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"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." - John Philpot Curran


Caesar and His Entourage

Last year, Lew Rockwell wrote the following:
    Two hundred years ago, when the United States was a modest commercial republic, the president could take a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue -- by himself -- and talk to anyone who approached him. If he wasn't on a walk outdoors, he was most likely at home, and you could speak to him by knocking on the door of the White House and presenting yourself.

    The Hamiltonians and their agenda of mercantilism, paper money, and presidential exaltation had been humiliated in the election of 1800. Jeffersonianism had prevailed against them. And though Jefferson made some missteps during his presidency -- not even Jefferson could be fully trusted with power -- the policy bias was clear: frugality, free trade, peace, hard money, and decentralized government.

    Today? The president moves about like Caesar Augustus, with a vast, graded court of civil and military aides, doctors, secretaries, valets, hairdressers, makeup artists, bodyguards, drivers, baggage handlers, cooks, food tasters, Praetorian guards, snipers, centurions, bulletproof limos, a portable hospital, and an armored rostrum. And that's when he travels in the U.S.

    When Bush visited Ottawa, members of Parliament were refused entry into their own legislature by the massed power of the Secret Service, in violation of Canadian law. When Bush visited London, 5,000 additional police were assigned to protect him. Parks and streets and neighborhoods were closed. Riflemen thronged the roofs. The queen was horrified by the trashed condition of the grounds and great rooms of Buckingham Palace, but that meant nothing relative to the security of the emperor.

    He counts far more than any other human being on earth. So, of course, every event is staged to the extreme. The president is spoken to by no regular person. There are as many walls that separate us from him as between the supposed government of Iraq and its people or the old Soviet Politburo and the Russian people. These people live and breathe fear.

    The paranoia of the Bush circle has infected the whole regime. The entire government -- elected officials, appointed staff, permanent bureaucracy -- has shifted in the last decade from pretending to be the people's servants to admitting that they regard the people as a threat. Thus do we see the stream of legislation permitting ever more powers to spy, confiscate, and jail without trial.
Here is how your tax dollars are spent when the president travels:
Oh, but the president must be protected at all costs. After all, he has made so many enemies.

(HT: LRC Blog)



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