BYJACOB G. HORNBERGER
If there was ever a charge against the U.S. government on which most foreigners would agree, it is the charge of hypocrisy.
Most Americans continue to view their federal government as a beloved parent, one who never lies to them; who takes care of them and gives them "freedom" in the form of welfare, health care, Social Security, education, grants, subsidies, and protection from drug dealers, immigrants, terrorists, and oil companies; and who is devoted to spreading freedom and democracy around the world.
Most of the rest of the world sees the reality - an increasingly oppressive and military-oriented government whose cruel and brutal foreign policies have engendered deep-seated anger and hatred, whose officials often lie, especially if "national security" is involved, and which is now employing the time-honored tactic of using "terrorism" as an excuse to suspend the rights and freedoms of its citizens, even while preaching about the importance of "freedom and democracy" to the rest of the world.
Here's a recent example of U.S. government hypocrisy. The U.S. Special Interest Section in Havana recently built a propaganda billboard for the Cuban people to read. One of its posted messages read, "In a free country you don't need permission to leave the country. Is Cuba a free country?"
Now, what better example of hypocrisy than that?
After all, every U.S. official - and especially those working in Cuba - knows that if a Cuban leaves his country to come to the United States, U.S. officials will attack the immigrant on the high seas and, in cooperation with Castro's gendarmes, forcibly repatriate him (or her) to Cuban communist tyranny. In other words, while Cubans need permission to leave Cuba, they also need permission from U.S. officials to enter the United States, and if they don't secure such permission U.S. officials forcibly return them to Cuba.
But the hypocrisy is even worse than that. Because guess what Americans need in order to travel to Cuba? Permission - from U.S. officials!
Now, it's true that U.S. officials don't call it that. They say, hypocritically, "Americans are free to travel to Cuba because we U.S. officials believe in the fundamental right of freedom of travel. But if you spend any money there, upon your return we will arrest you, charge you, indict you, convict you, incarcerate you in a federal penitentiary, and fine you."
And the hypocrisy doesn't stop there.
Every Cuban fully understands that such things as public schooling, national health care, social security, welfare, income taxation, and coercive redistribution of wealth are socialism. Castro and his minions have long been honest, direct, and forthright in proudly telling Cubans that these programs are the heart of Cuba's socialist economic system.
Yet here in the United States, nearly every federal, state, and local government official, especially public schoolteachers all across the land, proudly (and incorrectly) teaches Americans that the same programs here in the United States are "free enterprise."
Maybe the Cuban Interest Section in Washington ought to construct its own billboard and post the following message for Americans to read, "Johann Goethe said that none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. Who are freer - the Cuban people or the American people?"
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) in Fairfax, Va.