-- It funds a drug war that causes crime and imprisons millions, disproportionately minorities. That's horrible.
-- It spends your money on corporate welfare. And farm subsidies. And flood insurance that helps higher-income people like me build homes in risky spots.
-- Government keeps American Indians poor by smothering them with socialist central planning. It does this despite the fall of the Soviet Union and the obvious failure of socialism everywhere. That's evil.
-- So are "too big to fail" bank bailouts. And other bailouts.
-- I'm furious that there are now 175,000 pages of federal law. No one understands all the laws, but they keep passing more. How dare they!
NSA spying seems less horrible than these other abuses, especially if data mining might prevent terrorism.
I suspect people are outraged by the NSA in part because new threats seem scarier than old, familiar ones. That's a trick government itself exploits all the time: Each new drug, each new health threat, each new dictator is made to sound like the most horrible thing ever.
We should be wary of treating the new danger as if it's the biggest danger.
I don't suggest that we should be passive about data mining and surveillance. But we should not let the latest threat make us passive about the old ones, some of them much more clearly wrong.
What we already know about government is even scarier than what they know about us.