By James Hilton
November 17th , 2010
New Zealanders, whether they recognize it or not, are facing a national emergency.
I am referring not merely to the recent abridging of the right to remain silent, but also concerning other unprecedented, and once unthinkable attacks on civil liberties such as the Minister For Justice outrageously suggesting that justice would be better served by an agent on the state’s payroll, rather then by an unbiased jury of one’s own peers.
Additionally, controversial legislation such as the Compulsory Mental Heath Assessment and Treatment Act under which citizens can be held incommunicado and forced by doctors to accept electro-convulsive treatments against their will and the “Pay or Stay” fine recovery program, which can effectively imprison citizens in the country for the “crime” of unpaid parking tickets, also just adds to an already totalitarian leaning atmosphere.
By sweeping away the right to silence they (the government) are, in a legal sense, stripping naked the people (that means YOU).
Our “rights,” some dating back hundreds of years, did not just magically pop into existence. Nor are they, as some would have us believe, outdated relics of a bygone era.
At a time when governments around the globe are working over time to convince everybody that there’s a terrorist lurking behind every bush, law abiding citizens need protective rights more then ever.
Additionally, ANYONE can be the victim of mistaken identity, political retaliation, or other malicious false accusations.
Even the late Senator Edward Kennedy, as powerful as he was, had over and over again been harassed at several airports because someone with the same surname was on a secret government watch list. Now ask yourself, if a wealthy icon like Ted Kennedy couldn’t break free of the false accusations of the fear peddlers, then what chance would you or I have?
Now consider that when the infamous Nixon tapes were finally released publicly we heard the President of the United States himself uttering these exact words describing qualities he sought in a new tax commissioner, “I want a ruthless son of a bitch, someone who’ll go after our enemies.” (If anyone doubts this they can actually hear this for themselves compliments of the national archives in Washington D.C.) And only a few short years ago reports of multiple abuses by New Zealand’s Inland Revenue Department, tragically pushing some citizens to suicide was widely exposed and condemned.
Our grand and great grand fathers, through bitter experiences, such as inquisitorial Star Chambers in England and slanderous McCarthyism in the United States knew first hand about abuses of power. And that is why they fought so hard to win us protective rights in the first place. Look up these tragic chapters and see for yourself all the innocent lives destroyed by unaccountable officialdom.
And before our generation fell asleep on the job, we used to have even more rights, like the presumption of innocence, which in recent years has also gone straight out the window thanks to the tried and true weapon of fear mongering.
The never ending struggle between “the people” and “governmental” power has been with us since ancient times. And whenever the winds of change, (almost always preceded by terror) tilt the balance of power a little too far toward the government’s side, sooner or later, war or tragedy ALWAYS follows. This is a verifiable and recurring fact of history.
Consider that the pivotal event which ultimately shifted American public opinion enough to draw them into World War Two, was the prior bombing Pearl Harbor.
Another example was Adolph Hitler, with a big fat smirk on his face, using the Reichstag Fire (the arson of Germany’s parliament building) as the excuse, to ram through the Enabling Act. It was this law that made the long list of NAZI atrocities which soon followed, 100% legal. The point is worth repeating -forced mass sterilization, the concentration camps, the unspeakable medical experiments, even the gas chambers -were all perfectly legal, thanks to the prior passage of just one very bad law.
Yet another more recent example, was the civil liberties gutting Patriot Act enacted into law in the United States. Very interestingly, once again following fast on the heals of the prior terrifying events of 9/11.
The pattern is obvious even to a child. First the population is softened up by witnessing the spilling of blood, next laws clamping down on freedoms are forced upon everybody under the bogus promise of big brother protecting us (fear).
If you’ve ever had a nagging urge to stand up against something evil, but couldn’t muster the courage to do so, then this would be a fantastic opportunity to redeem yourself.
Bury them with letters. Speak Out. Organise. Boycott. Vote. March (nonviolently) in the streets if you must. But show them who has the real power by sending this message: robbing our children of their sacred inheritance is not an option!
If New Zealanders do not rise to the occasion now by speaking out loud and clear in this late hour of opportunity, then at bottom, they will deserve the police state that is slowly, piece by piece being erected all around them.
May God not only defend New Zealand, but may He at long last, wake up New Zealanders to the grave dangers of unaccountable, over reaching leadership.
And may He wake them very soon, before their only opportunity to resist may one day come from behind prison walls.
James P. Hilton
James P. Hilton is a dual US/NZ citizen. He was born and raised a stone’s throw from the Statue of Liberty, in Jersey City, New Jersey and has been a paramedic, a medical educator, and an author for 30 years. Hundreds of his essays, letters, and poetry have been circulated by publications such as The Miami Herald, USA Today, The New Zealand Herald, The Listener, The Australian, and The Sydney Morning Herald and can also be found in The National Library’s of New Zealand and Australia, as well as the Library of Congress.