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The Founders' Solution for Terrorists By: Debbie Schlussel
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 07, 2006

The ACLU -- and President Bush -- could learn a lot from America's Founders. If only the group would stop lying about the Founders and their views on civil liberties.

Since America just celebrated its 230th birthday, it's worth looking at what American Revolutionaries did to their own "dissenters." It wasn't at all the way leftist, self-proclaimed civil libertarians would have you believe.

Tory loyalists and other opponents of America's independence were crushed like bugs.

The Wall Street Journal's Cynthia Crossen reports that British Loyalists "never stood a chance against the zealous Patriots." And in this case, zeal is a good thing.

In 1774, just two years before the Declaration of Independence, the first Continental Congress "authorized local governments to form 'committees of inspection,' which would test their citizens' allegiance to independence," writes Crossen.

People who refused to take the Patriots' oath often lost their homes and were prohibited from working. The General Court of Massachusetts advised Harvard College's overseers to question their faculty and "dismiss any instructors who appeared to be unfriendly to American liberty."

The founders crushed dissenters. Crossen writes that as a result, at least 75,000 Tory loyalists fled to Canada, England, and the West Indies.

Today, it's just the opposite. Rather than shaming those who hate us and those who laugh at us, we have not thousands, but millions of those subversives, flowing into our country.

The Patriot Act? Military Tribunals (now ruled "unconstitutional")? Guantanamo Bay? Homeland Security? Deportation? All of these popular targets of the ACLU and Islamist groups had nothing on the machinations of the original American Patriots.

Tory Loyalists who remained in America "usually tried to keep their heads down," Crossen writes. She quotes the writing of one loyalist from Pennsylvania:

I am afraid to converse with persons here, or to write my friends in Philadelphia...a letter intercepted or an unguarded word would plunge me into troubles...These oppressions on men who have never given offense are justified by the [Patriots] as necessary for the security of all government.

And then there was the physical punishment -- lots of it -- directed at Loyalists. Crossen reports that the Patriots tarred and feathered them, jailing hundreds of them.

Are the cells and Sole Amandine at Gitmo excessive, "cruel and unusual" punishment for those who'd destroy us? At least one Delaware Loyalist would have traded places with them to be in what Amnesty International absurdly called "the gulag of our time." He was convicted of aiding and abetting the enemy and sentenced to be hanged -- but he was to be hanged:

not 'til you be dead, for you must be cut down alive...and then your head must be severed from your body, and your body divided into four quarters and these must be at the disposal of the Supreme Authority of the state.

Makes the Abu Ghraib hoods and a death sentence for Zaccarias Moussaoui (sought and not attained at trial) sound like paradise.

We're not necessarily suggesting a return to the quartering alive and tar-and-feathering of the days of the Founding Fathers. We've become more civilized. But other cultures who wish to destroy us haven't. And it's important to note that the Founders got the message -- and had the answer.

You repel more flies with vinegar than with honey.

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Visit Debbie Schlussel's website at DebbieSchlussel.com. She can be reached at writedebbie@gmail.com.

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