There are two ways you can relate to the entity that governs you. You are either a citizen or you are a subject. There is a significant difference between the two. This difference involves the number of rights you enjoy and the amount of freedom of action and thought you get to exercise. Tupac Shapur sums it succinctly: Real n----- do they wanna do, b---- n----- do what they can.
In a philosophical sense, Senator Rand Paul just asked Attorney General Eric Holder which class we, the average American fit. Can we do what we want or do we what we can? Or more directly; can the people in charge of the government do what they want? Because if the government can do what it wants, then the people are not citizens, they are subjects, they have to do what they can.
This political moment of import erupted from a rather mundane Senate Hearing. President Barack Obama needed a new Director CIA Director. His former Director, David Petraeus was ummm, compromised. He selected John Brennan and expected that the Senate would advise, consent and go back to playing with their Power Ranger Action Figures instead of passing a Federal Budget. Then a wee fly landed in the ointment…
It appears that Attorney General Eric Holder presupposes a right for the government to use drone aircraft to blow up American citizens on American soil. Given that Eric Holder and the president who hired him are both Liberal Statists; they would call this a Positive Right. This is because it empowers the government to take action against American subjects.
The quaint, outdated ideal that our persons are safe from apprehension or harm unless a warrant is presented based on evidence of our heinous sins athwart the law, is given a similarly Orwellian Moniker. All these silly Legal-Latin bumper-sticker phrases like Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus, are termed as negative liberties. They prevent the government from doing what it wants, so the bureaucrat hacks that write government textbooks term this negative. It is of course rather challenging for an enlightened state to cling to these outmoded niceties with names from a dead language when corpus in question has just been vaporized into pink mist by a mechanical aircraft piloted by the CIA.
Rand Paul pondered this deeply and something visceral happened. Like David Banner feeling the rage, he just had totally had it. He rose against John Brennan, but it really was nothing personal and it probably had nothing to do with how Mr. Brennan did his job. If anything, Senator Paul was afraid that a competent CIA Director, given the power to use drones to blow up US citizens might well do his job too well.
Imagine, if you will, J. Edgar Hoover over at the FBI so empowered and tasked with ”keeping an eye on” Martin Luther King, Jr. Now I can’t guarantee you that James Earl Ray could have skipped the whole crazy racist fascist act in Memphis, but, if Hoover chose to utilize the positive rights that Eric Holder currently claims on behalf of the government…
Using a different, less concrete example, this is exactly what Eric Holder just attempted to argue on behalf of President Obama’s drone policy. This argument worked - like tossing a glass of water on a kitchen grease fire. Senator Paul eviscerates this nanny state demagoguery below.
"If there was an ounce of courage in this body I would be joined by many other Senators," Sen. Paul said. "Would you tolerate a Republican who said I like the first amendment, I don't plan to violate the first amendment, but I might,…”
So there you have it. John Brennan is not the real issue here. Obama-Hacks are probably interchangeable suckage-fields. The real issue here involves just how much we really need to allow these individuals to suck away our rights and liberties. Rand Paul wants a definitive, binding statement that there is no positive right, via any due process, that empowers the state to use weapons of war to eviscerate American citizens not actively engaged in war against the republic.*
This, in essence, was Rand Paul’s method of making governmental functionaries start acknowledging the distinction between citizens and subjects, between real n------, and, ummm, imaginary ones. This is what life is like in a Republic, where our elected representatives question the scope of the state in terms of the rights of the citizenry. For a day- just for a day, it felt like we had a functional US Senate as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. Thank you, Senator Paul. It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon living in America.
*-You know what, Senator. There ought to be a law!