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Just as this world contains infinite realities, it contains infinite truths. Fact is the ally of truth, but the two are not interchangable; facts allow two people to connect their realities, if only for a few moments, in a way which lends itself to establishing truth.
Thus, civilisations which are essentially good encourage, or at best tolerate, the propogation of facts, accepting that every fact will probably be accompanied by a fair pile of nonsense.
As the western world scrambles to protect it's soft underbelly from terrorist attacks, an important tradition of dissent which has been under considerable fire for some time has become an extremely vulnerable candidate for collateral damage. Although I refer primarily to the anti-globalization movement, this applies to all groups whose fringe adherants have been accused of employing tactics of violence; from the ecological movements to religious groups including the Christian anti-abortion movement.
The "Homeland Security" plan devised by the Bush administration with alarming and suspect rapidity, threatens such groups with certain extinction by legalizing virtually every surveillance method under the auspices of a new, unelected officialdom. The new plan also calls for the pairing of the FBI and CIA, in a move which unquestionably violates the charter of the latter by authorizing operations within the United States on US citizens.
The move may well lead to the capture of terrorists. It could also lead to the capture of sick individuals, like the two kids who went Norman Bates in Colorado three years ago. Without question, it will be nowhere near as effective as a well-trained, efficient intelligence community and eventually, in order to prove itself, it will bring claims against people in the movements mentioned above; trying to justify what will surely be vast expenditures by grasping for straws and demonizing every dissident voice in our culture.
This is just a hunch.
"Men's memories are uncertain and the past that was differs little from the past that was not," says the Judge in the closing pages of Cormack McCarthy's unforgettable parable of violence and human nature stretched to its breaking point. "Blood Meridian", woven through with characters who seem at once insignificant and immortal, presents the Judge as the devil de-humanized - a mirror of the permanance and hostility of the desert setting itself.
All truth is irrelavant to such a being; it is, in plain fact, absurd. For the sake of time, I'll try to avoid beating a dead horse around the bush: the veiling and obfustication of truth is a very plain kind of evil - it is anti-human. So is any plan which violates the American values and traditions of free speech and dissidence.
The number of statements made connecting anti-globalization protests with terrorism, and Osama bin Laden in particular, are no less than terrifying. Many of these statements have come from the expected sources: the same voices which have attempted to discredit and marginalize them from the beginning.
Others come from more alarming quarters. Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi for example, went so far as to indicate that Osama bin Laden has some connection to the anti-globalisation movement. Saner sentiment seems to be that these people have worn out their welcome; that they are led by the same old academics and marxists who've plagued the world for the past 70 years and that their time is done.
True, the rhetoric of many of these groups is as emotionally appealing as the design elements of a campaign headquarters or other transitional office settings, but that's not the point. The point is that they are fulfilling an integral role in the evolution of America's democracy.
Anyone who believes otherwise will inevitably apply the same jingoist rhetoric they criticize by accusing the group in question of any combination of the following sins: marxism, anarchism, anti-establishmentarianism, godlessness, brainlessness or anti-Americanism.
Anti-Americanism is a funny one. It seems to me that NOTHING can be anti-American except employing the use of force for political ends. Dancing Palestinians, for example, are not anti-American; they are reacting against a current American policy.
Confusion and horror reigned on the Indymedia website and on many other "counter-culture" clearinghouses as news of the attacks on the 11th rolled in. No small wonder, that - we are, after all, Americans! By the second day the analysis started rolling in. Indymedia maintains a free, unedited newswire which allows anyone to post anything they want.
Amid the slew of cookie-cutter responses, a perceptive few pointed out what could happen if laws like the Homeland Security package were to be enacted. Anyone who has been involved with the anti-globalisation movement knows that the opposition is serious, and none of us are naive enough to pretend that the "war on terrorism" can be "won", or that these proposed laws will just go away in the case that victory is foolishly proclaimed.
By making our myriad voices heard we insure that the past that was will never be confused with the past that was not. We insure that, however ridiculed it may be, proof persists that all is not roses in the age of oil and silicon. The movements which will most surely suffer if these foolish laws are enacted symbolize that which regimes like the Taliban and men like bin Laden hate the most: the freedom to disagree.