For all their talk about “liberating” people to establish democracy, politicians value stability over freedom. One need only look south of our border to see how U.S. foreign policy has nothing to do with helping the common man regain his God-given rights. Uncle Sam supports one group of tyrannical thugs against another. What we should be doing: using our influence to restore Mexicans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms. A report from the BBC on the newly liberated Libya illustrates the point perfectly . . .
Now the anger boiled over. The doctor and the security man squared up to each other in the tiny office, nose to nose.
We needed permission from the commander of the local brigade, shouted the fighter. What right did he have to walk into his office and tell him what to do, responded our doctor.
And so it went on, hands gesturing, arms flailing. Eventually the security man threatened to call in the “kateeba”, the men with the guns.
In Libya, the gun is the ultimate arbiter of disputes. It is not always used, as it was not in this case. Sometimes the mere threat is enough.
A few weeks ago, I went to check on reports that there was digging going on in Gaddafi’s former compound in Tripoli. The dictator’s gold, it is rumoured, lies hidden somewhere in the ground.
A group of men stopped me from entering.
On whose authority, I wanted to know?
“Authority?” the man in charge asked.
“Yes,” I said, “which ministry or government department has decreed that the BBC should be prevented from seeing your digging?”
“I don’t need any ministry,” said the man, patting his Kalashnikov. “This is my ministry.”
The media and the government constantly wring their hands about the “chaos” that emerges in the wake of a deposed tyranny. The fact that there are guns everywhere is a cause for alarm, to the point where we support disarmament in the name of peace (of course). Stability comes from the ballot box, not the point of a gun. Allegedly.
A recent csmonitor.com article embodies the meme. “Six months since the Libyan civil war ended in Muammar Qaddadi’s death, a new report from Amnesty International says hundreds of militias remain active in the country, extorting money and killing their enemies,” the subhead proclaims. And?
Libya’s revolutionaries aren’t the plucky underdogs fighting for freedom anymore. They’re the most powerful people in the country, at least for the moment, and some of them, according to the report, are doing horrific things with that power. Libya is currently planning elections for June, but it’s hard to imagine a fair or accountable process until the militias are brought under some kind of control.
Under control by who? To what end? In whose interest? And what’s the bet the CIA is in there, somewhere, playing favorite, stoking the fires of internecine bloodshed? To what end? Democracy? Liberty? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Post-revolutionary chaos is the crucible inside of which freedom is forged. If and when individual liberty emerges from this horrific process in Libya, as it did in the United States, the Libyans won’t forget that their newfound rights rest on the bedrock of mutually assured destruction. Nor should we. As Patrick Henry warned . . .
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.
To wit: Mexico. Meanwhile, in Libya, even the man at the Beeb can’t help but perceive, however dimly, the fundamental truth of Henry’s words.
The day after that incident at the hospital, I sat in the warm morning sunshine talking to a man who has become something of a professional protester.
Every day he comes out on to one of Benghazi’s main squares to voice his displeasure at the failings of the local government, the power of the armed militias.
After listening to his litany of complaints, I asked him if he thought it had all been worth it. His face changed.
“Oh,” he said, “I feel like a different man now. I can breathe, I am free.”