On Tuesday, January 7, I had the pleasure and the privilege of being a guest on the nationally syndicated radio show of the honorable Mike Gallagher.
My host had read a recent piece of mine, “How ‘Conservatives’ Help the Left,” in which, as he rightly noted, I lambast him a bit for comments he made concerning the whole NSA scandal. I argued that it is not the NSA’s critics who, contra Gallagher, are of like mind with such leftists as the New York Times editors who support Edward Snowden. Rather, it is Gallagher and all self-declared “conservatives” who support the NSA who are guilty of allying with such leftists as Barack Obama, as robust a defender of the NSA as anyone and the guy for whom the leftist editors of the Times are not, in this instance, running cover.
So, we must ask, why is it that Obama and his minions supply such unqualified support for this massive government agency empowered to examine the phone records and conversations of all American citizens?
The answer, I argued, is that the NSA is Big Government. But it’s more than just Big Government. It is Gargantuan Government. In fact, it is Omnipotent Government.
In other words, the NSA is the epitome of exactly the kind of government that our forefathers, those men who ratified the Constitution of the United States, dreaded. And it emblematizes exactly the kind of government for which hard leftists like Obama ache.
It is the ultimate symbol of exactly that kind of government required for the successful completion of the quintessential leftist project to “fundamentally transform” America.
But, the objection goes, the all encompassing surveillance mechanisms of the NSA are necessary in order to keep Americans safe from terrorist attacks. A few replies to this line are in order.
First, whether the immense government system under question actually has thwarted potential terrorist attacks is itself open to question. It is imperative that all liberty lovers bear in mind that the only “evidence” for the claim that the government has been successful toward this end is the word of politicians—i.e. government agents.
So, we are expected to trust that the government is not abusing its power because the government assures us that it is not.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at email@example.com or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.