By Jacob G. Hornberger
The George W. Bush Presidential Center in
Washington, D.C., is holding a special event today to
celebrate "the brave efforts of dissidents and
activists around the world in their fight to be free."
Wow! How exciting is that!
At least one thing's for sure: these people aren't
going to be celebrating the brave efforts of
libertarians here in the United States in our fight to
be free. They wish that we libertarians would just go
home and keep our mouths shut about what the federal
government is doing to people not only abroad but also
here at home.
The big problem is the statist mindset, the mindset
held by George W. Bush and by so many Americans — a
mindset that holds that that the United States is
still a free country.
I'm willing to bet that at that celebration today,
after the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, everyone
will be singing, "Thank God I'm an American because at
least I know I'm free." And I have no doubt that most
every one of them will honestly believe what he is
singing. And then they'll thank the troops in
Afghanistan and other foreign nations for "defending
our freedoms here at home."
For these people, freedom for Americans is a
society in which the president wields the power to:
(1) Take anyone, including American citizens, into
military or CIA custody and torture him, incarcerate
him for life without trial, and execute him after a
kangaroo trial by military tribunal.
(2). Assassinate anyone anywhere in the world whom
the state deems a threat to the "national security" of
the United States, including American citizens.
(3) Ignore jury verdicts of acquittal in federal
jury trials and let the military or the CIA take the
acquitted person into custody, incarcerate him for
life without trial, torture him, or execute him after
a kangaroo military tribunal.
(4) Attack and invade countries whose governments
have not attacked or invaded the United States (i.e.,
wage wars of aggression against other nation-states).
(5) Initiate wars against any other nation state
without the constitutionally required congressional
declaration of war.
(6) Establish an empire of military bases all over
(7) Wage the war on drugs all over the world
through the military, the CIA, and other federal
agents and punish Americans with incarceration and
fines for ingesting harmful substances.
(8) Tax people's income and redistribute the money
to other people — that is, enforce a massive welfare
state on society that keeps people soft and dependent.
(9) Maintain a massive military-industrial complex
that places an enormous tax burden on the American
(10) Maintain a strict, detailed regimen of
taxation and regulation in society, in order to ensure
that people behave correctly and remain silent about
what the government is doing.
(11) Secretly search people's homes, businesses,
and banks without warrants, on grounds of "national
(12) Grant full immunity to the military, the CIA,
and other federal officials who torture, assassinate,
execute, or incarcerate people in the name of
protecting "national security."
Of course, we libertarians reject all that statist
claptrap that goes for "freedom" in the mind of the
statist. We don't live in the statist world of
delusion and failure to confront reality.
The reality is that these types of powers are
antithetical to a free society and inherent to
Don't believe me?
Check out Hitler's regime. He and his military and
Gestapo wielded all those powers.
Check out the military regime of Chilean dictator
Augusto Pinochet, whom the U.S. military and the CIA
adored and helped install into power. Like Hitler,
whom he greatly admired, Pinochet wielded all those
Check out the communist regime of Fidel Castro in
Cuba. Castro wields all those powers.
Check out the military dictatorship in Egypt, which
the U.S. military and the CIA have long supported and
partnered with, not only with cash, armaments, and
training, but also with a rendition-torture
partnership. It wields all those powers.
Check out the military dictatorship in Burma. It
wields all those powers.
For us libertarians, it's bad enough that the
statists have turned America toward the dark side, a
side that characterizes totalitarian regimes. But the
fact that these people promote all this as "American
freedom" makes the situation that much worse.
It's one thing to know you're not free. It's quite
another to believe you're free when you're not. Or as
the German thinker Johann von Goethe put it, "None are
more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely
believe they are free."
We libertarians know that people who live under a
government that wields totalitarian powers cannot
honestly be considered a free people. We're fighting
hard to restore freedom to our land. Needless to say,
the George W. Bush Presidential Center will not be
featuring American libertarians at its celebration
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the
Future of Freedom Foundation.