Federal power and individual freedom

Paranoia about government-sweeps prying into our communications has become reality. Until now it’s been limited and relatively controlled by strict laws, responsible courts and ethical officials; no more—many people in all political factions agree that our personal contacts are likely under secretive scrutiny and it’s scary.

Those of us who cherish (and defend) our right to individual privacy join our Founder’s fears and warnings about big, powerful and pervasive federal government. Of all the potential threats that we now face, uncontrollable federal government is the greatest, in my opinion.

Regardless of our worldviews, Americans largely still stand for liberty and against tyranny inherent in expansive, powerful central government. George Washington compared it to fire: strictly controlled it can help protect us; uncontrolled it will consume us.

Currently, much news focuses on “the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance of Americans,” recently highlighted in an Associated Press story. Other news agencies, including the Washington Post, have reported on Federal surveillance power.

While many in our current generations are bedazzled and dumbed-down with “entertainment” news, some mature, alert reporters and political commentators have news we can use. For example, some journalists such as Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg recently described how we face massive surveillance by federal agents who tap into personal information we have (willingly and foolishly) spread over internet servers and other electronic technology.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on American people and symbolic buildings by a small group of suicidal, murderous Muslim radicals allowed us to be stampeded into federal legislation that overrides our person liberty—we willingly sacrificed freedom for presumed “Homeland Security” thus, putting us in the untenable position of having neither.

A huge new bureaucracy and expanded existing ones now have secretive powers to monitor the contacts of our entire population at will. We allow politically corrected bureaucrats and their administrators to target 99 percent of us in hopes of stumbling onto 1 percent that might intend harm. And they’ve failed at that.

Not long ago an openly radical, violent Muslim infiltrated the U. S. Army resulting in many Ft. Hood, Texas soldiers being killed or wounded. Now he gets the benefit of health and legal services while his Islamist war against Americans was ignored by Army officials and later hidden under the euphemistic label “workplace violence,” by the Obama administration.

More recently two radical Muslims killed and wounded innocent bystanders in a Boston street bombing. Federal agents and local police shut down an entire suburb creating massive fear before apprehending the brothers in wild car chases and gun battles (one was caught because of an alert resident). Federal “security” had been warned—by, of all people, Russian officials— about the Islamic killers’ foreign jihadist connections. Their long-time terrorist activities in America and overseas were dismissed allowing them to carry out their diabolical attack—and plan others.

So, now all Americans may be scrutinized by the federal National Security Agency compiling a massive data base of personal communications. Who knows what else they are up to? What other intrusive capabilities do they possess? How might they use them? What will hundreds of “security” agents do in a large, heavily guarded complex being built in a Utah desert? How can we trust the deceptive words of federal officials who publicly evade answers to straight questions and openly lie to us? What leadership in this leviathan federal web—where the “buck” never stops—can we look to for active, honest accountability?

This pervasive intrusion into our private lives, like misguided schemes proposed for “gun control,” assumes that millions of law-abiding citizens are potential criminals or terrorists. All of us become suspects because our political class is unwilling to identify and monitor the few people we know are most likely to cause us harm. Snooping on millions of normal citizens, in addition to being wastefully inefficient threatens our liberty. It also violates our dignity and insults our common sense.

Our only hope for security and freedom rests with informed, liberty-loving State citizens electing representatives who will tell us the truth, keep us informed, hold bureaucrats accountable, closely follow our Constitution and limit the size and scope of the federal government.

Yes, I know. That’s probably too much to expect in neo-America.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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