Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Am Not Reassured

When in doubt, I never go wrong in referring to a post from the Earth-Bound Misfit.  Especially when it deals with government overreach--in this case, warrantless surveillance:

"You Can Trust Us to Do the Right Thing." When you drill down through the bullshit, rationales and rhetoric defending the NSA's hoovering of essentially everything that goes across the telecommunications networks, that's what they are saying: That we can trust them not to overstep the boundaries between what is legal and what is not.
First, I question the premise for that. The NSA may be adhering to what is legal, but only because the Congress expanded the definition of what was legal for them to do. The NSA gets wiretapping authorization from a court which has turned down less than a dozen requests out of 30,000. You're eight times more likely to catch a ball during a major league baseball game than the government is to get a warrant request denied by the FISA court. Congressional oversight, at least until the current brouhaha erupted, has apparently been about as effectual as scolding a clowder of feral cats.
Second, the "trust us" advocates are, in my view, deliberately ignoring the bedrock principle of the Constitution and our entire system of government, which is this: Government cannot be trusted to do the right thing.
The Founders were some of the smartest and well-educated men and women[1] in the American Colonies. They had a far deeper understanding of human history and abuse of power than 98% of the people in Congress today. They understood the truth that power corrupts. Hell, they lived through it. They were well aware that Prime Minister Pitt said as much in 1770. They were aware that politicians, in particular, grow to regard their perquisites of power as their just due. They were well aware that powerful people tend to conflate their wants and desires with what is proper for their office.
So when it came time for them to design a government, they did not choose the "trust us" form. They wrote a Constitution of limited powers. After pushback from the states, they immediately passed the Bill of Rights to protect citizens from an intrusive government.
Our government has been pushing to limit the rights and liberties of Americans ever since.

But hey, if you don't have anything to hide, right?


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