I wasn’t going to bother to write about the latest instance of the NSA spying on US citizens without probable cause, mostly because there is bipartisan agreement in Congress that wholesale collection of everyone’s phone, email, web browsing, etc is just fine. Before 2008, I had the illusion that there was a viable national party that would put a stop to the abuses of civil liberties put into place in 2001. In 2013, there is not.
It is also disheartening that most Democratic Party voters have done a 180 on surveillance since 2006. So have many, but not all Republican Party voters. This later development gives me no joy because I expect these numbers to switch again as soon as we have another Republican President. Also, Republican Congressional leaders are on the record as supporting the current NSA programs.
So, why bother writing on this topic? Well, today I was prodded by this quote from Elie Wiesel’s 1986 Nobel Prize speech:
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
So here I am, saying that despite laws to the contrary, the routine collection and mining of communications and web browsing without probable cause is wrong. It is what we condemned about the Communist states back in the day and it is what we should be condemning our own government for. Swapping liberty for security was a bad idea in Ben Franklin’s time and still is.