Uncivil "Liberties"

I was doing my morning perusal of Metafilter, and i came upon this little gem. It's a bit early to see what direction the discussion is going, because it's only just been posted, but i have to admit, this incident is pretty disturbing.

Now, of course, in any instance where one person is mistreated by another, there are the usual three sides to the story. Obviously, we're not really going to see either of the other two, here. That being said... What the fsck is going on down south? Bear in mind, i am one of the least anti-american people i know - i love the system that they supposedly have there, and generally approve of the nature of their government. But this... this is scary. Has it really reached such a pass that a person can't express displeasure over his treatment at the hands of security? What ever happened to the freedoms that used to be treated as givens by the american (and, make note, i refer - as in all cases - to both USians and Canadians with this moniker) people?

I generally try to follow political and cultural news with at least a bit of interest. The direction that our country and our neighbouring nations take is of great significance to me, because, even if i don't agree with them, as a resident i am obliged to live by the laws that my government enacts. Much like the author of this piece, i have observed a divide growing between the government and the people, as the general public is removed more and more from both the workings of government - by secret ballots, stifled debate, and under-the-table dealings - and from the enactment of laws - through judicial activism, vetoes by an unelected senate, and quiet ramming-through of undebated legislation. The only saving grace of the democratic mode of government, as i see it, is that it allows an informed populace to have control over the direction of their country. When you take that away, you no longer have a democratic country, you have an oligarchy at best, a dictatorship at worst.

Sure, you could look at the world and think that i'm being reactionary. I don't think so, however. I'm not a fervent student of history, but i do think that there is a certain tendency towards slippery slopes when it comes to eroding liberty. I know of at least one example of an elected government that steadily eroded its citizens' rights in the name of national progress and security, and while i don't think that our nation could ever come to as evil a pass as that place did, i do feel that - if the erosion of our rights to information, free speech, association, and liberty don't stop - we will look back on the times that came before - the 80's and 90's - as a golden age of human liberty. I don't want to live in a time when i can't express my displeasure with the state save for at state-sanctioned times and places. What kind of freedom is that?

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