If you don’t know Asterix, Obelix, and the other indomitable Gauls who resist the invasion of Caesar and his Roman empire, run to the next bookstore to buy one of their comic books, or order one from amazon.com . Not only are they hilarious; they also advocate some precepts that aren’t the worst to live by. For example, they don’t fear anything except that the sky may fall on their head.
I had to think of this when I read the SPIEGEL interview with Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security. Apparently, many European tourists are reconsidering trips to the U.S. because of planned security regulations that would require, among other things, to register online two days ahead of a trip to America. To justify what many consider an invasion of their privacy, Chertoff uses the fear of terrorist attacks as his main argument. It has worked rather well so far for this administration — they know fully well that any reasoning against it makes one either into a heartless monster who callously risks the death and suffering of countless innocent victims, or into a terrorist.
Uhmmm… actually, I don’t think the people in the White House know anything either fully or well. I don’t think they’re smart enough to have devised a fiendish plan that keeps people in a steady state of fear and therefore more willing to give up their freedom step by step. But it doesn’t matter; whether deliberately planned or not, the looming dread of potential attacks has already worked rather nicely to chip away at constitutional rights.
The travel restrictions being imposed on European travelers makes me wonder what happens to tourists from other countries — say, Pakistan, or Morocco, or even Japan. And what about Lebanese? Or Afghans? On the other hand, if one lives in Saudi Arabia, all it takes is a quick phone call, I bet.