Monday, June 17, 2013

The Simple Reason Why Government Spying Matters

As more and more information has come forward on the depth and breadth of government intrusion and access to the private information of its citizens, it has been amazing to see the reaction of the country.  Some liberals, blindly defending the Obama administration regardless of the abuses it commits, approve.  Conversely, there are quite a few traditional liberals are aghast at the government overreach.  On the right side of the aisle, security hawks commend the program for keeping Americans safe, whereas small government, libertarian types oppose the program for its clear breach of the 4th amendment.

In the middle lies the public.  Most are unaware of the programs or the details; blissfully ignorant of anything other than the latest pop culture meme.  Some have the stance of, "I have nothing to hide, so why should I care?"  Some just can't believe the government has the sophistication to run such a program (and for those that share that belief, I'd like to point you to the hacking of CBS news reporter Sharyl Attkisson's work computer)

So the country is split on the program, with some caring, some not caring, and most ignorant of its very existence.

But there is one simple reason why every American needs to care.  And that's the IRS scandal.

The government actively used the IRS to punish, intimidate, terrorize, and neuter what was viewed as their political enemies.  While it is still unknown how vast the program was, and who ordered it, it is irrefutable that it happened, and that it was not isolated.

And that's why the government cannot be trusted.  If we can't trust them to treat our financial information with privacy and respect, how can we trust them to handle our free speech, opinions, medical records, and everything else the same way?  Be it a rogue element or a vast initiative, it doesn't matter.  The government has the access to just about everything, and has just shown its inability to eliminate, mitigate, punish, or even merely investigate corruption.

The opportunity for abuse is too vast.  It will be abused.  Heck, if one considers the Attkissin case above, or the strange outing of David Petraeus' affair, it already has been abused.

We are truly living in Orwellian times.

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