On the Right, at least, the battle lines are clearly drawn between those who worship the concept of “The State” over the natural rights of man, and those who believe that the individual has some intrinsic value. The State-worshipers will tell you that Snowden violated secrecy laws, so off with his head! Meanwhile, the other side worries about how all-powerful the State has become.
One is reminded of the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany. At least seven of the valiant members of the group were executed by the Gestapo, for the horrific crime of speaking out against the government.
White Rose survivor Jurgen Wittenstein described what it was like to live in Hitler’s Germany:
The government—or rather, the party—controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology. My own teenage cousin, for instance, threatened to denounce his father; and I was barely able to deter him by pointing out to him that he himself might end up destitute if his father were arrested and incarcerated.
An excerpt from one of the leaflets they distributed:
[W]hy do you allow these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanized state system presided over by criminals and drunks? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right – or rather, your moral duty – to eliminate this system?
Bear in mind that our current “leaders” (or brood of vipers, if you prefer) sued the state of Arizona for passing a law allowing police to merely question people regarding their citizenship status. Yet, the NSA is not asking anyone for information. No, they are searching and seizing it with gay abandon. How’s that for your precious State?
Obama and his co-conspirators (yes, I realize that this data was also gathered under Bush) would have a stronger case for their tyranny if all this “intel” actually yielded some results. But, heck, they even ignored verified information from the Ruskies regarding the Boston Marathon bombers. And don’t even mention the 9/11 conspirators, all being watched (but not restrained) by our glorious protectors.
Finally, one of the most hated policies under King George III were the Writs of Assistance—general search warrants that allowed customs officers to search any building or ship they thought might contain smuggled goods, even without probable cause for suspicion. Maybe that’s why we now have a Fourth Amendment.
Oh yeah, those White Rose “traitors” are now among Germany’s most beloved heroes. Go figure.
Photo credit: Michael Fleshman (Creative Commons)