled Hitler to consolidate power in the
name of combatting the threat of communism and terrorism. And while the act
was to last only a year, the Reichstag dutifully granted Hitler's annual
request to renew the act.
James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution, wouldn't have been
surprised at Hitler's and Hollande's response to the terrorist attacks in
Berlin and Paris. Here's what he said about European countries:
The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments
of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war,
whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up
under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.
Oh, wait a minute! I just remembered another government that had the same
type of response to a major terrorist attack. That would be the U.S.
government during the regime of George W. Bush. After the 9/11 attacks, Bush
announced a war on terrorism and said that he was now exercising
extraordinary emergency powers. Bush didn't bother asking Congress to grant
him extraordinary emergency powers. He said that as a commander in chief
during wartime, he automatically wielded such powers.
That's how it is that we now live in a country where the military wields the
federal-court-approved power to take Americans into custody and imprison them
in military dungeons and concentration camps without trial or due process of
law — a country in which Americans can be tortured — a country where the
government wields the authority to kill Americans with impunity. And I would
be remiss if I failed to mention the widespread secret surveillance schemes
exercised by the NSA, all to keep us ''safe'' of course.
Bush too said that his emergency powers were temporary. Fourteen years later,
Bush's ''state of emergency'' is still in place.
Madison knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote ''Among the
Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was
apprehended.'' What he was saying was that whenever Roman citizens would
begin to grumble about the ever-growing taxes, spending, borrowing, and
monetary debasement that characterized the Roman Empire, Roman officials
would incite a war and then call on the people to set aside their complaints
and to rally to the Empire and support the troops.
Who can dispute the fact that the U.S. Empire has perfectly mastered that
strategy? After the U.S. national-security state lost its official Cold War
enemies — communism and the Soviet Union (which, ironically, had also been
Nazi Germany's official enemies) — the Empire went into the Middle East and
intentionally began poking hornets' nest, thereby inciting the rage and
hatred that resulted in several acts of anti-U.S. terrorism, which then
enabled ''terrorism'' to be declared a new official enemy of the United
And then the new official enemy — terrorism (or al-Qaeda, ISIS, communism,
Saddam Hussein, Russia, China, whoever) — is then used as the excuse for
assuming extraordinary emergency powers, which simultaneously entails a
destruction of liberty at home. That's what Madison's point was when he said,
''Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending,
have enslaved the people.''
''Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'' Santayana
sure knew what he was talking about too.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom
Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in
economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the
University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He
also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught
law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become
director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has
advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the
country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and
he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show
Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full