OPINION – One year ago, when Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the true scope of our federal government’s spying on its citizenry, it should have been our wake up call.
His revelations about the unconstitutional abuse of our privacy by government spy agencies should have served as a warning to us. But the American people have figuratively glanced at the canary lying on its back, shrugged their shoulders and gone back to mining coal.
As a highly paid contractor with our most advanced spy agencies, Snowden became concerned by the massive data collection that his employers were publicly denying. When he tried to bring up his concerns through official channels, he was snubbed. Even the American press could not be trusted to maintain its journalistic integrity by acting as a watchdog against government excesses.
Upon making his stunning disclosures last year, Snowden explained the reason for making his stunning revelations:
I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded.
Snowden also stated his deepest concern in releasing the information about his government’s secret misdeeds:
My greatest fear regarding the outcome for America is nothing will be done and people won’t fight to change things.
It appears that his fear was well-founded. A fearful American public focuses on whether the messenger should be punished for violating his oath of secrecy rather than demanding their government cease violating their natural rights.
Not surprisingly, the harshest condemnation comes from political leaders who call Snowden a “coward” and a “traitor” for exposing their illegitimate activities. Sadly, like other historical figures that found the courage to speak out against official wrongdoing, Snowden’s character will likely not be appreciated until it is too late.
When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, it’s a safe bet that we’re being ruled by criminals.
So why should this matter to the average American?
It’s simply another puzzle piece of a full-fledged police state that is being constructed right under our noses. Police states invade privacy for one of two reasons; they view the people as resource to be managed or they view them as potential criminals who must be monitored.
Whether it’s compiling every bit of electronic data generated by hundreds of millions of innocent people or watching us through omnipresent surveillance systems, government is erasing our privacy.
Combined with the billions of rounds of ammunition and armored personnel carriers it is purchasing, and the rush to arm virtually every federal agency, it’s clear that the federal government views the people as internal enemies.
When government seeks to conduct its business in secret rather than in the light of day, it is not acting in the best interests of the people from which it derives its just powers. Secret laws benefit only those in power, not the people they are sworn to represent.
Government does not exist to keep us safe from nebulous threats that only it can know. It exists to keep us free by protecting our freedoms from enemies foreign and domestic.
Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why Snowden’s expose of NSA domestic spying all boils down to a question of government acting within its proper limits. He said:
The Constitution presupposes the existence of natural rights and areas of human endeavor that are insulated from government knowledge and immune to government regulation, except in the most carefully prescribed circumstances.
Those circumstances require that probable cause of crime be possessed by the government about identifiable persons and demonstrated to a neutral judge before the government may engage in any surveillance of that person.
One year later, the bad publicity over Snowden’s revelations has largely subsided for everyone but Edward Snowden. As Gary North points out, the NSA continues to receive its funding and no official steps have been take to curtail its warrantless surveillance of everyone.
Likewise, the NSA center near Salt Lake City continues to move forward even as state leaders tout the jobs that it creates.
We have some serious choices to make in the days ahead if we do not wish to find ourselves in a place where privacy and freedom do not exist. If government is failing to look out for the interests of the American people, it should be replaced — as peacefully as is possible.
This means we should be solemnly considering how to start building our own ways of obtaining protection and justice.
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- Lee remarks on NSA intrusion into phone records
- Perspectives: Edward Snowden’s message we need to hear
- ON Kilter: Watching Obama’s other hand, other hand, and sleight of other hand
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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