From The Daily Bell:
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Greatest 21st Century Privilege
Despite its growing horrors, the 21st century has proven a profound blessing in the sense that we can see, step by step how tyranny is being implemented around the world and especially in the West. In doing so, we can chart its pathways and intricacies. Some may not consider this in any sense a blessing but we do. To watch the descent of tyranny on the Western world is a startling sight, which plumbs the depths of the human spirit and provides us with spectacles of evil and good, cowardice and courage. It is a great (if sad) time to run a free-market website that reports on libertarian social and economic trends.
I used to wonder how a financial depression took hold and what it would look like. I used to wonder how a society would lose its moral and social underpinnings and lurch toward authoritarianism. I wondered, even, what it would be like in pre-war Germany when the Nazis were coming to power. But the past decade has offered an education in all these concepts. Anyone paying close attention does not need to wonder anymore.
The first decade of the 21st century has been a time of resonant, historical themes, broadly observed. It is a truly historical struggle between those who wish to control and manipulate human societies and those who wish to make human societies, especially Western ones, freer. In the 20th century, one might anticipate going to a ball game or an elaborate black-tie social event, but nothing is more fascinating than watching this great game unfold early in the 21st.
It is not a comfortable experience of course. The forces seeking to shut down civil discourse and stifle dissent seem to come from all sides, and their power is discouraging. Increasingly, they seem to pervert the basic institutions of civil society: schools, media, government and even religion. Each element of perverted society now has an elaborate rationale for why freedom needs to be pruned. The children need to be made safe. Society needs to be made safe. The workplace needs to be secured.
In fact, the proximate reason to write this article comes from news that government approval will be needed for certain kinds of employment. There are at least two programs involved; both, of course, coming out of the Department of Homeland Security. The acronyms are TWIC and SWAC: Transportation Worker Identification Credential and Secure Worker Access Consortium. Infowars.com, which seems to have broken the story, explains the following:
TWIC “is a biometric credential that ensures only vetted workers are eligible to enter a secure construction site, unescorted,” Ironworkers Local 361 in Ozone Park, New York, explains. “Before issuing a TWIC, TSA must conduct a security threat assessment on the TWIC applicant. An applicant who, as a result of the assessment, is determined to not pose a security threat, will be issued a TWIC card.”
SWAC is even more draconian. It is “a large-scale collaborative effort among public and private authorities, facility owners, contractors, and labor organizations who are partnering to prevent terrorist activity by creating a trusted contractor community. Over 500 organizations, including the Port Authority of NY and NJ, which manages and maintains the bridges, tunnels, bus terminals, airports, PATH, and seaports that are essential to the bi-state region’s trade and transportation capabilities, have joined this effort,” according to the union website.
These two programs constitute a considerable escalation in the intrusiveness of government. Were it to stop here, it would be bad enough. But Homeland Security never stops. The department recently partnered with WalMart to set up a program to encourage shoppers to report any incidents they might consider dangerous or even out-of-the ordinary. The kinds of programs Homeland Security is rolling out now will surely create an ever-more paranoid, inequitable and ultimately unlivable society. It will be one where citizens will be scanned, photographed and ultimately tagged and labeled – all in the name of “keeping the homeland safe” from terror.
The ground upon which this society is being built is shaky indeed. Most if not all of the terror incidents that have taken place over the past few years have at the center of them some sort of incitement. The poor, young people (most US and Western terrorists are young and impoverished) have been manipulated, funded and literally shoved in the direction of violent acts that they probably would not have undertaken if not for undercover American and British intelligence agents. It is, in a word, entrapment over and over again.
It is easy to see that the dramatic escalation of government intrusiveness has occurred since 9/11. Since there are many questions that still swirl around 9/11 itself, the enthusiasm with which Western governments have clamped down on their citizens is even more remarkable. It goes far beyond what is just or necessary.
Fortunately, there are counter-trends. Readers of the Bell will be aware that we believe the Internet itself is acting as a kind of modern-day Gutenberg press, revealing much that was hidden during the 20th century. Its truth-telling is arrayed against an intergenerational, familial, Anglo-American elite that wants a New World Order and uses fear-based promotions – dominant social themes – to push Western middle classes into giving up power and wealth to globalist facilities such as the UN, WHO, the IMF, etc.
Offering a website that covers freedom issues and free-market concepts at this point in time is actually quite humbling. The opportunity to tell the truth about what is going on in the West is something many do not have the opportunity to do. They are trapped in situations where they must keep quiet to care for themselves and their families. However, there are also a growing number of voices around the world that are making their disapproval with current authoritarian trends increasingly clear. The ability to add one’s voice to this swelling chorus is perhaps the greatest privilege of the modern era.