June 25, 2013

Of Course We Need to Know What Our Government Is Doing In Our Name and On Our Behalf

It's fascinating that many liberally-minded people I know aren't bothered by our government's snooping and are more upset at Snowden for revealing the "state's secrets."  I fully understand that in order for us to enjoy our lives and freedoms we have to be safe, but at which point Big Brother-like government actions are not appropriate?

What did Edward Snowden reveal? Something that should not be secret anyway! We should know what and how our government invades our privacy. Do they follow proper constitutional procedure? When somebody collects information about me, I have to know about it, how they do it, and how they'll use this information. As consumers (never mind as citizens), we have to know. And, if we don't think it's appropriate, then we should be able to change that. This is what an advanced, liberal-social-democratic country should be.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Therefore, our government has to, "by oath or affirmation," obtain permission, and thus create a record that can be reviewed for abuses or even whether the act was necessary. We now know the snooping into many people's private affairs in the past was improper, wasteful, and not what an accountable government should be doing to its free citizens.

Not all leakers of government secrets are the same. When the government breaks the law, or lies to its people, or is corrupt, or wasteful, etc, the public's interest is at stake. We need to know! The Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Abu Graib, torture and rendition program, and so many other cases--revealed by conscientious people--served our country. 

This is not a banana republic where Big Brother knows best. Are we mature adults who care to know?

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