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As Americans Protest the Nanny State--Will Big Brother Be Watching?

Today, April 15, as millions of anti-tax/pro-limited government activists are peacefully gathering at "tea parties" to protest the Nanny State--will Big Brother be watching?

The new Department of Homeland Security "report" on "right-wing extremists" is an outrage that has justifiably been criticized in many quarters, includinghere in the FOX Forum.

But it not the only such "report." A similar such "report" was released in Missouri, from a state-government-run "Fusion Center," a law-enforcement consortium which targeted Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin, among many other law-abiding conservatives and libertarians.

We need to make this abuse-of-power outrage into a teachable moment, as a useful signal to future politicians, and their bureaucratic enablers, who might wish to stomp on "inconvenient truths" and other forms of dissent.

"Fusion Center," of course, is simply a fuzzy-sounding name for state-funded surveillance. And it's state-funded surveillance, of course, with a distinctly liberal politically-correct tilt--aimed at smearing right-of-center politicking as being first cousins to violence and terrorism. It's a bad rap, of course, but it's a popular rap among liberals who wish to push conservative dissent off to the fringe.

Happily, Missouri's Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, after first attempting to defend the report, has chosen to recall his state's offensive document.

So that's some progress in Missouri. But it is not enough for Governor Nixon to simply say that the document has been recalled. The state of Missouri should, in fairness to all its citizens, should terminate those who had anything to do with the creation and distribution of this document.

Now, back to the federal government. It is not good enough for the Department of Homeland Security, a federal entity, to issue a clarification, or even a correction--not that any such clarification or correction has been offered. No, what's needed is that the people who worked on this report, wrote this report, edited this report, and approved this report, be fired.

Because if nobody is really punished--if the "retraction" (if there is one) is simply a mumble-mouthed pro-forma (with a wink), then nothing will be achieved, and the taxpayers will once again be subsidizing their own surveillance and the further loss of their freedom.

As Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, explains, "If we conservatives don't make this surveillance monkey-business very painful for the administration to do this, they will do it again." That's a good political science lesson: We need to make this abuse-of-power outrage into a teachable moment, as a useful signal to future politicians, and their bureaucratic enablers, who might wish to stomp on "inconvenient truths" and other forms of dissent.

Oh, and by the way, if the federal government, or state governments, are worried about thuggish, and perhaps criminal, behavior by political activists, they should be investigating the University of North Carolina, where extremists drove former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Co.) off campus before he could finish speaking.

James P. Pinkerton is a Fox News contributor. He worked in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He is also the editor of CureStrategy.org.