Enslaving People To Keep Them Safe From Government-Produced Enemies
15 December 2015
By Jacob G.
Take a look at this excerpt from a New York Times article from a couple of
All over France, from Toulouse in the south to Paris and beyond, the police
have been breaking down doors, conducting searches without warrants,
aggressively questioning residents, hauling suspects to police stations and
putting others under house arrest.
The extraordinary steps are now perfectly legal under the state of emergency
decreed by the government after the attacks on Nov. 13 in Paris that left 130
dead — a rare kind of mobilization that will continue. The French Parliament
voted last week to extend the emergency for three more months, which means
more warrantless searches, more interrogations, more people placed under
Now read the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,
and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.
Guess who the American people were addressing when they enacted that
amendment. They were addressing officials of the U.S. government. By enacting
the amendment, our American ancestors were essentially telling federal
officials: ''Don't even think about doing what European government have
always done to their citizens. We are hereby making it clear that you lack
the power to do that.''
Why did our American ancestors enact the Fourth Amendment? Because they knew
that governments everywhere attract the same type of people — those who mean
well as they smash down people's doors with the aim of keeping people in
society ''safe and secure,'' including from enemies that government policies
produce. By enacting the amendment, our American ancestors were striving to
protect American society from those types of people within the federal
Notice something important about how that amendment was constructed: There
are no exceptions provided in it. That is, the amendment doesn't say:
''unless there is a war or a crisis, in which case the provisions of this
amendment are suspended until the end of the war or the crisis.''
Why wasn't that sort of exception included in the amendment? For a very
simple reason: Because our American ancestors understood that it's during
wars and crises when these types of federal officials are going to be the
most eager to keep people ''safe'' by bashing down their doors in search of
''the enemy.'' Our ancestors clearly understood that it is during wars,
emergencies, and crises that people are in the greatest danger of losing
their liberty at the hands of their own government officials.
And never forget: It's the concept of liberty that motivated our American
ancestors to enact the Fourth Amendment (and the Fifth, Sixth, Eight, and
other amendments in the Bill of Rights). They understood that a free society
is one in which government officials are absolutely prohibited from bashing
down people's doors without judicially issued warrants.
How did our American ancestors arrive at this understanding? Because they had
experienced the phenomenon first hand by their own government officials —
when they were citizens of Great Britain. They also knew that this sort of
conduct had characterized European countries throughout history.
Look at these words by James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution:
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.
There are two critical points in Madison's words: One, that European regimes
have long enslaved their citizenry under the pretext of defending them from
foreign dangers. Two, that European regimes oftentimes incite the very danger
that is then used as the excuse for assuming ''temporary'' dictatorial powers
to keep people ''safe'' from the dangers the government has produced. That
certainly is what's going on in France, where terrorists are retaliating for
the French government's interventionist bombing campaign in Syria.
It's not only the French who engage in this sort of thing. What the French
are doing is a mirror image of what German officials did with the Enabling
Act after the terrorist attack on the Germany Reichstag in the 1930s.
Do you see now why our American ancestors were so leery about bringing the
federal government into existence when the Constitution was being proposed to
them? They were concerned that it would become a giant militarist
monstrosity, one that would end up inciting dangers that it would then use as
the excuse for suspending, ''temporarily'' of course, the rights and
liberties of the American people.
Even when our ancestors accepted the deal and permitted the federal
government to come into existence, albeit with extremely few, limited,
enumerated powers, that still wasn't good enough for them. They were
obviously still extremely concerned. Some today would say that they were
overly ''paranoid.'' They wanted to make certain that federal officials got
the point, which is why they expressly prohibited them from depriving them of
freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other such rights and expressly
prohibiting them from wielding the power to bashing down people's doors
without a warrant.
Consider all the foreign-policy woes that have afflicted America ever since
the 1940s. They all have one common denominator: the national-security state
or what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. If
America had never adopted this totalitarian governmental structure, Americans
today would not be besieged with ongoing crises of terrorism from the Middle
East or anywhere else or be dangerously confronting the possibility of war
with Russia. The fear of terrorism and Muslims that now holds so many
Americans in its grip is directly rooted in the policies of invasion,
occupation, coups, regime-changes, torture, partnerships with dictators, and
assassination that the national-security establishment has brought to our
And don't forget what Ike said about this totalitarian apparatus in his
Farewell Address: That it is alien to American values, one that poses a grave
risk to the liberties and democratic processes of the American people. The
Founding Fathers knew what Ike was talking about, which is why they refused
to permit enormous standing armies, secret intelligence agencies, and
surveillance agencies to be part of America's governmental structure.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. national-security establishment has used the
threats that its own polices have produced to do the same thing that France
and other European countries have done throughout history — suspend the
rights and liberties of the citizenry in the name of keeping them ''safe''
from the enemies that the national-security establishment itself has
produced. While it's true that U.S. officials are not yet bashing down
people's doors in search of terrorists or communists, it's also true that
they now wield such totalitarian powers as military arrest of citizens and
their indefinite military detention, torture, and assassination, all without
due process of law and trial by jury.
The American people need to make a choice, the same choice that people
throughout history have made: Do you want to live in a genuinely free society
or not? If so, then that requires a rejection of the police-state system of
France and a restoration of a limited, government constitutional republic to
That means an institutional change, a change in the form of the federal
government. It requires the dismantling, not the reform, of the
national-security establishment that President Eisenhower observed was alien
to our way of life and that threatened to enslave us in the name of
protecting us from the enemies it produces.
That's the way to achieve a free society. It's also the way to achieve a
peaceful, prosperous, harmonious, and safe society.
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