Wednesday, June 26, 2013


“They own your every secret; your life is in their files
The grains of your every waking second sifted through and scrutinized
They know your every right. They know your every wrong
Each put in their due compartment - sins where sins belong”

 -Meshuggah – “The Demon’s Name is Surveillance” (2012)

I’ve been writing about the dangers of the surveillance state since February. The responses I’ve gotten so far have been very interesting. Some friends, particularly those within the faith community, think I’m a bit over-wrought. Some openly wonder about my loyalty to our way of life. Others from within the community at large have dubbed me a conspiracy theorist.
I’m grateful that Nancy and the critters still see fit to let an enemy of the people like me live under the same roof.
Actually, it’s my critics who have the problem. I’m right and they’re wrong. Our executive branch is building a massive security apparatus manned by a growing army of bureaucrats. They’re well educated. They’re brilliant.  C.S. Lewis once described their ilk as “quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.”
The N.S.A.and the Justice Department are grinding the troops out faster than some of our diploma mills can cast their unsuspecting graduates out into the cold, cruel world. And, they’re building a multi-billion dollar facility in Utah to house them and the deadly tools of their trade.
My critics can deny it till all the cows come home, but the headlines and bylines bear me out:
“U.S. is Secretly Collecting Records of Verizon Calls” (The New York Times – June 5th)
“Author of Patriot Act Says NSA Phone Records Collection ‘Never the Intent of Law’” (Fox News – June 6th)
“President Obama’s Dragnet” (The New York Times editorial board – June 7th)
“Lawmakers Dispute Obama’s Claim They Knew of Tracking” (Newsmax – June 8th)
“The Constitutional Amnesia of the NSA Snooping Scandal” (John Judis – The New Republic – June 10th)
“NSA Building Huge Data Farm” (The Daily Kos – June 11th)
“Privacy Isn’t All We’re Losing” (Peggy Noonan – The Wall Street Journal – June 14th)
“James Clapper’s ‘Least Untruthful’ Answer” (Ruth Marcus – The Washington Post – June 14th)
There are times I get frustrated with the way some people react to my concerns. I’m not at all what they claim. First, I’m far from being over-wrought. In fact, I think they’re the ones who may not be concerned enough about what’s going on all around them. Our Constitutional rights are being eroded and they just turn a blind eye and say, “This is all being done to keep us safe.” I’d be willing to be they know more about what’s going on with Lindsay Lohan or Jodi Arias than they do about our Constitutional rights.
Second, I’m no conspiracy theorist. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe Roswell was clever marketing, not reality. I don’t believe the World Trade Center towers were brought down by a C.I.A. missile or some nefarious Jewish cabal.  Enough said!
Third, I’m as loyal as any American can be. I believe in the American ideal. I believe in our way of life. I believe in the principles that undergird that way of life, particularly our Constitution and Bill of Rights. When I was a young man I joined the military. On the day I enlisted I raised my right hand and swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” I would gladly take that same oath today. But, I don’t believe that my government has the moral authority to send me or any of America’s sons and daughters out the front door to defend liberty and then reward us at the back door by shredding the first, second, fourth, and fifth amendments to the Constitution by deceit.  If that marks me as disloyal, then their claim about me is nothing more than Orwellian claptrap and the word loyalty itself has no meaning.
If I’m guilty of anything, it’s believing in the principles that made us the envy of the world. If I’m wrong, then so are millions of oppressed people around the world who have fought and won the right to breathe the sweet air of liberty.  If I’m right about the surveillance state, we’ll all have to learn to live in an America where everyone is a suspect.
We’re treading on a dangerous path. Peggy Noonan put it this way: “Too many things are happening that are making a lot of Americans feel a new distance from, a frayed affiliation with, the country they have loved for a half a century of more.”
We dare not tread another step further. To do so would be to invite disaster.


Knitwit said...

I'm with you on this one, Phil. It amazes me that the same people who cry "Privacy!" and won't tell their spouses they have a deadly, contagious disease, think it's OK that the government can spy on the tiniest details of every citizen.

Anonymous said...

hmmm, my husband and I feel the same way you do... and we get the identical responses you have described, whenever we try to discuss our views with others. It is a very slippery slope we are being driven to... most of the sheep are going along their way quietly...just following the leader who feeds them with free handouts...not used to ever thinking for themselves...not willing to think outside their little boxes, for fear they might find out what we say is true...The sad thing is that it is not even a case of the blind leading the blind that is steering them toward the steep cliff... The ones doing the leading and steering know exactly what they are doing... and anytime they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar... they plead ignorance....or claim that someone else did it or told them to do it.... or that they never had their hand in that jar (even though the crumbs are all over their face and fingers)... or even the most brazen, who are caught in the act, who just pretend that they thought there was something else in the jar, or they were simply removing the cookies so that the rest of us will be safe and not partake of them. Then they start sounding the bugle call of global warming or race persecution to rally their flocks around them. They are building a society and government that is built on lies, fear and domination, and cheap imitations of truth. When their house of cards crumbles, most of them will be just fine because they have scraped enough cream off the top of the milk pail for years and have stored it away in their safe houses... But, what will happen to the hoards of sheep standing at the precipice of the steep cliff... when the handouts are gone and they have lost all their rights along with their ability to think for themselves...and they are left with the choice of jumping to their deaths or becoming indentured servants to their new lords and masters? Probably, most of them will just go along like good little sheep, still believing that those who are leading them have their best interests at heart...