from the probably-need-to-hit-CTRL-Z-on-the-Amendments-to,-I-suppose dept
Good news, everyone. The terrorists will win and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to help. Of course, his speech is all about not letting the terrorists win. But he's giving them exactly what they want.
The Boston Marathon bombing was bound to generate this sort of reaction. It's a forgone conclusion that a tragic event like this will lead to political grandstanding and expansions of policies and plans deleterious to privacy and individual freedom. It's been twisted to argue for harsher immigration policies and held up as evidence that surveillance efforts need to be expanded.
But Bloomberg sees something else, something much more malignant than more cameras and fewer immigrants. He sees this attack as an indication that our country has outgrown its founding principles and that we can't be truly "safe" without altering the fabric of the nation.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”You hear that, citizens? You have a "legitimate worry" and it's followed by a magnificent "but" that leads directly to a call to alter our current laws and the Constitution itself, in order to make us more "secure" than the "olden days." As these two are changed to Bloomberg's liking, I would imagine our "legitimate worries" will be slowly stripped of their legitimacy as Constitutional protections are altered to better fit today's (imagined) realities.
Bloomberg also conjures up the 9/11 attacks to assist in his burial of these pesky formative documents from "olden days."
“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.Yes, we know there are people who want to "take away our freedoms." The problem is that, increasingly, these people are politicians and legislators -- politicians and legislators who enact laws that enable agencies like the NSA and the DHS to strip away our rights. The terrorists? They only "take away our freedoms" if we let them. And people like Bloomberg seem more than willing to capitulate to the implied demand.
Oh, but Bloomberg is worried that one aspect of the post-Boston bombing might result in curtailed rights. His one concern? That we, the people who "need" more "security" than rights, might take this recent attack to paint the Muslim religion as a hotbed of terrorism.
“What we can't do is let the protection get in the way of us enjoying our freedoms,” he said. “You still want to let people practice their religion, no matter what that religion is. And I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.”When we add this all up, this is what we get. Bloomberg is concerned about branding a certain religion as a terrorist breeding ground, something his police department has been doing for years. That's what's troubling to Bloomberg: some sort of lazy racism taking root. Reconfiguring the Constitution to fit his conception of the modern age? Rewriting current laws and drafting new ones to meet an exaggerated threat? Curtailing freedom and privacy in the name of "security?" This doesn't phase Bloomberg at all.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Bloomberg is in a hurry to give up your liberties. Many other politicians and legislators are more than willing to do the same. After all, these changes won't affect them nearly as much as they'll affect their constituents. But they'll be able to coattail-ride any foiled terrorist plots or relatively smooth post-attack investigations as "victories" and hold them up as "evidence" that they were right to carve up the Constitution in the name of safety and security.