Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Left-wing politicians take away your liberty in the name of children and of fighting poverty, while right-wing politicians do it in the name of family values and fighting drugs. Either way, government gets bigger and you become less free.”     Harry Browne

June 16, 2010

Jon Stewart Slams Obama For Breaking Promises On Civil Liberties

by Doug Mataconis

This clip from The Daily Show is absolutely devastating:

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9 Comments

  1. Yea, that’s not good. Jon Stewart says it’s cool to criticize not only Obama’s performance, but also to point out all the ways he’s exactly the same as the previous administration. Now all the people who supported Obama, and who’ve resisted admitting it was a mistake to do so because of embarrassment, can laugh at the jokes and shake their heads and talk bad about him too.

    Situations that were probably always beyond his control might have relegated Obama to a single term president anyway. These kinds of things will mean that even staunch liberal supporters won’t be sad to see him go. I just hope this disaster of an administration doesn’t swing the country to far-right, social conservatism during the next few elections.

    Comment by Rob Miles — June 16, 2010 @ 5:29 am
  2. Or knee-jerk isolationism.

    Comment by Michael O. Powell — June 16, 2010 @ 6:02 am
  3. Right now I’m in Berkeley/Oakland area and there’s a lot of ACLU people out and about, recruiting people by saying “Civil Liberties Won’t Protect Themselves.” I guess we can safely assume that the executive branch is just a natural foe of such liberties.

    Comment by Michael O. Powell — June 16, 2010 @ 6:07 am
  4. It’s worth noting, Rob, that Obama has midterms before the general in 2012. If the GOP has a takeover of Congress, that should send a pretty clear signal to Obama that’ll make him shift his approach.

    Comment by Michael O. Powell — June 16, 2010 @ 6:14 am
  5. i•so•la•tion•ism (º”s…-l³“sh…-n¹z”…m) n. A national policy of abstaining from political or economic relations with other countries.

    Yep. I agree that sort of knee-jerk reaction would be bad.

    in•ter•ven•tion•ism (¹n”t…r-vµn“sh…-n¹z”…m) n. The policy or practice of intervening in the affairs of another sovereign state.

    That, I could live without.

    Comment by Akston — June 16, 2010 @ 6:38 pm
  6. This will get me in trouble with alot of libertarians, but there are serious reasons why we intervene in other countries.

    Take Bosnia – the worst genocide since WWII, on Europe’s doorstep. Europe does absolutely nothing about it. Do you want another World War I? That sort of tactic rarely works.

    Comment by Michael O. Powell — June 16, 2010 @ 7:35 pm
  7. And if we’ve learned anything by Obama, it’s that events pull leaders in directions they never expected or desired. Obama ran as a new beginning for our relations abroad (How many times did you hear from progressives, “The world likes us again!”) and ended up focussing narrowly on domestic issues. Bush had immigration and education mandates loaded up and reduced them after 9/11. Trust me, if a Ron Paul were to be elected to the presidency, they would suddenly find that the world is not ready for a fully non-interventionist US.

    Given that, there are parts of the world – Europe – where further pressure should be made to make them militarily independent, especially given our fiscal capacity. Japan’s constitution forbids them from having a formal military and there is understandable unease about reduction in South Korea.

    Comment by Michael O. Powell — June 16, 2010 @ 7:42 pm
  8. I understand your concerns, and share some of them myself. There are many large-scale human tragedies perpetrated by other humans around the world. And the world is a very big place. Very big.

    Do we intervene in every conflict? Why not Cambodia in the late 70′s? Angola in the 80′s? The Congo in the 90′s? Darfur in the 2000′s? Millions died.

    Okay, if not every conflict, then what will be our standard? What threshold will prompt the U.S. to spend its lives and treasure in wars abroad? What is the charter of the U.S. military (that “standing army” many founders seemed to resist, but many feel is essential in the current era)?

    The U.S. military is paid for by U.S. citizens. I would venture to say its charter is to protect and defend those citizens. Then we add the term “and our interests abroad”, and the picture gets muddier. When an enemy attacks our shipping, the answer is clear. When two large groups join in conflict somewhere across the world and no Americans are involved, the answer can be a good deal harder to find. Do we just slide the answer to “everything we’re appalled by”? Or “every fight any ‘ally’ entangles us into”? Or “every conflict over a resource we could use”? Remember, only Americans are funding this military. And only Americans are deciding the “wrong side” and the “right side” – from across the globe. And when we take one side (a Shah, for instance), we often suffer unintended consequences downstream (enmity from the next government, and hostages taken).

    Garry Faulkner seems a bit crazy to me, but at least he invested only his own life and treasure in his campaign. And he’s targeting a direct enemy who’s claimed responsibility for an attack on his country. I strongly support American military might in response to that same foe.

    We libertarians tend to agree that domestic government action cannot – and should not – try to solve all the civil and financial inequities inside our country. Why would we think our government, armed with an open charter, would do any better worldwide?

    I’d assert that the most important part of the debate is deciding what is properly: “American defense”, not righting all wrongs in the world. The world is very big. And the American federal government is broke.

    Comment by Akston — June 17, 2010 @ 8:22 am
  9. My apologies to Doug for thread-jacking over a single word.

    In response to the original point, it’s nice to see Stewart finally lampooning President Obama. President Bush certainly deserved the derision; but when Stewart shifted to kid gloves for Obama and saved his attacks for Obama’s opponents, I shifted my view of him from general comedian to partisan advocate. It was disappointing for me.

    Good to see at least this small example of balance.

    Comment by Akston — June 17, 2010 @ 9:07 am

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