Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
Last night the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert as Belgium’s government continued its lockdown of Brussels. As this went on the French continued their search for DAESH terrorists who took part in the Paris attacks. Over a week ago the U.S. Government issued an order for military and other government agents to not travel to Paris.
As all of this is going on I am thinking about an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine entitled, Paradise Lost that deals with suspected Dominion shape shifters infiltrating Earth that conducted a terror attack in Antwerp. The fact that the episode premiered in 1996 only underscores the fact that human nature is very consistent. We cannot forget the many times in history where peoples and nations have sacrificed essential liberty for the illusion of security.
In the episode Starfleet command declares martial law on Earth, and everyone is a potential terror suspect. Troops were deployed; citizens were subject to random blood tests to determine if they were really human, and false flag operations were conducted to instill even more fear, and for a time the plan worked, people submitted to the measures because of fear.
However, Captain Sisko, of Deep Space Nine who was called back to Earth to head security operations, discovers the plot. In a talk with the commander of Starfleet Captain Sisko asks why he has been brought back to Earth, the conversation is interesting in light of recent events:
SISKO: Then why did you bring me here?
LEYTON: Because I needed someone who knew how to fight shape-shifters, and that’s you. And I suppose on some level I hoped that when you saw what we were accomplishing, you’d join us. You’ve always had a strong sense of duty.
SISKO: My duty is to protect the Federation.
LEYTON: That’s what we’re trying to do.
SISKO: What you’re trying to do is to seize control of Earth and place it under military rule.
LEYTON: If that’s what it takes to stop the Dominion.
SISKO: So you’re willing to destroy paradise in order to save it.
In light of the threat posed by DAESH, with real, suspected and imagined terrorist attacks in Europe, in the Middle East, and potentially in the United States, the conversation is quite relevant.
As the episode unfolds a shape shifter impersonating Chief O’Brien confronts Captain Sisko:
Changeling: Let me ask you a question. How many Changelings do you think are here on Earth right at this moment?
Captain Sisko: I’m not going to play any guessing games with you.
Changeling: Ah. What if I were to tell you that there are only four on this entire planet? Huh? Not counting Constable Odo, of course. Think of it – just four of us. And look at the havoc we’ve wrought.
Captain Sisko: How do I know you’re telling me the truth?
Changeling: Four is more than enough. We’re smarter than solids. We’re better than you. And most importantly, we do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it’s your fear that will destroy you.
The fact is that the numbers of DAESH terrorists are extremely small, and yes they are capable of doing a lot of damage. But at the same time what are we willing to sacrifice to ensure our security? It seems that we are becoming ever more willing to sacrifice liberty in the name of security and to cast suspicion, and on an entire religion, including loyal citizens due to the actions of some. If that happens, DAESH wins, no matter how secure we think we are; but do not get me wrong, security is important, but sacrificing liberty in the name of security has seldom been effective, and once surrendered, liberty seldom returns.
I think the very last line of the spoken by the changeling is the most important. In the end, it is our fear that will destroy us.