Senate Judiciary Committee: My Answers to Follow-Up Questions

Posted: May 18th, 2004 by Militant Libertarian

Aaron Turpen

Libertarian Party of Utah

April 14th, 2004 Utah Field Hearing of the Senate Judiciary

“Preventing and Responding to Acts of Terrorism: A Review of Current Law”

Answers to follow-up questions.

Several follow up questions were given by the Senate Judiciary Committee to myself and the other members of the April 14 panel. While the questions are astute, given the context of the testimony given and the subject at hand, they are, in my opinion, all-inclusive and can be answered together in one statement.

Referring back to my oral testimony before the Senate Judiciary on April 14, you will recall that I paraphrased Thoreau asking why we are striking branches instead of the root of the matter.

I asked whether the reaction to create more laws was the proper reaction. I stipulated that we should consider the basic problem at hand, rather than adding more to it.

Perhaps government has overstepped its bounds not just here on our own soil, but also abroad?

Looking at history, in a broad sense, I can see, at least partially, where we went awry.

Consider that for thousands of years, the “Arab World” has been content to make war with itself and has only turned its men of arms against western nations upon provocation from those nations. In this day and age, America is the most powerful military nation on the earth and exerts more influence internationally than any other nation. Most specifically, we exert a lot of influence in the Middle East. This, obviously, has lead to provocation.

Thomas Jefferson said “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.”

In the aftermath of World War II, what is now called the “Cold War” began. During that time, the governments involved consolidated their powers and began a world-wide quest to consolidate alliances of power throughout the world. This “Us and Them” mentality has lead to many entangling alliances and enmity among many involved.

The Middle East, with its heavy oil reserves, was a hotbed for these intrigues as this Cold War commenced. In the process, many enemies were made. Nations, religious sects, and individuals were made to hate the United States because of our great influence (not always for the better) over them.

The people of the Middle East do not hate us for our freedom. Many of them have come here specifically to take part in the American experiment in liberty. Those who hate us hate us because, to them, we embody all that they cannot have and they see us as taking what little they might have now. Through our entangling alliances, we have created this hatred.

So creating more police powers in this nation, giving more powers to “federal law enforcement,” and making war abroad to “stem the tide of terrorism” are not the answer. If anything, these steps are only more fuel for the fire.

The answer is to make peace with these nations, to remove ourselves from these entangling alliances and become a prosperous nation of trade and commerce, not a nation of police and military might. Show the world that, while we will defend what is ours, we would rather be peaceful and give trade instead. Show those who hate us that we are no longer going to meddle in their affairs and will no longer entangle ourselves in complicated agreements as we have in the recent past.

One of the greatest strengths of the United States as a nation is our ability to admit to our own mistakes, show them to ourselves and the world, and then seek justice in making amends for those mistakes.

Perhaps this is what we should be doing now, sirs. Perhaps what we should be doing is reconsidering our actions and making amends for those mistakes we have made. Continuing down the path of increased legislation, increased police powers, and decreased freedoms is, perhaps, not the only solution, Senators.


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