‘The NSA is foiling terrorist plots.’
How do we know that?
There haven’t been acts of terrorism since 9/11, not major ones.
What about Fort Hood? What about Benghazi? What about the Boston Marathon massacre?
‘With greater government surveillance, we could have thwarted those.’ So we’re told by the officials who run the government.
You see the logic? The more government intrusions we have, the less violence there will be. The absence of violence is attributed to government. The presence of violence is attributed to a lack of government.
It’s Big Government ideology applied now to ‘national security.’ All good is due to government action. All ill is attributed to lack of government action. As with health care, business, and virtually everything else (outside of sex or abortion), the only solution is more government; and the only malady is a lack of government.
‘Government is all good, all the time.’ Interestingly, this logic—when applied to the policies of the NSA—only starts about 2009. This is when Barack Obama entered office.
When George W. Bush did some of the same things—only less so—it was considered dangerous encroachment on civil liberties. When Barack Obama’s administration does the same (only more so), it’s considered competent, necessary and effective in every case. How dare you question our President!
This goes to show that the debate here really isn’t about national security, and certainly not about the use of government to preserve individual rights. It’s about power.
Power for a certain political viewpoint is, we’re told, a good thing. The people who support Obama do so not because he makes us safer, but because he (allegedly) provides ‘health care for all,’ because he (allegedly) makes the economy grow stronger (even though it isn’t), and because he soaks the rich through taxes (although higher taxes impair economic growth, and subsequently everyone.)
I’m no fan of George W. Bush. He was almost as much of a Big Government statist as Barack Obama. However, if the IRS under George W. Bush had been caught harassing political enemies, he would have been tried in the media and subsequently impeached, or forced to resign. Obama, at present, glides through it all, with no accountability whatsoever.
This tells you something that people who still support Obama will not admit. That they don’t really care about civil liberties and individual rights, as they claimed to care back when someone else was President. Back then, they objected to the Patriot Act because it gave Bush powers they felt no President should have. Now we have a different President who abuses those powers more regularly than they claimed to fear; but because that President appeases them in other ways (gay marriage, free contraception, soaking the rich, unlimited food stamps and unemployment, health care for all), they let it go.
We’re now told that the government must have access to pretty much anything it wants about private citizens. If Obama says it, it’s OK. It’s explained that we ‘have to learn to compromise.’ Those are dangerous words when uttered by a politician about basic civil liberties, especially one as openly partisan as Obama. What he really is saying, in effect, is: ‘When I do it, it’s right. When someone who doesn’t have the same political policies as myself does it, it’s wrong.’
The implication is: If you agree with Obama, you have nothing to fear. If you disagree with Obama, then all bets are off. Swim at your own risk.
Is this how we protect national security? Or is this how we protect the insecure feelings of a thin-skinned President who intensely dislikes dissension?
The American government was designed to be ‘a government of laws, not of men” (John Adams). This refers to the need for the objectivity of laws. It refers to the requirement of a rational government to apply everything equally, not to enlist government offices to go after your political enemies.
Singling out some groups as more worthy of investigation than others, not because they’re promoting violence but because they offend the regime in charge, does not refer to a ‘nation of laws’; it refers to a nation of arbitrary rules, subjectively applied directives imposed by certain men (or women) who don’t like being questioned.
That’s what we have today. Obama will presumably leave office in a couple of years. But his successor will note the precedent. His successor will see that Americans don’t object when a President goes outside of legal boundaries to achieve whatever it is he—not the law, but he—wants to achieve.
Principles matter. They’re all that stand between the individual and tyranny. People who like Obama’s policies might shrug when he violates principles of law that have governed free nations for centuries. But when someone whose policies they don’t like does the same thing, they might be sorry they didn’t oppose Obama when they had the chance. Principles are designed to help them see disaster ahead of time.
Boundaries matter. A free people need a government to protect them from enemies outside of their country. At the same time, a free people are in equal need of laws—not men, but laws and principles—to protect them from the excesses (or ultimately, even the tyranny) of their own government.
Seeking to restrain government is not paranoia, any more than seeking to restrain criminals or terrorists. It’s actually rational to consider that a government might oppress its own people. Only Americans seem clueless about the possibility. Virtually every government in human history has done so—some more than others. The American government has been the least guilty of this, to date. But that can change. People ignore principles at their own peril.
Be sure to “friend” Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest.