I am anything but a conspiracy theorist. In fact, I basically reject most conspiracy theories?
Simple: conspiracies require secrecy, and humans for the most part are terrible at keeping secrets. Oh, sure, one or two people can keep a secret. But 50? 100? Not a chance.
And thus, vast government conspiracies don’t interest me all that much.
But that doesn’t mean sometimes the paranoid among us aren’t right.
The specifics of the various scandals floating around the Obama Administration will be parried and argued, prodded and pulled, until some version of the truth comes out. It will take years or longer for us to really understand the depth of what has happened to our ever increasingly hidden big government apparatus.
Whether we are discussing the IRS scandal in targeting conservatives, the DOJ scandal going after reporters, the NSA kerfuffle about wide ranging wiretaps, the AP and other reporters being targeted by our Department of Justice…it all comes down to a simple truth.
Our government is so massively large, no one knows what is going on.
This is, of course, the ultimate result of an ever expanding Executive branch, rarely if ever checked by the Legislative branch and the Judiciary, and even less commonly checked by the voters of America. When you have an entity that grabs power in the name of the greater good, without anyone asking if their reasons are relevant or just, corruptions ensues. It is the nature of humanity.
Some of these ‘scandals’ really didn’t occur out of malice, in my humble opinion. The discussion over the National Security Agency’s massive data trove of cell phone and internet records, I honestly believe, began as a way of trying to track down terrorist infiltrators. It began as a just cause; an honest attempt to protect America.
But at some point, the problem is the leviathan feeds itself. The system is top secret, so the public is blocked from knowing its inner workings. Congress is supposed to be the check-and-balance, but according to numerous Senators, including Democrats Senator Ron Wyden, they are not told everything either, because of the need to remain in the shadows.
You often get exchanges like this, when the legislative branch questions the executive:
Here’s another congressional-subcommittee transcript highlight of the week. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois asks the attorney general if he’s spying on members of Congress and thereby giving the executive branch leverage over the legislative branch. Eric Holder answers:
“With all due respect, senator, I don’t think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss that issue.”
Senator Kirk responded that “the correct answer would be, ‘No, we stayed within our lane and I’m assuring you we did not spy on members of Congress.’” For some reason, the attorney general felt unable to say that. So I think we all know what the answer to the original question really is.
And even when they ask questions, they get misleading or outright falsehoods, like Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did in a Senate hearing when questioned by Sen. Ron Wyden (D).
And so, a program that began with good intentions grows, and grows, feeding upon itself, until one wonders if it s achieving its goals, or for that matter, what its goals are anymore.
Here is a simple question that must eventually be answered: what personal information is the government not allowed to obtain, store, and mine?
President Barack Obama tried to put the horse back in the barn last week, to no avail:
“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.” Obama added that the National Security agents behind the surveillance programs “cherish our Constitution…You can shout Big Brother or program run amok, but if you actually look at the details, I think we’ve struck the right balance,” he explained.
He may be right, but there is an inherent problem: trust is not blindly given, but earned. And what trust was earned by this President’s administration in last year’s election is quickly melting away.
Big bureaucracies inherently are corrupt. It is a fact of humanity. There isn’t a single example of a growing government that isn’t rife with such backstabbing and intrigue.
Maybe we should keep that in mind every time we choose big government to supposedly fix our societal problems.
This was cross posted at Neoavatara.