Government everywhere is voracious. It is always seeking ways to grow and expand, to gain more power and control. That observation is not meant to condemn government but merely to point out a universal tendency of all governments. Just as devouring livestock is the nature of wolves or devouring homes is the nature of termites, so too is government’s insatiable quest for more power.
Our Founding Father’s understood government and provided our current form. They knew the dangers and created a Constitution designed to limit and control government. For more than 200 years the Constitution served as a cage, containing government. For most of that period government was busy trying to break the bonds of the Constitution. For all practical purposes, the cage that contained government barely exists anymore. Leviathan has escaped and is ravaging the country.
The latest example is especially troubling. It is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This act is likely the end to liberty and freedom in the country. It makes it possible for the government to detain US citizens without trial. There was some question regarding whether this act applied to US citizens. According to Wikipedia, it does as a result of a last minute revision:
According to Senator Carl Levin, “the language which precluded the application of section 1031 to American Citizens was in the bill that we originally approved in the Armed Services Committee and the Administration asked us to remove the language which says that US Citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section”. This was entered into the Congressional Record on November 17, 2011. (Note that section 1031 of the Senate bill became section 1021 in the final bill and law.)
This truly scary stuff. Those who believe that government would never use such powers are naive. Power gained is never not used. History is replete with examples of power that would never be used. It always has been.
A full discussion of this issue, including state level moves in Missouri to nullify the power, is presented by Nat Hentoff. He quotes Kenneth Roth, the executive director of the respected Human Rights Watch:
President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention (imprisonment) without trial in U.S. law.
This new power, if not repealed, can be used against any citizen simply by declaring him a threat.