A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
You think "Prism" is a big intrusion into your life? Well, just you wait until Obamacare is up and running! As Al Jolson once famously sang: "You ain't seen nothing yet!"
Look. We warned this was happening, more than once, in our scribblings long before The Guardian officially broke the story last week. It was just a "gut feeling." We had no evidence of it. Whislteblowers hardly ever speak to me, because they need to speak to someone who has enough "umph" to protect their behinds when the defecation hits the rotary oscillator. I don't.
But, as is usual these days, nobody much paid any attention. Not paying attention today, as quickly as events move in our cyber society, can culminate in disastrous consequences.
In our case, it was more a gut feeling than anything else. Add that to the so-called "natural progression" of things and it seemed to me, the government monitoring our telephones and computers was no giant leap, only a small one and one which "smart" people would assume was a reality and act -- or react -- accordingly.
Look. the words "National Security" covers a host of sins. Things that a normal citizen (person) would never, in his wildest dreams, consider doing are done, quite frequently, in his name under the cover of "national security."
The National Security Agency (NSA) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography. SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency
The National Security Agency has been around, in one form or another , since the late 1940's. Its "official" predecessor was the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA), created on May 20, 1949.
If you are only just hearing about the NSA don't beat yourself up over it. It was SUPPOSED to be a secretive agency. In fact, it was SO secret for a while that it was jokingly said that its initials -- NSA -- actually stood for: "No Such Agency."
Here's another point that seems to have been missed by the media coverage. "By law, NSA's intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications, (Emphasis mine) although domestic incidents such as the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy have occurred." SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency
The President made an unintentional "funny" recently when he said: “If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.” SOURCE: http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/06/obama-if-you-cant-trust-government-were-going-to-have-some-problems-video-2676640.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=beforeitsnews
Seems to me that is EXACTLY the POINT! We DON'T trust the government ... not any more! How can we? And yes, we have some problems. The President is guilty of blatantly stating the glaringly obvious.
Over the centuries there have been instances after instances in which great empires have been brought down by over reaching, (or over grasping, as this instance presents itself).
This could be the straw that put the camel in traction -- or -- this could be that one bridge too far. But, frankly, I doubt it. In fact, I'll go so far as to predict this is only the beginning of woes for the US.
No. Americans will let this slide. Too many of us have become submissive and too servile to be roused from our stupor to ward off our government's illegal and unconstitutional incursions into what USED to be our private lives. No. Too many Americans will remain undisturbed if the government will just send them their check every month and they'll just roll over and go back to sleep until they are needed on Election Day.
Look. This is not a new problem. In fact, it is a problem man has had ever since he decided to climb down from the trees and live in huts and build walls or palisades around his cluster of huts to ward off danger. A man tends to forget that when he erects walls to keep the enemy out, those same walls keep him in. Every security measure must be weighed and considered carefully against freedom.
Even though we had no National Security Agency, this very same discussion was on-going in the early days of our republic: “Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.” (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 8.)
I submit to you that THAT is exactly what America has done.
One of America's revolutionaries I much admire was Samuel Adams, cousin to Founding Father John Adams. Sam was a pamphleteer (among other things). He was a rabble rouser, at least in the eyes of the British. He constantly fanned the flames of revolution with his pen.
Sam Adams was a freedom lover. He said this: “It is the greatest absurdity to suppose it [would be] in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defense of those very rights; the principal of which…are life, liberty, and property. If men through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.” (Samuel Adams, Life of Samuel Adams, 1:504.)
If Sam was right, and I believe he was, freedom is a gift from God and to even TRY to give it up, as Americans are doing today, or to even ATTEMPT to take it away -- as America's government is trying to do today -- IS NOTHING SHORT OF BLASPHEMY! Sam rightly points out -- it is the duty of government to PROTECT those rights -- NOT To Take Them Away.
I would like to be able to add some words of encouragement -- that this will soon be over and we can roll back these restraints on freedom. But that would be untruthful. I don't think it is over by a long shot. I think it is only going to get worse-- much worse. As we stated at the beginning of this piece, when Obamacare comes fully into its own I believe Americans will be in a state of stunned disbelief at the freedom they/we will have given up.
I am happy to say that I cannot see far enough into the future to say how this will end. It is enough that I believe it will end badly for everyone. I can, however, say how it would end if our first president, George Washington were still in charge.
During the Revolution, after the battles of Lexington and Concord, Washington made his opinion on the matter perfectly clear. He said it would be better for America to be drenched in blood than for Americans to become slaves to their own government. Here are his exact words: “Unhappy it is though to reflect, that a Brother's Sword has been sheathed in a Brother's breast, and that, the once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched with Blood, or Inhabited by Slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous Man hesitate in his choice?” (George Washington, 1776)
Are we virtuous men, today? Then why are we hesitating in making our choice?
Here's a timely reminder from one of our early leaders: "If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify."
--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33, 1788
Like modern day Athenians, we Americans have traded our freedom for "promised" security -- and we shall never be free again.
© J. D. Longstreet