Wednesday

May 18th, 2022

Insight

What Kind of Country Are We, Really?

Laura Hollis

By Laura Hollis

Published Oct. 8, 2021

Our ruling classes are infected with arrogance, egotism and condescension. So convinced are they of their inherent superiority that their desires, whether motivated by purported altruism or blunt self-interest, are subordinated to nothing; not even the most fundamental principles of American society, such as truth and due process.

They are doing immeasurable damage to this country and its people.

The Biden administration, its puppet masters behind the scenes, and its willing warriors in Congress and the press are all engaged in a full-blown propaganda war against ordinary Americans. This started with absurd accusations against former President Donald Trump, but quickly expanded to include anyone who voted for or supported him.

One buzzword of this campaign is "racist," of course; that's been the left's go-to smear for at least the past 40 years. But this administration has turned it up to 11; yesterday's "racists" have become today's "white supremacists" and, most significantly, tomorrow's "domestic terrorists."

These false accusations are not only being used as obfuscation to win elections (even Black people such as California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder can be smeared as "white supremacists" as long as they're political conservatives); they are being used to purge the military of patriotic men and women, to justify weaponizing federal agencies and to deprive Americans of basic due process rights.

Exhibit A is the confabulated hysteria around Jan. 6. The people who went traipsing through the Capitol were cast as "insurrectionists." Those who were arrested were thrown into prison without bail or bond and held in solitary confinement; some for months. One such prisoner, Jonathan Mellis, was denied the right to attend his father's funeral. This despite the fact that none of the accused had a weapon, and there has been no evidence of any coordinated "plan" to attack members of Congress, much less overthrow the government.

The United Nations considers solitary confinement for more than 15 consecutive days to be a form of torture, and has codified this principle under the "Mandela Rule," named for the former leader of South Africa who was imprisoned for nearly three decades. There is ample evidence to support this conclusion; prisoners subjected to long periods of solitary confinement suffer extreme physical and mental illness, including heart disease, depression and suicide.

This is nothing more than political persecution. Nonviolent Trump supporters are imprisoned in solitary for months, while antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters who lobbed explosives, looted, burned and destroyed throughout 2020 have their bail paid (if they are arrested at all) and charges dropped against them.

As further evidence, President Joe Biden's Justice Department is now going after parents and families who object to the imposition of racist, Marxist, anti-American indoctrination such as critical race theory into public school curricula. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement this week announcing that the Justice Department and the FBI would be implementing measures to address a "disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence" against teachers, administrators and school board members.

If walking around the U.S. Capitol unarmed is an "insurrection," one can anticipate that vehement, vocal disagreement at a school board meeting can easily be characterized as "harassment" or "intimidation."

None of this can be properly understood without recalling key provisions of the PATRIOT Act, passed immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The PATRIOT Act allows law enforcement to bypass important due process protections in circumstances where "terrorism" is suspected. Under the PATRIOT Act, law enforcement need not submit evidence of probable cause to a judge before an arrest warrant can be issued. (Of course, the Trump/Russia collusion farce revealed that the FBI lies even when prior judicial review is required.) They no longer have to suspect someone of being an agent for a "foreign power" to conduct surveillance. They no longer need a search warrant to seize any and all property of the suspected "terrorists." Those accused are forbidden from discussing with anyone what's happening to them.

Most relevantly, the PATRIOT Act created the crime of "domestic terrorism," and its definitions thereof sweep political protests into that definition; something the American Civil Liberties Union had, at least until recently, been hollering about.

That's why it is so significant that Biden and his goons are characterizing those who oppose their political agenda as "domestic terrorists." Once lumped into that category by the Justice Department and the FBI, Americans can lose the due process protections they are entitled to and find themselves in a legal nightmare: arrests without probable cause; searches and seizures without warrants; indefinite detentions without writs of habeas corpus; extracted confessions. One federal judge declared parts of the PATRIOT Act unconstitutional in a 2007 case involving the FBI's unlawful surveillance and arrest of attorney Brandon Mayfield.

Last week, I wrote that the federal government is outsourcing to private corporations powers of censorship and surveillance that would subject the government to lawsuits alleging unconstitutionality if they did it. This administration, aided and abetted by a politicized Justice Department, out of control FBI and unaccountable federal agencies, is now criminalizing political disagreement.

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As bad as this is, it can be made much worse by Democrats' support for the "defund the police" movement. Just as they are calling for eliminating state and local police forces, the fabricated hue and cry over tens of millions of so-called white supremacists is being used as a lead-up to calls for a federal police force — one that (much like the Capitol Police) would do the bidding of the party in power in Washington, D.C.

I will say this as often as I must: The horrific human rights abuses that have taken place in other countries can happen here. If we permit the erosion of every principle upon which America was founded, we will suffer consequences every bit as atrocious as those we've seen elsewhere.

Those of us who love America are facing powerful headwinds in our efforts to engage in serious inquiry and communicate facts. But we must make a choice. Are we willing to watch the continued attack on America's most fundamental principles? Or are we going to fight to defend them?

What kind of country are we, really?

(COMMENT, BELOW)

Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.

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