Our government cannot build a website to efficiently sell insurance to people whom it has compelled by law to buy insurance, but it can collect the domestic phone records of Americans and store them for years in a massive database.
That database is theoretically so efficient -- as opposed to the Obamacare website -- that the government can use it to track down terrorists operating clandestinely in the United States.
"Through targeted computerized searches of those metadata records, the NSA tries to discern connections between terrorist organizations and previously unknown terrorist operatives located in the United States," said a federal judge this week, who argued that the NSA's system probably violates the 4th Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches.
Yet for all the enthusiasm that the federal government has shown in collecting the metadata records of Americans -- ostensible to protect us from foreign agents operating within our borders -- it has not bothered to control our borders themselves.
Presumably, we should be thankful that the unknown foreign nationals who covertly enter our country every day--without being logged into any database whatsoever -- can, just like everyone else in the neighborhood, have their cell phone metadata collected by the NSA once they have moved into suburbs of Washington, D.C.
With the advance of electronics, and their pervasive use, it is not far-fetched to imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when much of a person's life can be tracked -- and potentially controlled -- by government.
Health records will be electronic, exchangeable by Internet and capable of being loaded into their own massive government database. Automobiles will be fully automated, and quite possibly directed and driven by physical and electronic infrastructure owned and operated by the government. Home air conditioners and heating systems will be hooked up to an electrical grid that will allow someone outside your home not only to monitor the temperature you have set on your thermostat-but change it if they do not like it.
How will men stay free in such a world?
Electronic devices are tools that can be used for good or evil. What matters is who uses them and for what purpose.