Mark Twain once said: “The citizen who sees his society’s democratic clothes being worn out and does not cry out is not a patriot but a traitor.” America now seems to be ready to sacrifice its liberal values for the sake of the "victory" over terrorism.
No,it is not a script for another Hollywood thriller picturing futuristic scenes of America’s upcoming totalitarianism. All this is happening here and now. Of late, heated debates are going on in the mass media over the possibility of the present-day democratic society’s victory over world terrorism. The majority of the respondents arrive at the depressing conclusion that the Western democracy is unable to tackle such a threat. Developed 200 years ago in a different time frame and under a different system of values, it does not seem to be able to adequately respond to today’s situation. Hence, one should make it capable of working. To do so, one should only slash some “minor” civil rights and freedoms. Meddling with one’s private life, searches and detentions, telephone tapping, and opening and inspecting of correspondence is just an incomplete list of rights and freedoms to be laid on the altar of fighting terrorism. The US Congress and Senate are ready to sign this into law at any moment. Ordinary citizens, scared by terrorist threats, are ready to “temporarily” give up their rights to address new challenges.
Unfortunately, they do not know that all things temporary eventually becomes standing. The US administration explains this by saying that only this way it can successfully counter terrorism. It may be so. An example taken from out recent history can corroborate this. The Stalinist political machinery operated without a hitch in the USSR. Among the arrested “spies” and “saboteurs” were millions of innocent people. Who was guilty and who was not? How can one find the right criterion of the selection, and who is to conduct it?
Fighting terrorism is not a matter of one day or one year. Yet, when it is over, the rulers will be highly tempted to leave it the way it is.
P.S. Yesterday, the French parliament was discussed measures that are similar to those approved of in the USA. It looks like the crash of the liberal democratic system is spreading all over the world.
DMITRI LITVINOVICH PRAVDA.Ru
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/11/01/33308.html