Even Conservatives Starting to Fear Bush’s Power Grab
As people worldwide commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it’s not just liberals and Democrats worried about President Bush’s policies and the direction that he’s leading the United States.
A libertarian think tank that once was the darling of Reagan-era Republicans recently issued a report warning American citizens about the doublespeak used by the Bush administration to justify the expansion of governmental powers allegedly to fight the “War on Terror.”
In Doublespeak and the War on Terrorism, the Cato Institute argues that government officials are deliberately changing the definitions of terms such as “freedom” and “security” so they can misrepresent or obscure their actions to expand their power.
“One can certainly argue that the al-Qaeda terrorist network represents a dangerous new threat to the American homeland — and that government officials require new powers to combat that threat,” Cato’s report says. “But it is doublespeak to use the terms ‘freedom’ and ‘power’ as if they were interchangeable. Who could credibly argue that the repeal of the Bill of Rights would represent the ‘advancement of freedom?’ ”
Such a statement sounds like it was written by the American Civil Liberties Union, but no one can accuse the Cato Institute of being left-wing.
This is the same organization, after all, that opposes most government subsidies, supports abolishing the minimum wage and the partial privatization of the Social Security system, pushes for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and disagrees that global warming is occurring due to human activity.
Remaining consistent with its core principles, however, Cato also opposes the Iraq War and the U.S.A. Patriot Act, supports reforming illegal drug policies and wants to abolish all trade barriers.
Founded in 1977, Washington, D.C.-based Cato tries to influence public policy based on what it describes as “traditional American principles” such as limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace.
Cato’s 16-page report outlines numerous questionable policies and tactics employed by the federal government since the Sept. 11 attacks. It concludes:
“The American people must recognize these odious tactics for what they are and remain vigilant about our Constitution and individual liberty. Too many people seem to think that the Constitution will automatically check the government from overstepping its authority and running amok. That simply is not true.
“The Constitution is incapable of enforcing itself. The ultimate limit on the power of government has always been the patience of the people. As Judge Learned Hand warned many years ago, ‘Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; (if) it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.’”
— Kevin Osborne