One of the liberating things about not feeling the need to defend the GOP is that I can confront some of the appalling (and stupid) authoritarianism that has been allowed to flourish for too long in our party and that I credit in no small part for the rise of Trump.
Maybe two weeks ago, Republicans fought a fierce battle against prevailing public opinion for the idea that people on the Federal governments terror watch list shouldn’t be allowed to own guns. Republicans pointed out, correctly, that the executive branch (currently controlled by Obama and pretty likely to be soon controlled by Hillary) puts you on this list unilaterally and without due process. If you want to get off of it, it takes years and the process for doing so is murky and not easily navigable even by intelligent people.
Now here comes Rudy Giuliani expressing the stupid (and alarmingly authoritarian) belief that if you are on this list, the government ought to be able to put an electronic tag on you and constantly monitor where you go:
PHILADELPHIA — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday said he would be in favor of forcing Muslims on the federal government’s terrorism watch list to wear electronic monitoring tags or bracelets for authorities to track their whereabouts.
“I would think that’s an excellent idea,” said Giuliani, an adviser to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. “If you’re on the terror watch list, I should you know you’re on the terror watch list. You’re on there for a reason.”
Giuliani, who is advising the Trump campaign on terrorism and national security issues, told NJ Advance Media he would recommend that Trump undertake the same measures being used in France if he’s elected.
Now look, I don’t even know the context of the question. Maybe they didn’t specifically single out Muslim terrorists, so Giuliani might well have meant to include, say Real IRA terrorists in this program as well (although, ha ha, Peter King (R-NY) would be sure to prevent that from happening, if the issue ever came up).
But whatever. Forget who the program is ostensibly targeting, if you happen to believe for some reason it would be okay as long as only Muslims are getting singled out for the wearing of ankle bracelets (or maybe we could instead use a tasteful unobtrusive garment pin, maybe a yellow star?). If you think such a program wouldn’t eventually be used by a President to single out fundamentalist Baptist preachers who oppose same sex marriage then how on earth are you reading RedState because clearly you have lacked the ability to get news from literally any source over the last six years.
But wait! There’s more! This particular system has been in use in France and has been subject to exactly one field test, which it failed miserably:
One of two suspects who murdered a priest during an attack on a Catholic church in Normandy Tuesday morning was wearing just such a monitoring device during the attack.
So, to recap, such a device would not prevent a terror attack (and how would it? terror attacks can be committed anywhere) but it would provide authorities information about the movements of literally anyone they wanted track without a warrant, just through the simple expedient of putting them on the terrorism watch list.
Is there somewhere I can go to find a candidate who believes that radical Islam is a problem but that giving the government a bunch of broad, indiscriminate, invasive power over my life for stupid and ineffective reasons is not the answer? Because it seems like neither of the two major parties is even attempting to address this problem with any level of actual thought whatsoever.