US Politics

Freedom Is About Authority

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 11, 2007

The normalization of fascism in the US continues apace.

The following quote is from a speech by Rudolph Giuliani, the leading nominee to be the Republican candidate for president in 2008, on crime and law enforcement in cities:

Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

Oh, by the way: Giuliani said these words on March 20, 1994, when he was still the Mayor of New York.

Before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, Giuliani was widely reviled as a bully whose personal dealings were shady and whose policies caused at least as much harm as good.

After 9/11, Giuliani was transformed into "America's Mayor", the Strong Leader who could protect you in a crisis.

He managed to adopt his 9/11 mantle despite his lousy track record even in the crisis he used to define his heroism.

Giuliani's decision to locate the NYC emergency command centre in the World Trade Centre against the recommendations of security advisors exacerbated the chaos when the WTC, already a known al-Qaeda target, was hit and the emergency response chain of command was knocked out.

Further, because he had refused to order compatible communications systems for the Police Department (NYPD) and Fire Department (FDNY), the two groups could not communicate during the rescue efforts, and the fire fighters never heard the order to evacuate. Giuliani insists against all evidence that the fire fighters heard the order but failed to comply.

343 fire fighters died when the buildings collapsed.

Giuliani earned further enmity from the fire fighters when he scaled back the search for bodies in the wreckage on November 2, 2001, opting instead for a cheaper "sccop-and-dump" process - once tens of millions of dollars in gold and other assets from the Bank of Nova Scotia had been recovered.

Quite frankly, Giuliani's track record as both an authoritarian and a capricious, easily offended egomaniac should give Americans, and particularly Republicans, serious pause.

For a country founded on the principle of liberty, the US seems particularly willing to sacrifice freedom for the illusion of security, even to the extent that an overt authoritarian like Giuiliani is a serious contender for the nation's highest public office.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By Rudy Schwartz (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2007 at 17:14:25

Pretty much on target. And best of all, he's not even close to being the worst of the Republican field. And although most American liberals are loathe to admit it, Hillary Clinton has a similar authoritarian streak, from her support of anti-flag burning laws, to her rationalizations for giving Bush authorization for his illegal war. She believes in executive authority, just like Rudy and Shrub. The United States has really dropped a half dozen pegs or so in the mental health department since the Reagan nightmare started rolling the ball. I don't see much hope for a big improvement in our lifetimes.
As an American, the only advice I can offer is: watch your media. Once you let corporate interests control your media, the game's over.

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