A note for historians of the future…

Below are comments from Roger Kimball. I post them, not because I think very many – or at least, not enough – concerned (or unconcerned, for that matter) citizens will be moved to effective action because of the posting, but because, perhaps, in the days to come, far beyond the train wreck that is currently taking place, some future observer will note that the train wreck was neither completely a surprise nor completely unavoidable, but that mass apathy, nurtured by an impotent and self-absorbed generation, is absolutely necessary for the formation of any kind of tyranny. Apathy is perhaps the worst enemy of freedom, be it freedom of body or soul. Future observer, take note!

The following words come from Roger’s Rules. I emboldened some of the words.

I am contemplating the train wreck revolving around the revelations about our National Security Agency’s appetite for spying on U.S. citizens, along with the train wreck that swirls around the revelations about the deployment of the IRS for partisan vengeance, along with the train wreck that is the fiscal, administrative, and, ultimately, medical catastrophe called ObamaCare (aka, the un-affordable “Affordable Care Act”), not to mention the train wreck that was the administration’s reaction (“What difference does it make?”) to the murderous Islamic terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, along with  . . . well, you get the picture.

Thinking just about the first, the NSA part of the current entertainment, I am reminded of a friend’s note to me about how it fits in with the administration’s gradual transformation of itself into an unaccountable nomenklatura with more or less unlimited powers.  The … transformation … is the transformation of us citizens … into serfs, i.e., slaves working for a feudal master. My friend quoted Obama’s statement about the behavior of the NSA when it came to your phone / internet / banking / whatever data. “It’s important to recognize,” said the leader of the formerly free world,

that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society. And whatI can say is that in evaluating these programs, they make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity.

As my friend noted, Obama leans toward the security side of the equation, and he does so with, so to speak, a vengeance. Right: we have to debate this issue, “but he puts his thumb on the scale. And because of the secrecy involved, no one outside his top-secret circle can make an informed judgment about the efficacy of these powers.”  Just like those unpleasant chaps in Orwell’s 1984, the fact that we are now and apparently ever shall be on a war footing means that we are living in a state of perpetual emergency, which in turn means that he, the man in charge, can do pretty much whatever he wants to whomever he wants, and so can his minions [editor’s note: in order to keep those minions “safe”]….

Few people, I think, would deny that extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures.  Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War and, in my view, he was right to do so.  But what we have here is the fabrication of perpetual emergency in order to justify the unlimited and permanent expansion of of government power. The other word for that process is tyranny. It doesn’t happen all at once. But it’s happening pretty fast.


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