I’m eternally grateful that curious and justice-minded Edward Snowden grew to adulthood without becoming jaded, wedded to power and position, or prescribed into numbness by ubiquitous authority.
His less than stellar performance within the public schooling machine was an early cause for celebration. Despite his nonconformity in state schools – or perhaps because of it, Snowden was and is very interested in serving his country and fellow man.
Believing his country needed him in the military, he enlisted and tried to get through some serious combat training. Perversely, his broken legs in training probably preserved his moral compass. Early on, he noticed his military instructors were more interested in getting trainees to enthusiastically kill Middle Easterners than in preserving and securing the country. This makes sense. Expeditionary volunteer forces, mercenaries for an empire, whatever you want to call the modern American standing army, must emphasize the attractiveness and the excitement of the fight rather than the necessity of it. To do otherwise would be self-defeating and hypocritical. To admit the truth beforehand would be harmful to recruitment, as much as record suicide rates do after recruitment.
Snowdon has confirmed what has already been reported and published in books by James Bamford and others. The aims and workings of the US Congress and Executive branch have studied and reported for years, and we understand the agenda both in terms of bureaucratic tendencies as well as specific executive goals in the post 9/11 era. So far, nothing really new has been revealed, and all neoconservative state worshippers of both parties have to complain about is that Snowdon confirms the existing suspicions and expectations of the majority of Americans.
What angers the D.C. elitists is that one more serf stood up and publicly denied the commands of the government father figure.
Implicit in the phrase “to suspect” is a sense that all this government surveillance and data capture and storage is bad. A minority of Americans suspect their government. On the other hand, “to expect” is somewhat value neutral – and sadly a majority of Americans expect the government to own its citizens, their communications, their written and verbal commentary, their networks and friends, their very thoughts and imagination and dreams.
Many Americans seem willing to give away our fundamental humanity to empty bureaucrats, hated federal representatives and even employees of the widely despised IRS and TSA. They lie back and take it, so to speak. Being repeatedly raped in this way – invaded, owned, subdued and frightened – is not just what so many “law and order” types and state-loving neoconservatives advocate with a wink for prisoners in our many penitentiaries, it is apparently what they advocate outright for every man, woman and child in the country, every day.
Perhaps Americans don’t mind this daily rape by the state because they have become used to it, or perhaps, like abused wives and children, they feel there is nothing they can do – the state also supplies so much that they need, so they feel they must endure the bad side of being a citizen.
Perhaps they are afraid. At least what is being done today is survivable, endurable; perhaps what could happen may be worse.
Perhaps they feel they deserve no better. They already give it away all the time already, so who would believe their claim of rape so late in the game?
For a country and a government so intensely concerned about the treatment of far away Afghani women by a patriarchal clan system, it has little problem with the same kind of state-enforced ownership of the daily communications activities of 300 million average Americans – real-time collection of metadata plus content storage for years – without consent or court order.
Clan leaders in Afghanistan justify their traditions as safer for women, and in their best interests. Curiously, that’s the same excuse given by the ruling goons in D.C.
Ron Paul is right. “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around.”
Of course, the U.S. government is so large that it is impossible to know what it is doing, and if we could know, it would be impractical to monitor it. The better choice is to drastically limit it, and current trends show us that this is already happening. Law and constitutions certainly haven’t worked, but happily the federal government borrows or prints 46% of what it spends, a percentage that has been inching up for years. We the people are not directly financing the growth of government, even as we the people seem to demand more and more government spending. Inflation, currency collapse, and peaceful secessions of the productive parts of the country will ultimately comprise “payment due”, and it will be traumatic. But we have already stopped directly funding nearly half of our excessive government.
As Gary North points out, government monitoring of everyone is relatively cheap, efficient and technologically easy. Further, it supports the driving state objective of continuing government growth and borrowing by ensuring taxes are gathered, property annotated, and opposition voices punished, quelled, and silenced.
The fevered obsession of our rulers with everything we are doing, writing, saying and thinking is simply one more sign that the clay foundation of the corporatist state is crumbling. The ongoing bankruptcy of the state, financially and morally, is on display and it is to be celebrated. The very overreach of government is its undoing, and the fact that Russia and China are both publicly condemning the behavior of the United States government is sweet icing on the cake.
Much as in Russia and China, we the people in America don’t exercise positive power over our government. Elections are kabuki dances, entertaining but we know how the story ends. Like serfs everywhere, we only have the negative power of consent – we get what we tolerate. Edward Snowdon decided to withdraw his consent, and his action offers each of us multitudinous opportunities to withdraw our consent as well.
He is an enemy of the state. May he live long and prosper!