Homeland Security or Tyranny at home?

No sooner had the FBI been

of 26-year-old

on its powers of domestic surveillance
and President Bush had announced his plans for the
mammoth "Department of Homeland Security," our very own
domestic version of a potential Gestapo, than New
York Times
columnist Nicholas D. Kristof

unbosomed himself
of what the real targets of the
emerging federal police state should be.

There`s just been too much obsession, Mr. Kristof
tells us, with

"swarthy, glowering Muslims mumbling fanatically about
the real terrorist danger in the United
States is far more banal— the "home-grown nuts" of the
right-wing militias. Mr. Kristof details one particular
case of just such a "nut," a gentleman named David
Burgert, who with a vast terrorist network consisting of
all of nine guys, was planning "a violent revolution and
civil war to overthrow the entire United States
government," a "terror plan that made Osama bin Laden`s
look rinky-dink," as Mr. Kristof assures us.

Leaving aside the question of how real the alleged
plot of Mr. Burgert was, the point is, as Mr. Kristof
himself notes, that he and his merry band of "true
American patriots" and "white Christians," as Mr.
Kristof describes them, were

rounded up
by the
local sheriff.
The awesome plot that would make
Sept. 11 look like a July 4th firecracker party never
made it out of Flathead County, Montana, where it was
born. The larger point is that, even granting there is a
real terrorist danger from crackpots of the far right,
there is no reason to believe it can`t be adequately
investigated, detected and prevented by either existing
law enforcement, state, local or federal, under their
current powers.

Yet it is Mr. Kristof`s insistence that the federal
government cease being "distracted by our own
stereotypes, searching for Muslim terrorists in the
Philippine jungle and the Detroit suburbs" and recall
that "there are blond,

mad bombers as well." Really? I haven`t
seen many in the news of late, but I`ll take his word
for it. What I won`t take his word for is that "militia
members and Al Qaeda members are remarkably similar."
That sentiment ought to tip us off to the real dangers
of the FBI`s new surveillance powers and the new
Cabinet-level department the president proposes.

Ever since Sept. 11 the subtext of a good deal of the
commentary has been that while Muslim extremists are
dangerous and unhealthy, we shouldn`t forget that the
real enemy is right here in River City—"racism," "hate
crimes," "
" and all the other isms, manias, and
phobias that go to make up the endless catalogue of

Muslim extremists
, in so far as they are a real
problem at all, are mainly just an extension of "Hate"
as practiced by white people, usually out in the boonies

, and all of them "Christians"
of one kind or another and "blond and blue-eyed" to

Mass immigration
and the multiracialism,
multiculturalism and

that go with it are off the table for
discussion; all of a sudden they`ve become part of the

essence of the

American identity.
Hence, any and all efforts to
fight terrorism must avoid any serious reduction in the
number of immigrants or any questioning of the value of
immigration and the ideologies that justify it. Racial
profiling, obviously necessary to any effective strategy
against Muslim and Arabic terrorism, remains verboten.
And, instead of radically revising our immigration
policies (not to mention our foreign policy in the
Middle East), the burden of the war on terror falls on
Americans themselves. Immigration and multiracialism are
essential and untouchable; it`s the Constitution that`s

In itself the Department of Homeland Security is
probably harmless. Essentially it merely

existing agencies and bureaucracies and
(at least not yet) creates no new ones. Nor does it have
any intelligence collection powers (again, not yet), or
appear to extend the reach of government power to any
new depth.  But the danger of the department is not what
the president and his aides are proposing now but rather
in what it could—and, given current preconceptions of
where the real internal security dangers lie as outlined
above, what it will—eventually become.

That is why calling the department a potential
"American Gestapo" is not as off-the-wall as it may
sound. Not only natural bureaucratic growth but the
politically and ideologically driven crusade against
dissidence on the political right, masked as a war on
"Hate," will bloat the new department far beyond what
its original architects may have intended. Instead of
applauding the birth of this new federal leviathan,
those Americans who remain committed to constitutional
liberty should greet it with a cold eye.


June 13, 2002