Limiting Civil Liberties Should Affect Everyone

Response to Jewish World Review’s “Situational libertarianism”

In his August 12th column, Charles Krauthammer plays down threats to our civil liberties by writing, “We have fluctuated between more or less openness depending on need and threat” (“Situational libertarianism”). It is astonishing that he can refer to the internment of Japanese Americans as a minor infraction of civil liberties and since it only lasted for the duration of the war, it is excusable and even justified.

Krauthammer claims that while groups such as the neo-Nazis should be allowed to exercise their freedom of speech and assembly, other groups that allegedly are connected to “jihadism” should have their civil rights curtailed. It is amazing that he can claim groups such as the neo-Nazis “are utterly powerless” when, according to the FBI, there were close to 10,000 hate crimes reported in the United States in 2002 alone. The FBI has also reported a dramatic increase in the number of hate crimes reported after 9/11. These groups that preach hate are obviously not powerless when they incite attacks against others. They seem as powerful as people such as Omar Bakri, who is accused of inciting terrorism. If Krauthammer demands that Bakri and people like him have their civil liberties put on hold, then all groups that incite hate must be forced to endure the same punishment.