"Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest." ~ John Stuart Mill
Column by Mark Davis.
Exclusive to STR
"To blindly trust government is to automatically vest it with excessive power. To distrust government is simply to trust humanity--to trust in the ability of average people to peacefully, productively coexist without some official policing their every move. The State is merely another human institution--less creative than Microsoft, less reliable than Federal Express, less responsible than the average farmer husbanding his land, and less prudent than the average citizen spending his own paycheck." ~ James Bovard
Pointing out that the state is breaking the law is against the law; and who enforces the law? See the problem? Who protects you from the protectors when they are wrong? The Snowden Affair has shown that the emperor has no clothes. Mr. Snowden saw that it was official policy to break the official law, mock the Constitution, and show no shame in doing it. For having a conscience and standing up to his official band of liars and snoops, the embarrassed emperor along with his official court ministers, scholars and jesters rose with indignation in unison to scream “Off with his head!” Can agents of the state be any more exposed for what they really are? Is there any doubt left that the state is used for immoral and unjust purposes? Then just look at the tyrant’s self-righteous anger at one individual messenger who went directly to the people bearing proof of the tyrant’s crimes.
The agents of the state, including their media lap dogs, support breaking the laws they themselves made and enforce on the rest of us. This official hypocrisy is supposedly justified because they say that they must know more about any and all potential threats. Thus, openly flaunting their official powers is touted as okay because of “national security.” More personal information is needed to better protect everybody, they arrogantly demand; if they could just have total surveillance everywhere of everybody, then the emperor’s minions could somehow protect everybody’s freedom. All that listening, reading, storing, watching and monitoring is required to protect us? Isn’t that like throwing me in jail in order to protect me where I have no say in the matter but an occasional vote deciding who the jailer is? Isn’t there a better way?
So the brave citizen who exposes the state agents as lawbreakers, liars and stooges is judged to be a traitor by these same lawbreakers, liars and stooges acting as official agents of the state. Not a traitor to the good people of the world or even to the U.S. Constitution, but to his superiors. That is where real loyalty lies for agents of the state: in and to their superiors. When given a choice between doing what a higher ranking state agent has commanded them to do or what one’s conscience believes is the right thing to do, each agent must look at where their heart, their duty, lies. It appears too many people go along to get along. Mr. Snowden, however, did the right thing in showing it was his superiors who were the real traitors, both to the people and to the Constitution. Now the cowardly lawbreakers, liars and stooges who show no signs of having a conscience must go on the offensive to take attention away from the terrible things they did while acting as trusted agents of the state.
So, these exposed state agents now pursue him by threatening the official agents of other states around the world to turn Mr. Snowden over to them or face the emperor’s wrath. The worst offenders among them yell the loudest doing their best Red Queen impressions. Snowden knows how depraved these people are, which is why he has been smart to avoid being thrown into a dungeon or dragged to the guillotine. Of course, agents of the state no longer follow the Constitution or provide due process and they will likely just kill him on the spot when he is found.
People look for reasons to forgive the state for all manner of wrongdoing because they want to be loyal to their protector and caregiver, thus making it easy to turn on their fellow citizens, even the brave ones who speak the truth. After a lifetime of being told that agents of the state are your friend, your protectors and your caring servants, most people have a default position of giving agents of the state the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this affair will help some to overcome this conditioning.
Does a true patriot support the state whether it is right or wrong, or does a true patriot stand for what is right even when the state is wrong? This is where we are as a society, and it's time that we talked about it openly. The surveillance state is not a conspiracy theory touted by tin-foil hat wearing extremists; no, it has been exposed in broad daylight as a conspiracy fact.
When a system is set up such that one entity is given the last word in all disputes, it is important to realize that this power includes the disputes with that entity. That may work for a father or mother with their children, but not in a free society. Whether that entity is represented by a monarch, dictator, president, soldier, judge or policeman, it is still just a human. Wearing a robe, uniform or presidential seal doesn’t give a person special powers or lift them above common human traits. No human should be given such power because it will eventually corrupt the holder of that office, be it a saint or a Hobbit. From the top to the bottom of that pyramid of power, it is the same influence in kind, if not in degree.
Third party arbitration must always be available, because when a monopoly on violence (Ring of Power) is foisted on society, men will use it to rule in their own favor and for their own interests. It happens every time, save the few crumbs dropped on occasion to pretend that there is indeed potential mercy forthcoming for those who submit to that power. In the end, the state requires that you submit and obey their agents in spite of their breaking the laws they impose on everybody else, much less natural law and common decency.
Now, I have no illusions that this egregious example of official hypocrisy, in which tyrannical, power-mad state agents have trampled the liberties of people the world over, will wake up enough Americans to create a swell of support to cast The Ring of Power back into the fires of Mordor. Alas no, but I do hope that when this corrupt system implodes and crumbles around us that enough people will realize the folly of monopoly power structures like the state, and give free society a chance to grow on its own. People trusting their family, friends and neighbors more than they trust agents of the state is all it takes to achieve a free society.