Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Stasi State of America

                             A republic . . . if you can keep it.

That is how Benjamin Franklin responded to a question about what kind of government the founders had fashioned for the nation with the Constitution.

Shame about that.  It was a good idea while it lasted.  

The founders recognized that the kind of nation they envisioned depended on an educated and virtuous citizenry.  

Insofar as virtue is concerned, what can one say about people who opt for a government that bestows benefits on them but foists the attendant costs onto future generations?  The founders failed to anticipate such a population or that the land of the free and the home of the brave would morph into the land of the servile and the home of the tame.

Some seven decades into the experiment in self-government Abraham Lincoln spoke about

a government of the people,
by the people, and
for the people.

Shame about that too . . . another good idea that also is gone.

What we have today is:

a government of cheating liars,
by cheating liars,
for themselves and
those they favor.

It’s not just ordinary run-of-the-mill liars either.  It’s outright and unabashed – as well as unpunished -- perjurers and tax cheats. As is the case in every third world banana (and faux) republic, members of any gang that manages to get control of the governmental instruments of coercion, use the full range of governmental powers first to perpetuate their rule by stifling any and all effective opposition, and then to take care of, and exempt themselves and their favorites from laws they impose on the rest of the population.

The nation’s absurdly voluminous and complex tax code reflects unchecked and out-of-control political favoritism that used to be exercised under the guise of public policy choices.  Our arrogant leaders no longer bother to resort to that pretense. The same thing is true of the overgrown and equally incomprehensible body of governmental regulations, all of which are promulgated and enforced by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.

Every so often something occurs that makes it clear that some bureaucrat has gone or is trying to go too far.  The relevation distracts the somnolent population from its television viewing and causes  protests and opposition to erupt.  That occurred in the 1980s when a bureaucrat by the name of John Poindexter proposed, in the name of national security, a Total Information Awareness program to keep an eye on the communications and activities of one and all.  The outcry was put to rest when our rulers muttered some calming and reassuring words and abandoned the name -- though not the substance -- of the program. 

Development of every aspect of the program continued in secret, with its existence and all it details classified, only to reemerge recently thanks to Edward Snowden, an outlier of conscience whom our rulers are moving heaven and earth to get their hands on and string up.

At the same time, the same hypocritical overlords claim they welcome a debate about the citizen surveillance program, that they will make it transparent, and that they will see to it that it is brought under appropriate control.

Each and everyone of those claims is false.  Those making the claims had every opportunity to institute a public debate about the programs for decades. Instead, they kept them classified and secret.

Transparency and oversight is impossible as both would require openness and truthfulness by individuals who operate covertly and have demonstrated a willingness to lie even when testifying to congress. Every day’s news contains another report of official untruthfulness.  Today’s report was on the emergence of documents (forced out by a freedom-of-information act demand) that show that the CIA was tracking the activities of a domestic academic dissident – something that previously had been officially denied on several occasions. Just another officials series of lies.

The ruling elite also claims that effectively preventing terrorist attacks necessitates the citizen-monitoring activities that its minions have technologically advanced after adapting them from the  Staatssicherheit, or Stasi – the communist East German secret police agency that had one agent for every 63 people in the country.  But the evidence they trot out in support of that assertion is dubious and paltry at best.  After all, they failed to prevent either the Fort Hood “workplace violence” by the murderous radical Islamic  major or the Boston marathon bombings by the radical Islamic brothers even though in both instances the perpetrators were hardly clandestine and had extensively been communicating electronically with known radical Islamic  leaders overseas.

So what is the future likely to hold?

The powers that be view the current tempest as a public relations problem. My expectation is that they will issue some soothing words and promises, and perhaps take some cosmetic actions, and that a quiescent public will be soothed and return to the current version of the bread and circuses that kept Rome’s citizens occupied and distracted as their empire crumbled around them. Our domestic oligarchs thus will be able to go back to, and continue to do their nefarious business as usual.

Do they or will they: 

*  Read our snail mail  as well as photographing the envelopes?  

*  Listen to or record our telephone conversations as well as monitoring who we call, when we call, and how long we talk?  

*  Read our e-mail and check out our on-line activities as well as keeping a record of them.  

We are assured that they do not . . . and the assurances come from those who continue to hold public offices (and the power to do those things) after and despite having been exposed as not just liars but also as perjurers.

Effective action by America’s citizens to restore the dream that the founders had for the republic they created and tried, with the Constitution, to perpetuate would require concerted and difficult actions over an extensive period of time . . . and might no longer even be possible.

Things have deteriorated to a point that (i) the country now has a president who sees to the faithful execution of only the laws he likes, and (ii) very few able and decent individuals are willing to become engaged in our corrupt political processes because public life is dominated by and requires associating with the nation’s scum.

No comments: